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Role details

Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee (VAPC) London Chair

Application deadline 5 February 2023

Summary

Organisation
Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committees
Sponsor department
Ministry of Defence
Location
London
Sector
Defence
Skills
Business, Commercial, Communication, Media, Marketing, Human Resources, Technology / Digital, Legal, Major Projects, Regulation, Retail, Transformation
Number of vacancies
1
Time commitment
Adhoc
Length of term
3 years with a possible reappointment for 1 further term of 3 years subject to satisfactory performance.
Application deadline
11pm on 5 February 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    12 December 2022

  2. Application deadline

    11pm on 5 February 2023

  3. Sifting date

    27 February 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    3 April 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role

Additional introductions

The members of Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committees (VAPCs) serve and support ex-servicemen and women, their widows or widowers and their immediate family members. They are an independent voice, here to help whenever or wherever a veteran served, whether in World War 2 or Afghanistan. 
Each VAPC is an advisory non-departmental public body, sponsored by Veterans UK, a department of the Ministry of Defence. 
Following the formation of the Office for Veterans Affairs and the mandate to make the UK to be the best Country in the World to be a veteran there has never been a better time to set the pace for veterans’ affairs in the Northeast. As the Chair of a VAPC you will have the opportunity to ensure that veterans issues in the Northeast are considered in line with the rest of the UK. If you believe that you are a proven leader with an innate ability to get the best from a team of like-minded volunteers to enhance the quality of life for veterans and their families in the Northeast and across the UK, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Role description

The Veterans Advisory & Pensions Committees (VAPCs) are Advisory Non-Departmental Public Bodies divided into 13 geographical regions. Appointments of Chairs and Members to the Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committees (VAPCs) is made by the Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families (MinDPVSF). Each appointment is for a term of 3 years with a possible reappointment for 1 further term of 3 years subject to satisfactory performance.
Each VAPC is an independent regional statutory committee that acts independently of its sponsoring and other government departments. Members of VAPCs are given functions in two different capacities by different means:
  1. one set of functions by statutory provision as members of a statutory committee, https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/1133/made and
  2. another set of functions as members of a regional informal group by Supplementary Terms of Reference  (TORs) https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-vapc-terms-of-reference-will-assist-all-veterans-and-their-families 
The TORs provide direction relating to performance for an initial period of 12 months and invite the members of the regional VAPCs to act as members of informal regional groups enabling them to carry out activities relating to all veterans and their families. Following the initial 12-month period (November 2021 to 2022), the Minister will review the TORs and performance against the activities set out in them, and will make a determination on next steps (e.g. extending the TORs, replacing them or withdrawing them). The TORs will stay in effect until the outcome of the review.
Together, the existing legislation and the TORs enable the members of VAPCs to:
  • Provide a distinct, identifiable, and independent point of reference for the Veteran community and all those supporting it to raise, respond to, promote and raise awareness of issues relating to Veterans Services, the Strategy for our Veterans, the Armed Forces Covenant and the War Pension and Armed Forces Compensation Schemes and the availability of cross-Government support from multiple Departments to the Armed Forces, their families and Veterans  
  • Act from an independent standpoint as an advocate, promoter, facilitator, or communicator of Veterans Services provided by government, central and local authorities, stakeholders, charities and others;
  • Report and make representations from an independent standpoint on strategy and the delivery of the above to Ministers and others.
  • Act as bodies to enable and foster consultation by the Secretary of State, the MOD, Veterans UK and the Armed Forces Covenant Team on issues affecting those entitled to payments under the War Pension/Armed Forces Compensation Schemes.  
  • Support Veterans UK by providing an independent quality assurance overview related to the service delivery of the Welfare Service at a local level. Develop relations with Vets UK Regional Welfare Managers to gain an awareness of Veterans’ welfare concerns at a regional level and advise as to how best to maximise effective welfare support.
The VAPC Chairperson and members play a central role in their region in promoting the interests and welfare of the Armed Forces community, including its Veterans cohort, and their families. The committees and informal regional groups meet formally a minimum of 2 times per year and members are expected to be involved in a wide-ranging agenda of issues relating to the functions set out above.  This will require a blend of sub-group, informal regional group and ad hoc meetings to be managed alongside the formal set piece meetings.
Suitable candidates for the Chair role may come from a wide range of backgrounds and, whilst knowledge of service life would be useful, it is not essential. What is most important is that applicants should have a real commitment to supporting Veterans and their Families.  
A chair is expected to:
  • Convene and chair at least two meetings a year of the members of their VAPC and its informal regional group.
  • Convene such further meetings as those members conclude are necessary for the proper performance of their functions.
  • Attend or arrange for a substitute to attend the Council of Chairs and the Chairs’ conferences.
  • Draft or arrange the drafting of the reports of the members of their regional VAPC and their informal regional group.
  • Lead on the annual recruitment process for members for their region. Ensuring compliance with Governance Code on Public Appointments, as advised by the Sponsor Team and the Public Appointments Team. A VAPC Chair is expected to chair the Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP) throughout the selection process and to provide the Minister with the combined views of the AAP on each candidate to assist with his appointment decision. 
  • Monitor the progress and report, when appropriate, on the performance of members in their region.
  • Represent their regional VAPC and its informal regional group at regional veterans forums e.g. Armed Forces Covenant Partnership Board meetings.

Organisation description

The Veterans Advisory & Pensions Committees (VAPCs) are Advisory Non-Departmental Public Bodies divided into 13 geographical regions. Appointments of Chairs and Members to the Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committees (VAPCs) is made by the Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families (MinDPVSF). Each appointment is for a term of 3 years with a possible reappointment for 1 further term of 3 years subject to satisfactory performance.

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

Candidates for the Chair role will need to demonstrate all the following essential skills: 
  • A real commitment to supporting veterans and their families, and the knowledge and experience to implement it.
  • The ability to provide effective leadership and management of meetings, partnership working, promotion of a team approach and to work in a collaborative way to achieve outcomes.
  • Influencing and negotiating skills of a high level, excellent all round communication skills and the ability to work with military and civil authorities and other major suppliers of direct assistance to Veterans and to comment on and develop practical plans for existing circumstances and the future.
  • The ability to consider complex issues relating to the terms, detail, implementation, administration and delivery of services to veterans and their families, the Armed Forces Covenant and the War Pension and Armed Forces Compensation Schemes.

Application and selection process

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to provide:
  • A Curriculum Vitae which provides details of your education and qualifications, employment history, directorships, membership of professional bodies and details of any publications or awards;
  • A supporting statement in the ‘Expression of Interest Form’ explaining how you meet the eligibility criteria. Make sure you refer to the contents of the candidate information pack and provide specific examples which demonstrate proven and demonstrable expertise or ability.  Please ensure your full name and the campaign reference number are clearly stated at the top of your CV and additional papers;
  • Information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues (further information below);
  • Complete the Expression of Interest Form including your supporting statement; contact details for two referees “(by providing their details you are giving consent for us to contact them should you be successful at the shortlisting stage)” and any conflict of interest diversity monitoring information.  This allows us to see if there are any unfair barriers to becoming a public appointee and whether there are any changes that we could make to encourage a more diverse field to apply. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be used as part of the selection process and will not be seen by the interview panel;
  • Disability Confident – Offering an interview to disabled people (if applicable), and;
  • Reasonable adjustments - requests for reasonable adjustments that you would like to the application process (if applicable).
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.
To apply please read the attached Campaign Information pack then submit the following documents by email to DBSCivPers-ResPublicAppts@mod.gov.uk FAO Bethany Hammond quoting reference 53163_VAPC_LONDON_CHAIR
  • Expression of Interest form;
  • Diversity Monitoring Form;
  • Current CV.

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 gov.uk.

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

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.
  • Panel Chair - Rob Rowntree (Deputy Head of Veterans UK) (MoD official);
  • Name of the Representative of Organisation (Organisation Panel Member) - John Lighten, VAPC National Chair;
  • Name of the Departmental Official (Department Panel Member) - Rob Rowntree (Deputy Head of Veterans UK) (MoD official);
  • Name of the Senior Independent Panel Members (SIPM) or Independent Panel Members - Alison Grant, Member of the Blesma Board of Trustees;
  • Name of the Other panel members - David Richmond - Independent Veterans Advisor.

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 DBSCivPers-ResPublicAppts@mod.gov.uk

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. This will be specified in the vacancy details. Further information on National Security Vetting can be found on the Gov.uk website here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/united-kingdom-security-vetting-clearance-levels/national-security-vetting-clearance-levels.

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

The Ministry of Defence value and welcome diversity.  The appointment will be governed by the Principle of Public Appointment based on merit with independent assessment and transparency of process. Successful candidate will need to demonstrate that they meet the criteria for this appointment.
We encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and experience across the whole of the United Kingdom.  Boards of public bodies/Advisory Committees 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.

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

Government departments 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 reasonable adjustments 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 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.
  2. Integrity - Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
  3. Objectivity - Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
  4. Accountability - Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
  5. Openness - Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
  6. Honesty - Holders of public office should be truthful.
  7. Leadership - Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour and treat others with respect. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

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 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

Veterans Advisory Pension Committee Chairs and Members are able to claim reimbursement of necessary travel and subsistence incurred as a result of their VAPC activities. Loss of earnings is also payable for up to 15 days per year at the rate of £25.77 for under 4 hours per day or £51.54 for over 4 hours per day.

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 feel that you have a complaint about the way in which your application has been handled, please contact in the first instance Defence Business Service (DBS) Civilian Personnel Public Appointments Team DBSCivPers-ResPublicAppts@mod.gov.uk. If you are not completely satisfied with the response, please contact the MOD Public Appointments Team at DSOP-PublicAppointments@mod.gov.uk
We will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and aim to provide a response within 5 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 publicappointments@csc.gov.uk.Further information on how the Commissioner handles complaints can be found on the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ website https://publicappointmentscommissioner.independent.gov.uk/regulating-appointments/investigating-complaints/

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.

Contact details

For additional information on this role please contact Kerry Wright by email: Kerry.Wright741@mod.gov.uk.