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
- 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 (food.gov.uk)
Food 2021: An annual review of food standards across the UK
Foreword | Food Standards Agency (food.gov.uk)
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