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Role details

Chair of the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust

Application deadline 22 September 2023


Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust
Sponsor department
Ministry of Defence
Major Projects
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
20 day(s) per annum
Length of term
Initial period of two years and can then be extended for two further periods of three years (with a maximum term of 8 years).
Application deadline
11:59pm on 22 September 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    31 July 2023

  2. Application deadline

    11:59pm on 22 September 2023

  3. Sifting date

    29 September 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    10 November 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust is seeking a new Chair to join its dynamic and ambitious Board. The Trust, as both a charity and a Non-Departmental Public Body, supports delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant Fund of £10M, and facilitates funding on behalf of other bodies including the Office for Veterans Affairs, and HM Treasury.  These are delivered through grant making to organisations both within and outside the Service charity sector.  Experience of the Armed Forces community  and an understanding of the mechanisms of Government  would be an advantage but we are also looking to ensure diversity within our board.

Introduction from the Chair

As Chair of the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust (The Trust) I would like to thank you for your interest in this appointment and encourage you to read further. This is an incredibly exciting and fulfilling role which I have relished and which I commend to you.

The Trust is a grant making charity, created in 2015 and a Non-Departmental Public Body; it receives a £10m grant in aid from the Ministry of Defence annually (known as the Armed Forces Covenant Fund). As a grant maker supporting the whole Armed Forces community, the Trust ensures the funds we manage are tackling the varying needs of the Armed Forces, their families, and veterans and their families and to also provide positive opportunities for their wellbeing and integration into the communities in which they live.

The Trust is seeking to appoint a new Chair to the Board of Trustees, who will lead a dynamic team of senior military and government officials from across the UK.

The Armed Forces Covenant is the nation’s enduring commitment to those who serve in the Armed Forces, whether Regular or Reserve, those who have served in the past, and their families. It ensures that they should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services, and that they are treated fairly and deserving of our respect and support. The Covenant also ensures, where appropriate, that those who have given most for their country are provided special consideration, such as injured service personnel and veterans and bereaved families.

You can find out more about our work here:

This is a tremendous opportunity to play a leading role in the Trust. The successful candidate will help the Trust remain at the forefront of supporting the Armed Forces Covenant by helping to deliver funding programmes that create real change to the Armed Forces community, across all corners of the United Kingdom. Since becoming an independent charity and Non-Departmental Public Body in 2018, the work of the Trust has been hugely successful in supporting numerous programmes for the benefit of the Armed Forces community, including in response to COVID-19, veterans mental health and wellbeing and reducing isolation.

We are seeking a new Chair to lead the Trust as it develops over the coming years. Previous experience of leadership in the third or public sectors would be advantageous. Personal knowledge or experience of the Armed Forces would also be a benefit, but we are looking for a diverse range of candidates who can complement the skills and experiences of the current board members.

I wish you the best of luck with your application and thank you again for your interest.

Helen Helliwell

Role description

The Chair is responsible to the Secretary of State for ensuring that the Trust fulfils its statutory purpose as set out in its founding legislation; that it complies with charity law; that, where appropriate, the Trust’s policies are consistent with those of the Secretary of State for Defence; and that the Trust’s affairs are conducted with probity.

In addition, the Chair has the following leadership responsibilities:

  • Formulating the Board’s strategy;
  • Ensuring that the Board, in reaching strategic decisions, takes proper account of guidance provided by the responsible Minister or the Department;
  • Promoting the efficient and effective use of staff and other resources;
  • Delivering high standards of regularity and propriety;
  • Representing the views of the Board to the general public; and 14
  • A commitment to diversity, inclusion and equality.

The Chair also has an obligation to ensure that:

  • The work of the Board and its Trustees are reviewed and are working effectively;
  • The Board considers the effectiveness of the Trust’s governance in light of the Corporate Governance Code or Government Code of Good Practice for Corporate Governance;
  • The Board has a balance of skills appropriate to directing the Trust’s business, as set out in the Government Code of Good Practice for Corporate Governance;
  • Trustees are fully briefed on terms of appointment, duties, rights and responsibilities and new members are effectively inducted;
  • Trustees receive appropriate training on financial management and reporting requirements and on any differences that may exist between private and public sector practice;
  • The Board complies with the principles in the Governance Code on Public Appointments when selecting candidates for appointment as Independent Trustees;
  • There is a Board Operating Framework in place setting out the roles and responsibilities of the Board consistent with the Government Code of Good Practice for Corporate Governance or the Board and its subcommittees have suitable Terms of Reference/proceedings in place; and
  • There is a code of practice for Trustees in place, and formally adopted by Trustees, consistent with the Cabinet Office Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies.

Organisation description

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust was established to distribute £10M per annum in perpetuity from 2015onwards in order to fund projects that support the aims of the Armed Forces Covenant and in particular projects that support the Armed Forces community locally, regionally and across the whole of the United Kingdom. In April 2018, an independent charity, the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund was set up to administer the Covenant Fund as a charitable trust.  The Trust is registered with the Charity Commission and governed by its Trustees.

The Trust’s strategic aims are:

a.             To make grants to support the Armed Forces Covenant.  This Framework exists to enable that aim to be achieved in a timely, effective and transparent manner.

b.             To ensure that the distribution of monies addresses one or more of the following themes:

                         i.                   Non-core healthcare services for veterans;

                       ii.                   Removing barriers to family life;

                     iii.                   Extra support both in and after service for those that need help; and/or

                     iv.                   Measures to integrate military and civilian communities and allow the Armed Forces community to participate as citizens.

The Trust is administratively classified by the Cabinet Office as a Non-Departmental Public Body.  It is also a charity.

Board composition




1.      Member

Non-Exec (Independent)

Frances Nash

2.      Member

Non-Exec (Independent)

Sue Davies

3.      Member

Non-Exec (Independent)

Wendy Cartwright

4.      Member

Non-Exec (Independent)

Lt Gen Sir Nick Pope

5.      Member

Non-Exec (Independent)

Professor David Rose

6.      Member

Non-Exec (Independent)

Collette Musgrave

7.      Member

Non-Exec (Independent)

Rear Admiral Rex Cox

8.      Member

Non-Exec (Independent)

Victoria Wilson

9.      Chair

Government Official

Helen Helliwell (MOD)

10.  Member

Government Official

Maj Gen Jon Swift (MOD)

11.  Member

Government Official

Steven Squire-Law (NIO)

12.  Member

Government Official

John Mooney (Scottish Government)

13.  Member

Government Official

Capt (RN) Caroline Dix (HMT)

14.  Member

Government Official

Jessie Owen (OVA)

15.  Member

Government Official

Peter Kellam (Welsh Government)

Person specification

Essential criteria

Candidates must demonstrate all of the following essential criteria.

·       A willingness to devote the necessary time and effort (approximately 20 days a year for Board Meetings, Sub-Committees and Stakeholder events).

·       Good, independent judgement with an ability to think creatively and lead board discussions to ensure robust and consensual decision making.

·       Knowledge/experience of good governance and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship.

·       An ability to work effectively as both a leader and member of an inclusive team.

·       A commitment to Nolan’s seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

·       Experience of chairing a board or boards dealing with complex matters and with a wide range of stakeholders.

·       Knowledge/experience of the Armed Forces Community and a strong commitment to supporting the Armed Forces Covenant.


Desirable criteria

·       Experience of working with Ministers and government officials in a Government Department or within a Non Departmental Public Body.

·       Knowledge/experience of the voluntary sector and ideally of grant making.

Application and selection process

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to create an account or sign in.

1. 2.

Once you are logged into your account, click on 'apply for this role' and follow the on-screen instructions. To apply, all candidates are required to provide:

a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

a Supporting Statement

-          This should include details of 2 references; full names and email addresses. By providing your referees details, you are giving us consent to approach them should you be successful at the shortlisting stage.

We will ask you to check and confirm your personal details to ensure your application is accurate.

You will also have the opportunity to make a reasonable adjustment request or apply under the disability confident scheme before you submit your application.

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.

Overview of the application process

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 and Conditions and a letter of appointment should they agree to take up the position.

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

Panel Chair and Departmental Official

James Greenrod, Head of Armed Forces People Support

Representative of the Organisation

Wendy Cartwright, Board member

Independent Panel Member

Moi Ali, Independent Panel Member

Other Panel Members

(Observational capacity) Helen Helliwell, Chair of the Trust

(Observational Capacity) Anna Wright, Chief Executive of the Trust

Advisory Assessment Panels (AAP) are chosen by the Approving Authority 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 the Approving Authority, 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 the Approving Authority which candidates they find appointable. It is then for the Approving Authority to decide who to appoint to the role.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for this role, you must be a UK National.

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 Anna Wright, Chief Executive of the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust

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 kingdom-security-vetting-clearance-levels/national-security-vetting- clearance-levels#
The level of clearance required for this role is BPSS.

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 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 the Approving Authority. Any re-appointment is subject to satisfactory annual appraisals of performance during the first term in the post. If re- appointed, 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. 

This role is unpaid with expenses covered for travel undertaken when working in the capacity of Chair.

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- If you are not completely satisfied with the response, please contact the MOD Public Appointments Team at
We will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and aim to provide a response within 15 working days.

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