Northern Ireland public procurement annual budget of £2.2 billion.

Northern Ireland public procurement now accounts for some £2.2 billion expenditure per annum according to Mr Des Armstrong, Director, Central Procurement Directorate, Department of Finance and Personnel.

Mr Armstrong was speaking at a Breakfast Briefing held by the Sales Institute of Ireland, Northern Ireland Branch. He is shown on the left in the above picture, with Declan Kavanagh CEO of Sogeti Ireland and Noel Brady Chairman of the Sales Institute.

In the course of his briefing, Mr Armstrong explained how public procurement is organised and advised his audience on the business tendering and selection process. The Breakfast briefing was sponsored by Sogeti Ireland, a Capgemini company and a leading supplier of professional IT services throughout the island, specialising in software quality assurance and testing services, SAP services, application lifecycle management, training and competence development. The Sales Institute has around 200 members in NI and over 2,000 on the Island.

About the Sales Institute
The Sales Institute of Ireland (SII) is Ireland’s only professional body for salespeople. Established in 1995 to promote standards of excellence and ethics in sales and to raise the status and recognition of sales as a profession in Ireland, the Institute currently has over 1,500 members nationwide.
The Institute exists to maintain and promote the integrity of selling by actively improving the professionalism of all who work in a sales role. The SII offers training and support to sales professionals throughout their careers and promotes the interests of all members and the sales profession as a whole in the media and to industry bodies and the public.

About Sogeti Ireland
Sogeti, a member of the Capgemini Group, is a global leader in the provision of local professional services with over 20,000 staff in Europe, Asia and the USA.
Sogeti Ireland is a leading local IT service provider throughout the island of Ireland, North and South. Locally Sogeti specialises in software quality assurance and testing services, SAP services, application lifecycle management, training and competence development
Sogeti’s model of local independent well-resourced subsidiaries means local solutions tailored to the local market and client needs are provided; yet with the flexibility, where appropriate, to draw on the group’s IPR, expertise and considerable resources.

Best way to start the day…

Coffee to go…..A little caffeine boost is always a good way to start the morning and there was plenty on offer at the recent breakfast seminar at the Stormont Hotel, Belfast, organized by the Sales Institute of Ireland.

Pictured at the event are, from left, Noel Brady FSii, Chairman, NI Branch, Sales Institute of Ireland, Business Consultant; Ian Bennington, partner in Triplicate, specialist branding and design consultants who sponsored the event; and David Meade, keynote speaker. A doctoral researcher at the University of Ulster, David spoke on the subject, ‘Body Language and Persuasion in Sales’. He has been invited to speak at professional engagements throughout the world and has been highly acclaimed for his demonstrations of lie-detection, suggestion and verbal influence. David currently divides his time between publishing his research outcomes, delivering motivational and training programmes to the private and public sector and developing bespoke training and development packages.

Head of NICS Speaks at Sii Breakfast

NORTHERN Ireland is facing unprecedented short-term economic challenges, according to Bruce Robinson, head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS).

Mr Robinson delivered the main address at a Sales Institute of Ireland breakfast meeting in the Stormont Hotel, sponsored by leading IT company Oracle, and told almost 200 delegates that the challenges ahead are “‘more critical than they have been for a generation”.

“As we are all aware, the Northern Ireland economy is in recession and we are facing unprecedented economic challenges in the short term”, said Mr Robinson. “These challenges are certainly more critical than they have been for a generation and are impacting globally as well as locally.” Mr Robinson said that while the Government at national level has already taken dramatic action to address some of the key issues, the Executive in Northern Ireland has also been playing its part.

He pointed to the monetary package which had been made available, including £15million to alleviate fuel poverty, and £44.5million investment in schools, roads and farms which will also impact positively on the local construction industry. He also pointed to the fact that falls in the value of sterling meant local companies were more competitive in the international marketplace.

“Northern Ireland relies heavily on external trade so downturns in the global economy have significant impacts on the regional economy. All of our external markets – Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and the EU – are officially in recession and output in the US is also falling”, he said.

“However, while many local businesses continue to face falling demand for their goods and services, the fall in the value of sterling means that locally-produced goods and services are internationally more competitive. This presents an opportunity for ambitious, export-focused companies.

The business development meeting was Chaired by Noel Brady, chairman of the Northern Ireland branch of the Sales Institute of Ireland, and his guest was Paul O’Riordan of event sponsor Oracle.

Belfast Harbour Appointment

Well known Newtownards Business Consultant, Noel Brady, has been appointed as a Belfast Harbour Commissioner

Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy, announced new appointments and re-appointments of Belfast Harbour Commissioners following open public competition. The appointments are for a four year period, effective from 1 January 2008. The Minister said: “Noel Brady, Trefor Campbell, Peter Curistan, and Peter Dixon are being appointed for the first time and will bring a wide range of commercial experience to the Belfast Harbour Commissioners. I am also reappointing Ross Reed and David Russell who had applied for further terms through public competition and who will help to provide important continuity to the Harbour Commissioners. ”
The Minister went on to say “The public competition to recruit new board members attracted a range of highly skilled candidates. I consider that the six Commissioners appointed as a result of the competition will ensure that Belfast port continues to have a strong and representative Board with a wealth of talent. “Under the leadership of the Chairman, Len O’Hagan, who will continue to serve in this capacity until 31 December 2010, I am confident the new Board will provide the strategic direction necessary to encourage the continued growth and success of Belfast port as a key regional gateway and important economic driver for the North of Ireland.”


Exporters are to be helped by Invest Northern Ireland to win more business by means of an initiative to sharpen their sales skills and knowledge.

Eleven companies have already signed up for the innovative International Selling Skills pilot programme being launched today by Winchester-based Abacus HR for Invest NI in association with the Northern Ireland branch of the Sales Institute of Ireland (SII).

Launching the new pilot programme, Bill McGinnis, an Invest NI Board member and Chairman of the Dungannon-based McAvoy Group, a specialist in off-site construction, said: “Professional selling of the right product or service to right customers in the right market is fundamental to business development success.

“Companies need to review and refresh their sales operations regularly to ensure that they are able to compete effectively and successfully in global markets which are more challenging and demanding than ever before.

“This initiative reflects our recognition that developing globally relevant sales and marketing skills isn’t easy for SMEs which form the backbone of the local economy. Our aim is to offer very practical assistance that will enable them to identify and seize business opportunities in their target international markets,”

“The programme has been shaped to meet the needs of relatively experienced exporters and will help them to further refine their skills in crucially important areas, such as presentation, negotiation and deal completion, and how to apply these with even greater success,” he added.

Noel Brady, SII Northern Ireland Chairman, commenting on the pilot programme, said: “Sales expertise has become a strategic issue for all companies because of rapid changes in global markets and the resulting impact on the lives of their products and/or/services.

“The challenge facing every company is to make sure that it has the necessary sales skills and is able to manage these effectively and consistently to ensure that all existing customers and prospects are satisfied

“Today managers have to master skills such as identifying business, negotiating price, agreeing and maintaining customer service levels to ensure retention and cost control. It’s a sophisticated and immensely demanding activity. Finding and training suitable people for sales is as challenging. The salesperson must understand the customers, products and services, as well as the company, and be motivated and well managed,” he added.

The new programme has been shaped for Invest NI client businesses in both manufacturing and tradeable services which are currently exporting beyond the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain or have aspirations to enter international markets in the next 12 – 18 months. It will include presentations from international experts, practical workshops and one-to-one coaching sessions.

It will help companies either develop or enhance skills in areas such as negotiation, understanding international buyers, managing sales operations, and setting up partnerships.

Networking – The Power Behind Sales

An All Ireland business survey has highlighted the importance of networking in the daily business of doing deals and making connections.Sales professionals from every sector of industry and commerce in Ireland, responded to the survey, conducted by the Sales Institute of Ireland (SII).

The answers revealed that 94% of those surveyed believe networking is an essential part of doing business, while 92% of respondents stated that business networking opportunities are essential for career development.

The SII provides a forum for members of the local sales and customer services industry to meet regularly in formal and informal networking sessions. A huge 98% of those questioned also believe that the SII is effective in raising professional standards within the industry. The SII was established to promote professionalism, ethics and excellence in the Sales profession in Ireland and its members adhere to a strict code of Professional Practice.

In Northern Ireland, the SII has just welcomed its latest member Capita to join its existing 200+ members. Noel Brady, Chairman and Honorary Fellow of the SII said, “I am delighted to welcome a company with credentials like Capita on board and I know that they will gain hugely from the meetings, courses and seminars run by the SII. It does not surprise me that the survey indicates our members appreciate the value of business networking as I have witnessed the beginnings of many business relationships at our monthly breakfast seminars.”

Colin Finnegan, Capita’s Business Development Director, appreciates the opportunities offered by SII membership, “We believe that membership of the SII is a mark of the true sales professional. Belonging to the SII is important to anyone involved in winning new business, retaining existing customers and managing customer relationships. At Capita, we are always looking for the competitive edge and believe that belonging to the SII is one of the ways to promote professionalism and raise standards in selling and customer service. ”

For further information contact Angela Mallon, Morrow Communications Tel 028 90393837,

Notes To Editors
The sales Institute of Ireland was established in November 1995 to promote professionalism and standards of excellence in the Sales profession of Ireland
The SII currently has 1,500 members nationwide with 200+ members in Northern Ireland
Nationally recognised sales qualifications – Certificate & Diploma in Professional Selling are available to SII members

Business Breakfast Seminar

“If the long-term success of an organisation is dependent on recruiting and retaining the most talented people, then many Irish companies need to reassess their battle strategy if they are to victorious in the ‘war for talent’.

This was the message from Frank Rock, a specialist in business people development who was addressing the Sales Institute of Ireland at a breakfast seminar held in Belfast this week.

Sponsored by BluePrint Appointments, the event attracted top sales professionals eager to discover why recruitment and retention issues need to be an integral aspect of an organisation’s strategy in today’s highly competitive environment.

Presentation of Chain of Office:
To celebrate the third anniversary of the Sales Institute of Ireland’s NI division, Chairman Noel Brady (r), was recently awarded a Chain of Office, in recognition of his achievements for the organisation.

Speaking after presenting the specially commissioned Chain, David Lidington, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said: “I’m delighted to mark this important milestone for the SII and I congratulate Noel and his committee for their efforts in establishing and developing this important industry body. Over the past three years the SII has taken great steps, not only in raising the profile of the sales profession throughout NI but also in developing the skills and creating the networking opportunities which are vital to the long-term success of the local business community.”

For further information contact Claire Bonner, Morrow Communications Tel: 028 9039 3837

Institute of Directors

Noel Brady, Business Consultant Nb1 Ltd and Joanne Grant of JC Decaux greeting the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern when he addressed members of the Institute of Directors at a special lunch held in Belfast recently.

Noel and Joanne are both members of the main Committee of the Iod in NI.

Successful Networking Seminar

‘If a business card isn’t used effectively, it isn’t worth the paper its printed on!’ – according to expert business coach, Sean Weafer.’

Sean, who is Director of First Coach International revealed the secrets of successful business networking (which included getting the most out of your business card) to Northern Ireland’s top sales professionals at a recent breakfast seminar hosted by the Sales Institute of Ireland (NI branch). Over 100 members and guests benefited from Sean’s presentation on the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of networking. They also put their newly learnt networking skills put into practise during a 45minute ‘speed networking’ session.

Pictured with Sean and sample of the business card which were distributed during the networking session are Noel Brady (c) NI chairman of the Sales Institute and Penny Wilson, Group Sales Manager with Hastings Hotels.


Formerly head of Viridian subsidiary Sx3, Mr Brady is currently managing director of Consult Nb1 Ltd, which provides executive support services to a range of national and international companies.

DVTA Chief Executive Stanley Duncan welcomed the appointment and said: “This is an important new business support development for DVTA, and we are delighted to have attracted a non-executive director of this calibre. Mr Brady will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in both private and public sectors, and a fresh, external perspective to the management of the Agency.”

Mr Brady said he is looking forward to getting involved: “DVTA has been through a very difficult period. However, I have the utmost regard for the work that the Agency does, and I hope that my background and experience will help it to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”


The Driver & Vehicle Testing Agency (DVTA) is an Executive Agency within DOE. Its primary aim is to promote road safety through its testing and roadside enforcement activities.

The Agency employs some 500 staff and operates from 15 test centres, two driving test centres and six theory test centres throughout NI. In 2004-05 it carried out 474,000 vehicle tests, 43,720 theory tests and 46,000 practical driving tests.

The Agency operates as a trading fund and as such has to ensure that all costs are covered from fees charged to customers. During the current year the Agency’s fee income is estimated to be just under £24 million.

Mr Brady has been a leading member of the business community in Northern Ireland for many years. Currently managing director of his own company, Consult Nb1 Ltd, which provides executive support services to a range of national and international companies, he is also a non-executive director of Real Time Systems Ltd, an ICT company based in Carryduff, chairman of the Northern Branch of the Sales Institute of Ireland, and a member of the Northern Ireland Committee of the Institute of Directors. He has also been recently appointed as a member of Northern Ireland Holding Company Ltd.

For more information on Consult Nb1 Limited see

More information about DVTA can be found on the Agency’s website at

For media information contact DOE Press Office, 028 9054 0003