Role details

URN 505 The Small Business Commissioner Advisory Board, Members *Campaign now extended*

Application deadline 1 September 2022


Small Business Commissioner
Sponsor department
Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
West Midlands
Business, Finance & Skills
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
£350 per meeting
Length of term
An initial period of 4 years. Re-appointment, with 4 - 5 meetings per year. 
Application deadline
11pm on 1 September 2022

Apply for this role

Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    4 July 2022

  2. Application deadline

    11pm on 1 September 2022

  3. Sifting date

    12 September 2022

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    30 September 2022

These dates are indicative and may be subject to change

Person specification

Essential criteria

  • Strong operational experience, particularly in governance and finance, development of strategy and implementation of policies and procedures, in order to offer advice and support to the SBC.
  • Strong team-working and interpersonal skills to work collaboratively with other board members/SBC staff, and to provide advice and constructive challenge to the SBC. 
  • Experience of working with or running a small business and/or a small arm’s length body.
  • Proven ability to work to tight timescales in considering evidence, offering consistency and logical analysis to reach fair judgments based on sound reasoning.
  • Considerable experience of business improvement, finance and procurement. Or experience of audit and risk assurance with understanding of risk management systems, procedures for assessing, monitoring and managing risk.

Desirable criteria

  • Strategic thinker with transformation experience.
  • Ambassadorial skills.
  • Chairing and Non-executive director experience.

Role description

Introduction from the Chair

Dear Candidate, 
Thank you for your interest in the role of NED at the office of the Small Business Commissioner (SBC). You may already know about the work of the SBC. This candidate pack will tell you more about how you can play a part in making sure our vital small businesses are paid fairly and fast by their bigger customers.
The SBC runs a dispute resolution service for those small firms that have attempted unsuccessfully to resolve a dispute with a bigger customer and need some assistance. The team also administers the Prompt Payment Code, a voluntary code to which firm sign up and commit to paying their suppliers fairly. We have a role to play in attracting more signatories to the Code, in changing the business to business payment culture in the UK, and in helping small firms find the right help and support for the stage their business is at.
If you have experience of small businesses, such that you understand the vast range of needs of small suppliers from different sectors, backgrounds and geographical areas, and their relationships with their bigger customers, and feel you can help the SBC engage more effectively with firms of all sizes we would like to hear from you.
We welcome applications for individuals of all backgrounds including those from under-represented groups. 
Liz Barclay The Small Business Commissioner 

Role description

The role and function of the SBC are vested in the statutory office of the Commissioner. The SBC’s Board has an advisory and governance function only and no decision-making or executive functions. The Board’s primary purpose is to assist the SBC to discharge their responsibilities on a long-term strategic basis, as set out in the Framework Document governing the relationship between the Department and the SBC. 
The SBC has been operating for four years and is about to embark on a period of significant challenge. Not only is the economic outlook different from that of four years ago but it is increasingly difficult for the businesses we serve. The SBC’s Board will benefit from having two new Non-Executive Directors with significant experience in supporting a range of organisations through change, and greater understanding of the needs of the smallest of the UK’s small and micro businesses which have in the past led the way out of recession, and given the right support at the right time, will do so again.

Organisation description

You will need to be committed to using your own wider experience and knowledge to provide independent oversight of, and support to, the Small Business Commissioner in their strategic planning and decision making. You will use your strong operational experience, particularly in governance and finance, to develop strategy and implementation of policies and procedures, whilst offering impartial advice, constructive challenge and strategic support to the SBC. 
You will be adaptable and inclusive with strong team-working ethics and excellent communication skills. You will have sound knowledge of governance and risk management through your experience of working in the small business sector or a small arm’s length body with strategic insight. You will use your experience of managing complexity in finance and procurement when involved with problem solving, audits and other measurement activities. You will also provide advice using your sound judgement and expertise of audit and risk assurance together with your knowledge of risk management systems. 
Please see full candidate pack here. 

Application and selection process

How to apply

Your application is submitted in two parts. 

Both parts must be submitted by 23:00 on 01/09/2022 in order for your application to be considered complete. Applications received after this date will not be considered. 

Part one: CV and Statement of Suitability

One document combining a two-page statement of suitability and two-page CV (no more than four sides of A4 in total). The key to a good application is to give the reader specific information about how you meet the criteria for appointment. Think about your knowledge, skills, experience and personal attributes, and take full advantage of the space available. Provide practical evidence that best demonstrates how you meet the essential criteria

Save the document as ‘Surname, First initial – URN 505 – The Small Business Commissioner’. 

Send to with URN 505 – The Small Business Commissioner in the subject heading.

Part two: Diversity Monitoring and Conflict of Interest Form. 

Complete this form. 

If you have any questions about the appointments process, please contact Emma Gully -

Overview of the application process

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.

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 for this panel will be as follows: 
BEIS Representative and Panel Chair: Paul Drabwell
Representative of Organisation: Liz Barclay
Independent Panel Member: TBC

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 have any questions about the appointments process, please contact Emma Gully -

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

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 due to the volume of applications received, we are only able to offer 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 Public Appointments 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 BEIS Complaints Procedure here.

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.
BEIS Privacy Policy can be seen here. 

Contact details

Please contact Emma Gully at if you request any additional details or assistance.