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Role details

Deputy Chair of the Food Standards Agency

Application deadline 12 September 2023


Food Standards Agency
Sponsor department
Department of Health and Social Care
Health and Social Care
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
35 day(s) per annum
£14000 per annum
Length of term
Ministers will determine the length of the appointment, which will be up to 3 years.
Application deadline
11:59am on 12 September 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    3 August 2023

  2. Application deadline

    11:59am on 12 September 2023

  3. Sifting date

    3 November 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    24 November 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role

Introduction from the Chair

I am delighted that you are considering applying for a non-executive role as Deputy Chair with the Food Standards Agency (FSA). 
The FSA is a regulatory department, charged by law with protecting public health, and the wider interests of consumers, in relation to food.  Our overarching aim is to ensure that the public can trust that their food is safe and authentic.  We act on the basis of science and evidence, and we put public health and the consumer interest first in our decision making.  We operate with high levels of transparency, including holding our Board meetings in public and inviting questions from the public on our work, to sustain trust and confidence in food standards.  
We have an unusual status as a non-Ministerial Government Department, serving England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  That gives us a high degree of independence, and we operate free from political direction or control.  We handle most of our own Northern Ireland Assembly and Parliamentary business, although legislation and ‘floor of the House’ matters are handled by the relevant Health Minister.  The FSA works closely with our sister department in Scotland, Food Standards Scotland.  We have a modest budget from the HM Treasury and Devolved Administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland, recover some costs from charging for regulatory services to businesses, and directly employ around 1,200 civil servants.
The Board sets the strategic priorities to fulfil the FSA’s statutory purposes, and reviews progress against agreed outcomes. The Board takes major decisions on public health and regulatory matters and assures the delivery of our programmes and plans.  
You can find out more about our Board and see the Board in action by watching a video of a previous Board meeting via our website: FSA Board Meetings | Food Standards Agency
On 18 March 2022 the FSA published its strategy for improving food over the next five years and recommitted to its mission of food you can trust. The five-year strategy reflects the FSA’s greater responsibilities now that the UK is outside of the EU and takes into account growing public concern about health and climate change.
The FSA’s ambition is to be regarded as an excellent, accountable, modern regulator.  We have a very committed and cohesive Board with members from a range of backgrounds who share their knowledge and expertise in support of this goal.  We hold Board meetings in public on four occasions each year, with two private Board retreats and regular briefings.  We are united by a common purpose to uphold and enhance food standards.  If you join us, your contribution will have an impact on the health and quality of life of everyone across the country. 
 I look forward to receiving your application.
Professor Susan Jebb - Chair, Food Standards Agency 

Role description

  • To ensure the FSA discharges its statutory duties in line with the requirement to protect public health and consumer interests in relation to food.
  • To set and to reinforce the FSA’s core values through the development and monitoring of strategic objectives, plans and policies.
  • To represent the FSA and its values in communications with key stakeholders.
  • To monitor the performance of the Executive in meeting agreed objectives and targets, including: the delivery of services; continuous improvement; financial performance, and risk management.
  • To assist with the appointment of the Chief Executive.
  • To play an effective part in Board meetings, discussions and decisions, and work towards shared success.
  • To participate as a member or Chair of one or more of the Board Committees: Business, and Audit and Risk Assurance.
  • To act in the public interest at all times, not as a representative of the interests of any particular sector, and without regard to any personal interests.
  • To deputise as necessary for the Chair over the full range of their responsibilities.
  • To act as a conduit between the Board members and the Chair, facilitating effective communication of consensus and opinions; promoting a culture of openness and debate and encouraging the effective contribution of Board members.
  • To provide support and foster productive relations between the Executive and Non-Executive Board members.
  • To give approximately 35 days per annum to the FSA and to travel to meetings across the country, for which expenses are payable.  In addition, Board members are expected to read widely to develop personal skill and ensure effectiveness in the role.
Board members receive advice and support from the Executive in respect of their duties and are provided with background information in order to carry out their responsibilities. There is a dedicated secretariat to support the Board.

Organisation description

The statutory role of the FSA is to protect the health of the public and the interests of consumers in relation to food. Since it was established in April 2000, it has made its mark as a new kind of public authority – independent, proactive, energetic, open about policy and honest about risks.

The FSA is led by a Board of up to 12 non-executive members, including the Chair and Deputy Chair (in practice, since the creation of Food Standards Scotland in 2014, two of these Board roles which were reserved to appointments by government in Scotland, the Board has been 10 members strong). Collectively, Board members share responsibility for the whole FSA.

The Chair and Deputy Chair are appointed by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care acting jointly with the appropriate Ministers in Wales and Northern Ireland. One Board member is appointed by Welsh Ministers, and one member by the Health Minister in Northern Ireland. In Wales and Northern Ireland there are Food Advisory Committees which act as a route through which information and advice relevant to their country’s FSA interests is relayed to the Board. A Board member chairs each of these Committees. The remaining FSA Board members are appointed by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. The appropriate authorities consult each other before appointments are made. There are no specific geographical qualifications for these roles.

The FSA remit covers food and feed safety regulation and policy across the whole food chain (from ‘farm to fork’). It works to protect consumers by improving the safety of food and by giving honest, clear information. There is a complex pattern of responsibilities for policy and delivery on food and feed safety and standards, nutrition, and non-safety labelling and composition of food, across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This means that it has slightly different remits in each country.

The FSA is also an enforcement authority. Its staff work in meat plants to check that the requirements of the regulations, including animal welfare standards, are being met. It works closely with Local Authority Environmental Health Officers and Trading Standards Officers in 377 local authorities to ensure food from the over 600,000 food premises across England, Wales and Northern Ireland is safe and accurately labelled.

The FSA works closely with a very wide range of stakeholder groups to improve food safety at every step of the food chain. It has won recognition for restoring the trust of UK consumers in the way food safety is regulated.

Further reading:

FSA’s Annual Report and Consolidated Accounts for 2020/21 are available at

Consolidated Annual Report and Accounts 2020-2021 (

FSA Strategy 2022-27:

Food you can trust (

Our Food 2021: An annual review of food standards across the UK

Foreword | Food Standards Agency (

Board composition

Board meetings are held around the country.  Once a year the FSA visit either Wales or Northern Ireland.
Upcoming meetings are scheduled for:
  • 20 September 2023 - FSA Board and Business Committee – TBC
  • 16 & 17 October 2023 – FSA Board Retreat - London 
  • 13 December 2023 - FSA Board and Business Committee – Bristol
The Food Standards Agency main location is at Clive House, 70 Petty France, London, SW1H 9EX

Regulation of appointment

This post is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. For more information, please refer to the Commissioner’s website 

Person specification

Essential criteria

To be considered, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the qualities, skills and experience to meet all the essential criteria for appointment.
  • Strong decision-making skills, able to assess complex evidence and explain the basis for a decision
  • Experience of working with, or on behalf of the public and an ability to represent consumer interests
  • Strong strategic thinking and experience, able to help shape the FSA’s strategic direction
  • Ability to achieve significant change and to operate across complex networks
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills, including championing diversity and confidently dealing with difficult situations sensitively.
  • Chair Board meetings of a significant national organisation, and to support and sustain an effective board with strong Board relationships.

Desirable criteria

The new Deputy Chair will ideally be able to bring skills and experience in one or more of the following areas:
  • Experience in the food sector (primary production, manufacture, retail)
  • Expertise in safety and standards in the food industry
  • Experience in Local Government
  • Insight into public (or environmental) health in relation to food
  • A senior scientist working in a field closely related to the FSA’s portfolio
  • Expertise in (or understanding of) innovation which is relevant to food products/processes or delivery routes to the consumer
  • Understanding of (or experience in) a government regulatory body

Application and selection process

How to apply

The Department of Health and Social Care’s Honours and ALB Public Appointments Unit is managing this recruitment campaign. 
In order to apply, you will need to create an account or sign in on the “Apply for a public appointment” website.
Once you are logged into your account, click on 'apply for this role' and follow the on-screen instructions.  To apply, all candidates are required to provide:
  • a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • a Supporting Statement
  • equality information
  • information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues
Guidance on what to include in your CV/Supporting Statement and tips for applying can be found in the corresponding sections below and on the public appointment website: Public appointments - GOV.UK.
We will ask you to check and confirm your personal details to ensure your application is accurate.
You will also have the opportunity to make a reasonable adjustment request or apply under the disability confident scheme before you submit your application.
You will also be required to make any declarations related to standards in public life and ensuring public confidence in your Supporting Statement.  Further information on this can be found in the relevant section below.
If you are unable to create an account and apply online, or if you have any problems submitting your application online, please contact Daniel Clemence on 0113 2545335
The Advisory Assessment Panel reserves the right to only consider applications that contain all of the elements listed above, and that arrive before the published deadline for applications.
In completing an application, please firstly note the following in relation to:
  • Disqualification from appointment
  • Outside interests and reputational issues: Conflicts of interest
  • Outside interests and reputational issues: Political Activity and social media
  • Standards in public life and ensuring public confidence.

Overview of the application process

Public appointments are made on merit following a fair and open competition process which is conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments. We will deal with your application as quickly as possible and will keep you informed at key stages. We aim to conclude the appointment process within three months of the deadline for applications – this is in accordance with the Governance Code.

The assessment process

  1. Ministers are responsible and accountable to Parliament for the public appointments made within their department. As a result, they must be consulted at every stage of the appointments process.

  2. An Advisory Assessment Panel (“Panel”) is appointed by Ministers to assist them in their decision making. The role of the Panel is to decide, objectively, which candidates meet the eligibility criteria for the role.

  3. At the shortlisting meeting the Panel will assess applications against the eligibility criteria and decide which candidates have best met the criteria, who should be recommended for interview. Ministers will then be consulted on the Panel’s recommended shortlist. If you have applied under the Disability Confident Scheme and you meet all the essential criteria, then you will also be invited for an interview.

  4. Once the shortlist has been agreed by Ministers, you will be advised (by e-mail) whether you have been shortlisted. Those shortlisted will be invited to an interview.

  5. The Panel will meet again to interview candidates and determine who is appointable to the role. The Panel may invite you to make a brief presentation at the start of the interview and will go on to question you about your skills and experience, including asking specific questions to assess whether you meet the criteria set out for the post. The Panel will also explore with you any potential conflicts of interest or any other issues arising from your personal and professional history which may impact on an appointment decision.

  6. Details of the panel’s assessment of interviewed candidates are provided to Ministers, including whether they have judged a candidate to be appointable to the role. It is then for Ministers to determine merit and decide who should be appointed. In some circumstances, Ministers may choose not to appoint any candidates and re-run the competition.

  7. Ministers may choose to meet with candidates before deciding the outcome. Candidates should therefore be prepared for a short time gap between interview and a final appointment decision being made. Candidates who have been interviewed will be kept informed of progress.

  8. Once the decision on the appointment has been made, interviewed candidates will be advised of the outcome of their application, including whom they may approach for feedback. Successful candidates will be issued with their Terms & Conditions and a letter of appointment should they agree to take up the position.

Further information about appointments, including tips on applying, can be found on our guidance pages on

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

The panel will include: 

Natasha Burgon, Director of Diet, Obesity and Healthy Behaviours, OHID and senior sponsor for the FSA, as panel chair
Susan Jebb, Chair of the FSA, as panel member 
Haider Husain, Non-Executive Director on the Board of the MHRA as the Independent Panel Member
Advisory Assessment Panels (AAP) are chosen by ministers to assist them in their decision-making. These include a departmental official and an independent member. For competitions recruiting non-executive members of a board (apart from the Chair), the panel will usually include a representative from the public body concerned.
AAP’s perform a number of functions, including agreeing an assessment strategy with ministers, undertaking sifting, carrying out interviews in line with the advertised criteria and deciding objectively who meets the published selection criteria for the role before recommending to ministers which candidates they find appointable. It is then for the minister to decide who to appoint to the role.

Eligibility criteria

In general, you should have the right to work in the UK to be eligible to apply for a public appointment.

There are a small number of specialist roles that are not open to non-British citizens. Any nationality requirements will be specified in the vacancy details.

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. 

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director  (under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986);

  • have an unspent conviction on your criminal record;

  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors.

In addition, legislation related to the FSA sets out how individuals are disqualified from appointment as Deputy Chair, if they are:
• A Member of the House of Commons or the Northern Ireland Assembly

When you apply, you should declare if:

  • you are, or have been, bankrupt or you have made an arrangement with a creditor at any point, including the dates of this. 

  • you are subject to a current police investigation.

You must inform the sponsor department if, during the application process, your circumstances change in respect of any of the above points. 

When you apply you should also declare any relevant interests, highlighting any that you think may call into question your ability to properly discharge the responsibilities of the role you are applying for. You should also declare any other matters which may mean you may not be able to meet the requirements of the Code of Conduct of Board Members (see Outside interests and reputational issues section below)
The above is only intended to act as a summary and you should consider the full legislation, which is attached for your ease at Annex A of the candidate information pack document.
For further advice please contact Daniel Clemence via

Security clearance

The successful candidate will be required to undertake Baseline Personnel Security Standard checks in line with the Civil Service guidelines. Additional Security Clearance may also be required for certain roles. However, where this applies, candidates will be notified during the appointment process. Further information on National Security Vetting can be found on the website here.

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

We encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and across the whole of the United Kingdom. Boards of public bodies are most effective when they reflect the diversity of views of the society they serve and this is an important part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.
We collect data about applicants’ characteristics and backgrounds, including information about people’s educational and professional backgrounds, so that we can make sure we are attracting a broad range of people to these roles and that our selection processes are fair for everyone. Without this information, it makes it difficult to see if our outreach is working, if the application process is having an unfair impact on certain groups and whether changes are making a positive difference.
When you submit your application, your responses are collected by the Cabinet Office and the government department(s) managing your application. The data is used to produce management information about the diversity of applicants. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel who review applications against the advertised criteria and conduct interviews.

Disability confident

We are a member of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme. We use the Disability Confident scheme symbol, along with other like-minded employers, to show our commitment to good practice in employing people with a disability. The scheme helps recruit and retain disabled people. 
As part of implementing the scheme, we guarantee an interview for anyone with a disability whose application meets the essential criteria for the role, set out in the advert, and who has asked that their application is considered under the scheme. Indicating that you wish your application to be considered under the scheme will in no way prejudice your application. By ‘minimum criteria,’ we mean that you must provide evidence which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria, as set out in the job-advert.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to select if you would like your application considered under this scheme.

Reasonable adjustments

We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to make sure applicants with disabilities, physical or mental health conditions, or other needs are not substantially disadvantaged when applying for public appointments. This can include changing the recruitment process to enable people who wish to apply to do so.
Some examples of common changes are:
  • ensuring that application forms are available in different or accessible formats;
  • making adaptations to interview locations;
  • allowing candidates to present their skills and experience in a different way;
  • giving additional detailed information on the selection / interview process in advance to allow candidates time to prepare themselves;
  • allowing support workers, for example sign language interpreters;
  • making provision for support animals to attend.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to the application process.

Principles of public life

Holders of public office are expected to adhere to and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life These are:

  1. SELFLESSNESS - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family or their friends;
  2. INTEGRITY - Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties;
  3. OBJECTIVITY - In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit;
  4. ACCOUNTABILITY - Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office;
  5. OPENNESS - Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands;
  6. HONESTY - Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest;
  7. LEADERSHIP - Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

Code of conduct for board members

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. In support of this, all non-executive board members of UK public bodies must abide by the principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. The Code sets out the standards expected from those who serve on the boards of UK public bodies and will form part of your terms and conditions of appointment.

Management of outside interests and consideration of reputational issues

Holders of public office are expected to adhere and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life and the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. Before you apply you should consider carefully: 
  • any outside interests that you may have, such as shares you may hold in a company providing services to government; 
  • any possible reputational issues arising from your past actions or or public statements that you have made; 
  • and/or - any political roles you hold or political campaigns you have supported; 
which may call into question your ability to do the role you are applying for.
You will need to answer relevant questions in relation to these points when making an application. Many conflicts of interest can be satisfactorily resolved and declaring a potential conflict does not prevent you from being interviewed. If you are shortlisted for an interview, the panel will discuss any potential conflicts with you during that interview, including any proposals you may have to mitigate them and record that in their advice to ministers. Alongside your own declaration, we will conduct appropriate checks, as part of which we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This may include searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. The successful candidate(s) may be required to give up any conflicting interests and their other business and financial interests may be published in line with organisational policies. 
Details of declared political activity will be published when the appointment is announced, as required by the Governance Code (political activity is not a bar to appointment, but must be declared).

Status of appointment

As this is an office holder appointment, you will not become a member of the Civil Service. You will not be subject to the provisions of employment law.

Appointment and tenure of office

Appointments are for the term set out in this advert, with the possibility of re-appointment for a further term, at the discretion of Ministers.  Any re-appointment is subject to satisfactory annual appraisals of performance during the first term in the post. There is no automatic presumption of reappointment; each case should be considered on its own merits, taking into account a number of factors including, but not restricted to, the diversity of the current board and its balance of skills and experience. In most cases, the total time served in post will not exceed more than two terms or serve in any one post for more than ten years

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

The FSA Deputy Chair is remunerated at the standard rate of £14,000 per annum.
Remuneration for this role is treated as employment income and will be subject to tax and National Insurance contributions, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid.
You can claim reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence costs which are properly and necessarily incurred on official business, in line with the travel and subsistence policy and rates for the organisation to which you are applying. However these payments are taxable as earnings and will be subject to tax and national insurance, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid.  

Pension and redundancy

This is an office holder appointment and does not attract any benefits under any Civil Service Pension Scheme. You will not be eligible for redundancy pay as you are not an employee. No other arrangements have been made for compensation upon the end of your term of appointment because an office holder who is appointed for a limited duration would have no expectation of serving beyond that period.

Application feedback

We will notify you of the status of your application. We regret that we are only able to offer detailed feedback to candidates who have been unsuccessful at the interview stage.

How to complain

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy.
If you have any complaints about the way your application has been handled, please contact Zubeda Seedat by emailing 

How to complain to Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA)

If you are not content with the appointing department’s response you may wish to further complain to the Commissioner at information on how the Commissioner handles complaints can be found on the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ website

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.
The DHSC privacy notice can be found at DHSC privacy notice - GOV.UK (

Contact details

For further information regarding the role of the FSA and the role of the Deputy Chair, please contact:

Ann Stirling

Tel: 07970 401448 


For any queries about your application status or the selection process, please contact Daniel Clemence in DHSC’s Honours and ALB Public Appointments Unit: