Dr Bill Smith has worked in the public service in Northern Ireland since 1974, most recently as an independent expert adviser on policy and administration. He earned his doctorate at Stanford University in 1986 and was appointed Senior Research Fellow by Queen's University Belfast in 2009.

His previous roles include Director of Health and Social Policy at the Department of Health and Social Services; Principal Private Secretary to the First Minister; Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; Assistant Local Government Boundaries Commissioner; and Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Group at the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

In a voluntary capacity he has chaired the Boards of the Old Museum Arts Centre; Voluntary Service Belfast; and the Early Years Organisation.

His publications include “From Violence to Power-sharing”, a systematic analysis of the formulation of governmental policies for the resolution of violent political conflict (US Institute of Peace 2011); and “Early Years Crossing Boundaries”, the official history of the Early Years Organisation (EYO 2015).