You cannot apply for this role

The application deadline has passed or the role has been closed for applications.

Role details

National Shipbuilding Office Non-Executive Director

Application deadline 5 February 2023


National Shipbuilding Office
Sponsor department
Ministry of Defence
Business, Commercial, Major Projects, Transformation
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
20 day(s) per annum
£18000 per annum
Length of term
3 years, with the option to extend for a further term.
Application deadline
11:59pm on 5 February 2023

Share this page

Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    16 January 2023

  2. Application deadline

    11:59pm on 5 February 2023

  3. Sifting date

    10 February 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    4 March 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


We are seeking to recruit a Senior Independent Non-Executive Director (Senior Independent NED) for the National Shipbuilding Office (NSO). This is an exciting opportunity for the post-holder to shape the future of the NSO. 
The creation of the NSO was announced by the Defence Secretary in September 2021.
The NSO drives transformative change to empower a globally successful, innovative and sustainable shipbuilding enterprise that works for all parts of the UK. The NSO oversees all of the Government's interests in UK shipbuilding, supports growth in the sector, and works with industry to improve productivity and competitiveness.
We are now seeking to appoint an exceptional individual to support the NSO as it delivers the UK's refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS) which was published on 10 March 2022 . This role will help to maximise the opportunities as the NSO works across government and industry to deliver its objectives.

Additional introductions

Please refer to the refresh to the National Shipbuilding Strategy on GOV.UK,

Role description

The Senior Independent NED of the NSO is accountable to the Shipbuilding Tsar for ensuring the NSO is effective in all aspects of the delivery of the NSbS. They will also have the personal role of advising the Sponsor about the high-level business issues affecting the NSO, both directly and as a member of the NSO Sponsor Board (the Performance and Risk Review mechanism). 
The NSO Senior Independent NED is specifically responsible for: 
  • Encouraging and supporting the NSO’s drive for continuous improvement through objective, constructive challenge, and scrutiny of the NSO’s performance.
  • To act as a source of advice and guidance to the Chief Executive.
  • Providing an independent perspective to the strategic direction of NSO’s work and the development of its Corporate Plan.
  • Building effective relationships with the NSO Senior Executive, internal and external stakeholders.
  • Sharing their knowledge and expertise with the individual members of the NSO Executive meeting as appropriate.
  • Making a creative contribution by questioning existing ways of working and encouraging innovation and new thinking.
  • Actively communicating the NSO’s role to internal and external stakeholders, and to understand any challenges/concerns.
  • Role modelling NSO’s guiding principles and charters.
Advising on the appointment of the NSO Chief Executive, including sitting on the selection panel.

Organisation description

About the National Shipbuilding Office (NSO)
The NSO is a newly established Office of Department made up of civil servants from across Government and secondees from industry. It is hosted by the Ministry of Defence with an outward focus on other Government departments. It also works closely with key industry stakeholders across the entire breadth of the shipbuilding enterprise.
In summary:
The goals of the NSO feed into, and draw from, the Government’s top priorities, including Levelling Up, Strengthening the Union, and meeting Net Zero obligations.
The NSO:
  • Aims to drive transformative change in the shipbuilding enterprise, creating a strategic focus in government for delivering national ambition.
  • Oversees all of government’s interests in shipbuilding, optimising government’s approach to growing the industry and realising the benefits of coordinated procurement, investment and engagement across the enterprise.
  • Owns the National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh and is empowered to align Departmental activity and investments with its ambition and approach.
NSO Executive 
The NSO Executive Meeting provides strategic leadership and oversight for the NSO in delivering its objectives, including developing the NSO Corporate Plan for endorsement by the NSO Sponsor. The Senior Independent NED will be accountable to the Shipbuilding Tsar (Defence Secretary) for the provision of advice and guidance to the NSO CEO to ensure the effectiveness in all aspects of the NSO role. They will be expected to work closely with the NSO Sponsor and their officials who act on behalf of the Shipbuilding Tsar. 

Person specification

Essential criteria

Candidates will need to be highly credible leaders with the ability to form positive, effective, and trusted relationships with people at a high level within Government and industry. They should ideally have proven experience in working in industry, or a large complex delivery organisation, and of developing a business strategy and turning this into delivery. They will also have an appreciation of the principles and governance arrangements underpinning the public sector.

Desirable criteria

Previous experience as a Non-Executive Director is desirable, but not essential.
Candidates should also be able to demonstrate an understanding of the role of the Senior Independent NED. In addition, it is desirable that candidates demonstrate they have: 
  • Outstanding leadership, people and influencing skills at the highest level.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to manage and develop diverse stakeholder relationships.
  • Strong judgment, analysis, and decision-making skills and with the ability and experience to provide a challenging and supportive role to the Chief Executive and senior Executives.
  • Understanding of corporate governance frameworks, preferably in a public-sector environment.
  • Experience of delivering / supporting organisational change programmes.
The NSO Executive meetings are normally held in London or via Microsoft Teams. However, travel to other locations, including Edinburgh, may be required.

Application and selection process

How to apply

To apply please read the attached Campaign Information pack then submit the following documents by email to FAO Bethany Hammond quoting reference 53513_NSO_NED:

  • 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.

The assessment process:

  1. The Approving Authority 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 Approving Authority 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 should be recommended for interview. The Approving Authority will then be consulted on the Panel’s recommended shortlist.
  4. Once the shortlist has been agreed by Approving Authority, 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 names of all appointable candidates are provided to the Approving Authority. It is then for the Approving Authority to determine merit and decide who should be appointed. In some circumstances, the Approving Authority may choose not to appoint any candidates and re-run the competition.
  6. The Panel’s recommendations will be provided to the Approving Authority in a report which details the assessment method used and the outcome of each interview. They will then be asked to agree on the candidate(s) who should be appointed.
  7. Once the decision on the appointment has been made, interviewed candidates will be advised of the outcome of their application. Successful candidates will be issued with their Terms & Conditions and a letter of appointment should they agree to take up the position.

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: Lt Gen Robert Magowan, DCDS (Mil Cap).
  • Representative of Organisation (Organisation Panel Member): Joanne Hamer, Deputy Director EASP.
  • Departmental Official (Department Panel Member): Petra Wilkinson, Maritime Director.

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

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 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.
  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

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.
Please contact the DBS 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.

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy and the Ministry of Defence will use your data in line their privacy policy.

Contact details

Please contact Syed Zakar Qadri, for additional information.