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Role details

Deputy Further Education Commissioner (Quality)

Application deadline 24 February 2023


Further Education Commissioner's Office
Sponsor department
Department for Education
Change Management, Communication, Major Projects
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
200 day(s) per annum
£700 per day
Length of term
Three years
Application deadline
11:59pm on 24 February 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    1 February 2023

  2. Application deadline

    11:59pm on 24 February 2023

  3. Sifting date

    17 March 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    30 May 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


The Further Education (FE) Commissioner takes a key role in working with all statutory further education colleges and designated institutions to improve the quality for learners, strengthen financial resilience, improve the quality of leadership, and reduce the risk of colleges requiring interventions.

To be able to deliver on this, the FE Commissioner is supported by a team of Deputy FE Commissioners and FE Advisers.

Introduction from the Secretary of State

Thank you for your interest in applying to join the Further Education Commissioner’s team as a Deputy Further Education Commissioner.

In this sector-leading role, you will have the opportunity to support colleges and further education providers across England, making sure that they are equipped with the tools to provide outstanding education and training.

You will work directly with the Further Education Commissioner to support their work, engaging with ministers, civil servants, and of course colleges and other members of the further education sector.

With the work of the Further Education Commissioner now more focussed than ever on providing active support to all colleges, you will have a pivotal role in shaping this offer, engaging directly with institutions to share your experience and expertise. You will also lead on cases where colleges require more in-depth support and intervention, helping to drive up standards. In addition to working with the Further Education Commissioner’s team, you will engage with members across my department to provide insight on policy.

At the Department for Education we are keen to support equality of opportunity and to ensure that we are a reflection of the people we serve. We champion diversity across gender, race and disability, and encourage applications from a wide range of viewpoints and backgrounds, including those based outside London and the South East, and those who have achieved success through non-traditional educational routes.

If you are someone with a deep understanding of the FE sector, excellent leadership and people skills, and a passion for ensuring outstanding education and training is available to all, I look forward to hearing from you.

Rt Hon Gillian Keegan MP

Secretary of State for Education

Introduction from the Chair

Thank you for your interest in applying for a role as Deputy Further Education Commissioner.

As a key member of my team, you will be playing a direct part in ensuring that FE and sixth form colleges across England are in the strongest possible position to provide an outstanding standard of education and training. We are also extending this support to Local Authorities who deliver directly funded education and skills.

As a fairly new Further Education Commissioner, I have led a dedicated team of Deputies and Advisers for the past year. The focus of our work has changed to supporting all colleges in the sector and encouraging the sharing of effective practice. There remains a small amount of formal intervention oversight and support.

I am looking for candidates with a deep understanding of the FE sector, who have an outstanding track record of leadership and delivery and are highly motivated, with excellent people skills and the ability to lead and drive work with energy, passion and skill. The start date for terms of office are negotiable and could be as late as the Autumn of 2023.

If you think you have the requisite skills and experience, and if you share my passion and commitment to ensure that we are able to deliver world-class education and training for young people in England, then I look forward to hearing from you.

Shelagh Legrave CBE

Further Education Commissioner

Role description

As part of the government’s approach to support further education (FE) colleges and other FE institutions, Deputy FE Commissioners are providing active support to all colleges.

They also, as required, assess colleges who are in intervention, advising ministers and senior officials on any relevant course of action. They ensure the end-to-end process of assessment is managed effectively and that any necessary changes are delivered swiftly and communicated to those affected.

Deputy FE Commissioners work across a number of areas supporting the Further Education Commissioner – more information can be found in the candidate pack.  

Organisation description

The Department for Education (DfE) is responsible for children’s services and education, including early years, schools, higher and further education policy, apprenticeships and wider skills in England.

DfE is a ministerial department, supported by 18 agencies and public bodies.

Read more about what we do

Board composition

For more details about the FE Commissioner team, please see here.

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

Successful candidates are required to demonstrate the following essential criteria.

  • Senior level academic experience of measuring success in an educational context.
  • Ability to lead and influence complex organisational change within an educational context, delivering at pace
  • Ability to develop and implement quality and improvement strategies.
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills and the ability to influence, persuade and engage stakeholders at the highest levels, in addition to excellent management and interpersonal skills.
  •  Ability to work effectively with ministers, civil servants, college leaders and key stakeholders, demonstrating resilience and the ability to maintain a positive approach in challenging circumstances.
  •  An understanding of the regulatory framework within which FE institutions operate.

Application and selection process

How to apply

Please submit the following documents by email to:

  1. A CV.
  2. Candidate application form.
  3. Diversity form.

Please include the vacancy title in the subject box and submit each application document as a separate attachment.

We are happy to accept applications in alternative formats from applicants who, for reasons of disability, may find it difficult to fill in our standard form. If you would like to have a chat with us about reasonable adjustments please contact us at:

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.

Interviews are expected to be held in April 2023

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)

Panel 1 - Shelagh Legrave - Board Representative - Further Education Commissioner Chair
Panel 2 - Kirsty Evans - Departmental representative - Director for Post-16 Regions and FE Provider Oversight, Department for Education
Panel 3 - Jeff Greenidge - Independent panel member - Director for Diversity, Association of Colleagues / Education and Training Foundation
Panel 4 - Ian Pryce - Chief Executive, Bedford College Group / National Leader of Further Education
Panel 5 - Thomas Reed - Head of FE Commissioner Support and Intervention, Department for Education
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.
The Advisory Assessment Panel for this role will be as follows.
Shelagh Legrave, Further Education Commissioner - representative of organisation.
Kirsty Evans - Director for Post-16 Regions and FE Provider Oversight, Department for Education - representative of Department for Education.
Jeff Greenidge - Director for Diversity, Association of Colleges/Education and Training Foundation - independent panel member.
Ian Pryce - Chief Executive, Bedford College Group/National Leader of Further Education - other panel member.
Thomas Reed - Head of FE Commissioner Support and Intervention, Department for Education - other panel member.

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.

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).
If you need further advice, please contact: 

Security clearance

Depending on the role, Baseline Personnel Security Standard checks may be required.  If this is the case you will be made aware of this. 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

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

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. 

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.
Please contact the public appointments team in the first instance if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application at They will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and respond within 15 working days.

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.
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