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Role details

Non-Executive Director of Office of Tax Simplification

Application deadline 23 September 2022


Office of Tax Simplification
Sponsor department
HM Treasury
Business and Trade
Accountancy, Business, Commercial, Technology / Digital, Transformation
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
10 day(s) per annum
£2400 per annum
Length of term
Up to 5 years
Application deadline
1pm on 23 September 2022

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Application deadline

    1pm on 23 September 2022

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) is the independent advisor to the government on simplifying the tax system to make things easier for taxpayers.

Role description

The current Board has significant experience of tax, commonly with backgrounds in advisory roles in legal and accountancy professions. Whilst this experience is very welcome in any new candidates, the Board would benefit from wider complementary skills and expertise that is relevant to the modern world of tax; such as customer transformation or service digitization (see ‘Desirable criteria’). 

Organisation description

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) is the independent advisor to the government on simplifying the tax system to make things easier for taxpayers.

The OTS publishes reviews undertaken by a small staff team drawn from the civil service and the private sector, led by the OTS Head of Office. Some reviews are commissioned by the Chancellor, and some are own-initiative, generated by the OTS themselves; the Board provides steers and insights into both, as well as contacts and influence to support the work.

The OTS Board is led by an independent Chair (Kathryn Cearns OBE) and the Tax Director (Bill Dodwell) and comprises a body of independent members as well as one representative from each of HM Treasury and HMRC. Since 24 February 2022 the independent membership has increased to six members.

The current independent members of the OTS Board are Paul Aplin OBE, John Cullinane, Professor Judith Freedman CBE, and Kathleen Russ. The Board is supplemented by Dame Teresa Graham DBE as an observer, who is also Chair of the HMRC-sponsored Administrative Burdens Advisory Board.

To support its work and further development, the Office of Tax Simplification would like to identify two exceptional individuals to join its Board as further independent members.

Board composition

The current independent members of the OTS Board are Paul Aplin OBE, John Cullinane, Professor Judith Freedman CBE, and Kathleen Russ. The Board is supplemented by Dame Teresa Graham DBE as an observer, who is also Chair of the HMRC-sponsored Administrative Burdens Advisory Board.

Person specification

Essential criteria

The successful candidates will:
  • bring an interest in simplifying the taxation of smaller businesses and individuals
  • bring an informed, realistic, and independent personal mindset to bear, drawing on their expertise and skills without simply acting as a representative of a particular profession or interest group
  • be able to work collaboratively with, and appropriately challenge, others with diverse backgrounds, expertise or experience

Desirable criteria

The ideal candidates will bring expertise or background in one or more of the following: 

  • customer transformation or service digitization programs
  • economics, finance, or tax in an academic or research setting
  • experience of tax for groups with protected characteristics or on lower incomes

Application and selection process

How to apply

Please see:

Candidate pack

Diversity form

Political Activity and Disability Confident Scheme form

HMT Privacy Notice

The closing date for applications is 13:00pm on 23rd September.

Apply by email: or, if you cannot apply online, by post to Office of Tax Simplification, Room G41, 1 Horse Guards Road, London SW1A 2HQ.

Applications must include: 

  • The role title and reference
  • A CV, which provides details of your qualifications, employment history, skills and expertise
  • A covering letter in which you succinctly address how you meet the essential and (if appropriate) desirable criteria
  • Names of at least two referees who may be contacted at short list stage, i.e. before interview
  • The forms (above) regarding contact details, diversity and political activity. This information is required for monitoring purposes only and will not be seen by any selection panel.

If you would like to know more about being a board member of the OTS or to have a conversation about how your experience and perspectives could support its work, please email to arrange a conversation with OTS Chair Kathryn Cearns.

Additional Information

This is a Chancellor Appointment. The Chair of the Office of Tax Simplification nominates appointable candidates to the Chancellor.

The OTS was set up on 20 July 2010 and made a permanent independent Office of HM Treasury on 21 July 2015. It was then placed on a statutory basis in sections 184 to 189 of, and Schedule 25 to, Finance Act 2016, which came into effect as from 28 November 2016.

HM Treasury carried out its first five-yearly statutory review of the OTS in 2021, one of the recommendations of which was for this expansion of the OTS Board by increasing the number of independent board members. The legislation has now been amended to allow for additional Board appointees following Royal Assent of the 2021-22 Finance Bill on 24 February.

Board members are appointed for a term of office of up to five years and are eligible for reappointment. Board meetings take place in Central London. They can be attended virtually, but some attendance in person is encouraged.

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified people and committed to providing equal opportunities for all, irrespective of race, age, disability, gender, marital status, religion, sexual orientation and transgender.

We are committed to actively encouraging applications from people with disabilities. Applicants with a disability are guaranteed an interview if they meet the minimum criteria for the appointment, as outlined in the relevant role description. Declaring a disability for the purposes of a guaranteed interview is your decision and is entirely voluntary. If you wish to apply under the Interview Access Scheme, please complete the Disability Confident Form. Whether you choose to apply under the Interview Access Scheme or not you can still ask us to make particular arrangements for you when attending an interview. You can also contact us if you want to discuss the criteria for the role or have questions regarding your application.

Reasonable expenses incurred by candidates during the recruitment process will be reimbursed.

You will be required to exercise care in the use of official information acquired in the course of your duties, and not to disclose information which is held in confidence.

You are expected not to occupy a paid party-political post or to hold a sensitive or high-profile role in a political party during your appointment as OTS Board member. Subject to this, you are free to engage in political activities provided you are conscious of your general public responsibilities and exercise a proper discretion, particularly with regard to the work of the OTS.

Due Diligence: as part of the recruitment process, due diligence, including social media checks, will be undertaken on short-listed candidates.

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 should be recommended for interview. Ministers will then be consulted on the Panel’s recommended shortlist.

  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 names of all appointable candidates are provided to Ministers. 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.

  6. The Panel’s recommendations will be provided to Ministers 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.

Dates are provisional and may be subject to change.

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 panel members are:  
- Kathryn Cearns, Panel Chair, OTS 
- Jocelyn Goldthorp, Head of Property Tax, Small Business and Tax Simplification at HM Treasury
- Bill Dodwell, Tax Director, OTS 
- Janine Juggins, Executive Vice President, Global Tax and Treasury at Unilever (Independent Panel Member) 

Eligibility criteria

In general, you should have the right to work in the UK to be eligible to apply for a public appointment.

There are a small number of specialist roles that are not open to non-British citizens. Any nationality requirements will be specified in the vacancy details.

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. 

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director  (under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986);

  • have an unspent conviction on your criminal record;

  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors.

When you apply, you should declare if:

  • you are, or have been, bankrupt or you have made an arrangement with a creditor at any point, including the dates of this. 

  • you are subject to a current police investigation.

You must inform the sponsor department if, during the application process, your circumstances change in respect of any of the above points. 

When you apply you should also declare any relevant interests, highlighting any that you think may call into question your ability to properly discharge the responsibilities of the role you are applying for. You should also declare any other matters which may mean you may not be able to meet the requirements of the Code of Conduct of Board Members (see Outside interests and reputational issues section below)
If you need further advice, please contact

Security clearance

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. However, where this applies, candidates will be notified during the appointment process. 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 minimum criteria for the role 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 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. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family or their friends;
  2. INTEGRITY - Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties;
  3. OBJECTIVITY - In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit;
  4. ACCOUNTABILITY - Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office;
  5. OPENNESS - Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands;
  6. HONESTY - Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest;
  7. LEADERSHIP - Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

Code of conduct for board members

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. In support of this, all non-executive board members of UK public bodies must abide by the principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. The Code sets out the standards expected from those who serve on the boards of UK public bodies and will form part of your terms and conditions of appointment.

Management of outside interests and consideration of reputational issues

Holders of public office are expected to adhere and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life and the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. Before you apply you should consider carefully: 
  • any outside interests that you may have, such as shares you may hold in a company providing services to government; 
  • any possible reputational issues arising from your past actions or or public statements that you have made; 
  • and/or - any political roles you hold or political campaigns you have supported; 
which may call into question your ability to do the role you are applying for.
You will need to answer relevant questions in relation to these points when making an application. Many conflicts of interest can be satisfactorily resolved and declaring a potential conflict does not prevent you from being interviewed. If you are shortlisted for an interview, the panel will discuss any potential conflicts with you during that interview, including any proposals you may have to mitigate them and record that in their advice to ministers. Alongside your own declaration, we will conduct appropriate checks, as part of which we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This may include searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. The successful candidate(s) may be required to give up any conflicting interests and their other business and financial interests may be published in line with organisational policies. 
Details of declared political activity will be published when the appointment is announced, as required by the Governance Code (political activity is not a bar to appointment, but must be declared).

Status of appointment

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. 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

Reasonable expenses for attending board meetings will be reimbursed.
Remuneration for this role is treated as employment income and will be subject to tax and National Insurance contributions, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid.
You can claim reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence costs necessarily incurred on official business 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 termination 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 in the first instance if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application This will be acknowledged upon receipt and we will respond within 15 working days.

Data protection

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

Contact details

If you would like to know more about being a board member of the OTS or to have a conversation about how your experience and perspectives could support its work, please email to arrange a conversation with OTS Chair Kathryn Cearns.