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Role details

Chair of National Energy System Operator (Previously known as Future System Operator)

Application deadline 18 September 2023


Future System Operator
Sponsor department
Department for Energy Security & Net Zero
Business, Major Projects, Regulation, Transformation
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
3 day(s) per week
£88000 to £138000 per annum
Length of term
4 years, with the opportunity for re-appointment for a second term
Application deadline
11:59pm on 18 September 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    21 July 2023

  2. Application deadline

    11:59pm on 18 September 2023

  3. Sifting date

    9 October 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    20 November 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


This is an opportunity to be the first Chair of a new organisation at the heart of the energy system. The government is establishing an expert, impartial system operator with responsibilities across both the electricity and gas systems, to drive progress towards net zero while maintaining energy security and minimising costs for consumers. The system operator will need to be accountable to consumers and ultimately citizens, resilient to operational challenges over the short, medium and long-term and excellent in terms of technical expertise and operational capability. 
The Future System Operator (FSO) will be founded on some of the existing roles and capabilities of the electricity system operator, currently owned by National Grid, and some roles of and capabilities of the National gas system operator, and will therefore involve a transfer of ownership and transformation to create the new organisation. The FSO will manage a major piece of Critical National Infrastructure for the energy industry, by taking over the control of the GB electricity system. This means balancing the supply and demand for electricity to ensure it is always available when users need it. It will also take an increasingly significant role in shaping the energy system and driving forward competition. The FSO will take a whole system approach while doing so, which means considering the interactions across electricity, gas and other emerging markets (such as hydrogen and Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage), both on and offshore, and between transmission and distribution systems.
This is an exciting opportunity to be the first Chair of the organisation, to oversee a critical part of the nation's energy security, to play a vital role in the transition to net zero and to establish the FSO as a trusted, expert body at the centre of the energy system. Further details on the FSO and the government’s and Ofgem’s objectives for the FSO can be found in the government's FSO consultation response.

Role description

The Chair will be a high-profile role as the FSO works at the heart of the energy system to help shape the way GB net zero and energy security needs are met. The Chair will be appointed by the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero and will agree the FSO’s strategic plans with the department. However, the FSO will have substantial operational independence. The FSO will be regulated by Ofgem through its regulatory framework in a similar manner to the rest of the energy market.
In the initial stages, the primary focus of the Chair will be to lead the Board in guiding the transformation of the organisation from a privately-owned electricity system operator into a public sector company that delivers a whole system approach and acts as an expert and trusted adviser to government on the energy system. This will involve merging the Electricity System Operator, with the longer-term gas planning and strategic roles from National Grid Gas and overseeing the expansion of the organisation to take on a new statutory advisor role. You will use your expertise to shape the organisation into one that meets future needs, engaging with energy industry participants, consumers, and wider stakeholders to ensure their diverse needs are met. 
The Chair will lead the Board and bring out the best in the Board members to set a clear direction for the FSO, driving the design and delivery of the new organisation. You will listen to and support the CEO to implement the decisions of the Board and monitor performance. The Chair will also have a role to play in shaping the business planning process that is agreed with Ofgem. The Chair will have excellent knowledge of good corporate governance and experience of Chairing organisations of similar size and importance, and of using corporate governance to promote and maintain high standards throughout the business. The FSO must be an organisation that acts with integrity, accountability, and transparency in its operations. It must balance the needs of industry and consumers for the long-term. You will use your experience and political acumen to build collaborative and effective relationships with a broad range of senior stakeholders across government, with Ofgem, parliament and industry, acting as an ambassador for the FSO. 

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

The ability to think strategically, set clear direction and communicate effectively to ensure the successful implementation of the FSO’s duties and objectives.  
The ability to command the confidence of government, Parliament and the regulator, including Ministers and senior officials. 
Excellent leadership, personal resilience, and inter-personal skills and experience of managing complex senior stakeholder relationships across industry. 
Experience in driving organisational transformation including cultural change. 
Experienced track record as a Senior Executive, Non-Executive Director or preferably as a Chair. 
The ability to understand the energy system and whole system impacts. 

Desirable criteria

Knowledge of sustainability and the energy transition. 
Knowledge of or experience of taking account of impact on consumers and consumer behaviour. 
Experience of managing risk in a change environment. 
Experience of facilitating innovation and competition. 
Experience in digital and new technology.   

Application and selection process

How to apply

The Department for Energy Security & Net Zero has appointed Veredus as an executive search firm for this appointment and they will manage the campaign. 

The Department is committed to being a diverse and inclusive organisation and we welcome applicants from all backgrounds. We are looking for people with a range of skills, experience and knowledge.

To apply for this post, you will need to submit the following documentation, via the Veredus website –  quoting the reference number: 13680 – DESNZ: FSO Chair by no later than 9am BST Monday 4th September 2023:

1. A CV setting out your career history, with key responsibilities and achievements. Please ensure you have provided reasons for any gaps.

2. A Supporting Statement (around two pages) outlining how you consider your personal skills, qualities and experience provide evidence of your suitability for the role. 

3. A completed Diversity Monitoring Form (Annex A).  All monitoring data will be treated in the strictest confidence, will not be provided to the selection panel and will not affect your application in any way. If you do not wish to provide a declaration on any of the particular characteristics, you will have the option to select 'prefer not to say'.

4. A completed Candidate Supporting Information Form (Annex B).

5. A completed Conflicts of Interest Form (Annex C).

Word versions of the Forms can be found on the Veredus website under – Supporting Documentation for ease of completion.

All submissions will receive an automated response. If you do not receive confirmation of receipt when submitting your application, please contact us on 020 7932 4236.

At Veredus, we take care to protect the privacy of our candidates and clients. To read more about how we collect, store and share your data please read our privacy notice which can be accessed here:      

Should you encounter any issues with your online application please get in touch with us via: 

Further Information

If you have any questions about the role or would like to discuss the post further, please contact our advising consultant at Veredus: 

Alia Al-Haddad on 07784202260 

Carl Blinkhorn on 07753 222 176 

Antony Harvey on 07716 226020 

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.

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.

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.

LonglistYou will receive an electronic acknowledgment of your application through Veredus.   

The panel will assess and select applicants who demonstrate the best fit with the role by considering the evidence provided against the criteria set out in the Person Specification.  Failure to address any or all of these may affect your application.

Longlisted candidates will be invited for a preliminary interview with Veredus to explore their skills and experience. 


At the shortlisting meeting the Panel will assess applications against the eligibility criteria and decide which candidates have best met the criteria, and 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. 

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.

Two references will be taken up for shortlisted candidates in advance of final panel interviews and we may also conduct further due diligence such as media and social media screening.

Panel Interview

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.

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.

Ministerial Decision

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.

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.

Pre-Appointment Scrutiny

Pre-appointment scrutiny by select committees is an important part of the process for some of the most significant public appointments made by Ministers. It is designed to provide an added level of scrutiny to verify that the recruitment meets the principles set out in the Governance Code on Public Appointments. This scrutiny may involve the relevant select committee requesting and reviewing information from the Department and the Minister’s preferred candidate. The select committee may also choose to hold a pre-appointment hearing.

If you are confirmed as the government’s preferred candidate for this role, the department will be in touch to confirm next steps. In most cases your name and CV will be provided to the relevant select committee in advance of the hearing. Following a date being agreed for a pre-appointment hearing with the committee you will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance of that. Following the hearing, the government will review and respond to the Committee’s report before confirming the appointment.

The Government is committed to making the public appointments as accessible as possible so that no one is deterred from applying. The Department will provide support to you to help you prepare for the hearing and the clerks to the select committee will also be available to discuss with you how the hearing will run. You will also be supported by the Department in working with the select committee should you require any adjustment to enable you to participate fully in the hearing process. 

Full information can be found in the Cabinet Office’s guidance here.

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

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.
The AAP is as follows:
Jeremy Pocklington (Panel Chair) – Jeremy is the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero.
Rich Smith – Rich is a member of Ofgem’s Executive Committee and acting COO.
Perdita Fraser (Senior Independent Panel Member) – Perdita is an experienced Chair and Non-Executive Director.

Pre-appointment scrutiny

Pre-appointment scrutiny by select committees is an important part of the process for some of the most significant public appointments made by Ministers. It is designed to provide an added level of scrutiny to verify that the recruitment meets the principles set out in the Governance Code on Public Appointments. This scrutiny may involve the relevant select committee requesting and reviewing information from the Department and the Minister’s preferred candidate. The select committee may also choose to hold a pre-appointment hearing.
If you are confirmed as the government’s preferred candidate for this role, the department will be in touch to confirm next steps. In most cases your name and CV will be provided to the relevant select committee in advance of the hearing.  Following a date being agreed for a pre-appointment hearing with the committee you will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance of that. Following the hearing, the government will review and respond to the Committee’s report before confirming the appointment. 
Full information can be found in the Cabinet Office’s guidance here. 

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)

Security clearance

The successful candidate will be required to complete national security vetting at the Security Check (SC) level. 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 be an employee of the FSO or the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and 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.
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, will be subject to the organisation’s travel and subsistence policy.

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

If you feel you have reason to complain you should direct your concerns in the first instance to the Veredus Team who will make every effort to deal with these and respond to you within 48 hours. 
If your complaint is not dealt with satisfactorily, you can find information about the steps you can take under the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s Complaints Procedure here.
The Commissioner for Public Appointments is the independent regulator of public appointments. The Commissioner’s primary role is to provide independent assurance that public appointments are made in accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments. The Commissioner also investigates complaints and may conduct an inquiry into the policies and practices followed in relation to appointments processes which he regulates. The Commissioner will not investigate complaints relating to non-selection unless it appears that the appointments process has breached the Governance Code on Public Appointments. 
You can contact the Commissioner by email at or by post, as follows:
The Commissioner for Public Appointments
Room G/8, 1 Horse Guards Road
London, SW1A 2HQ
Further information on the role of the Commissioner or the appointments process is available at:

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 Department for Energy Security and Net Zero will use your data in line with our privacy policy attached. 

Contact details

For further information please contact: Please visit link to Veredus's site here.