Senior Management Team

NISCC Chief Executive, Colum Conway is accountable to the NISCC Council for organisational performance and management. He is supported by two Directors and the Operational Management Team.


Chief Executive - Colum Conway

Colum Conway - Chief Executive

Colum has been NISCC Chief Executive since May 2013. Prior to his appointment to the NISCC, Colum was Chief Executive of Extra Care, a not for profit organisation working in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland supporting independent living through the provision of home care. Other roles include Director of Operations for NIPPA (The Early Years Organisation), Family and Childcare social work in Craigavon and Banbridge HSC Trust, Barnardos in Dublin, and Child and Family Care with the Daughters of Charity in Dublin.

Colum has a Masters in Social Work from Queens University Belfast and a Masters in Management from the Institute of Public Administration in Dublin. Colum has significant experience in social work, social care and early years across the statutory and not for profit sectors. He has served as a Board Member of the United Kingdom Home Care Association (UKHCA), the Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education (CACHE), the Sector Skills Council Skills for Care and Development, the Independent Health & Care Providers (IHCP), Care Alliance Ireland and CO3.


Director of Regulation & Standards - Patrica Higgins

PAtricia Higgins - Director Patricia Higgins is responsible for NISCC Workforce Standards for education, training and practice. This includes: social care training, social work training, practice learning, continuing professional development, & professional conduct. She has been a Director within NISCC since June 2002 and has led the development and implementation of the Councils’ registration and conduct functions. Patricia qualified as a social worker in 1985 from the University of Ulster. She has a BSc Hons in Sociology and Psychology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education. Patricia successfully completed the Kings Fund Top Manager Programme in 2007 and the HSC Leadership Centre ACUMEN leadership programme in 2012.

Patricia has extensive experience in social work, working in the Voluntary Sector in a range of settings: managing accommodation schemes for adult offenders; setting up community based crime prevention projects and managing a social work training unit and social work student unit. Prior to the establishment of NISCC, Patricia worked for the Central Council for Education & Training in Social Work as a Social Work Education Adviser. In CCETSW, she held lead responsibility for Diploma in Social Work programmes, Criminal Justice and Workforce Analysis. Development work included production of the social work text “Social Work and Social Change in Northern Ireland” and collaborating with colleagues in producing the anti-sectarian training pack “Getting Off the Fence”. Patricia also led an advertising campaign for social work called “Social Work Works”.