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Role details

Active Travel England - Non-Executive Directors

Application deadline 15 August 2022


Active Travel England
Sponsor department
Department for Transport
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
20 day(s) per annum
£400 per day
Length of term
In order to stagger reappointments, the first intake of Active Travel England Non-Executive Directors will be recruited for differing lengths of tenure: two, three or four years.
Application deadline
11:59pm on 15 August 2022

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    18 July 2022

  2. Application deadline

    11:59pm on 15 August 2022

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role

Introduction from the Secretary of State

Dear Applicant,

Thank you for your interest in the Non-Executive Director positions on the Board of Active Travel England (ATE).

ATE will deliver on the Government’s vision for half of all journeys in towns and cities in England to be walked or cycled by 2030. This is a vital part of the Department’s work to improve transport for the user and reduce environmental impacts, maximising on opportunities for a sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 period. 


The over-arching objectives of ATE are to: 

·       raise design standards and hold local authorities to account for the infrastructure they design, build and maintain. 

·       be a repository of expert advice on how cycling and walking provision can be improved, including through the planning system. 

·       increase skills and capacity in local authorities, promoting best practice and enabling authorities to learn from each other.  


ATE will inspect, and publish annual reports on highway authorities, grading them on their performance on active travel and identifying particularly dangerous failings in their highways for cyclists and pedestrians. These standards are set out in Local Transport Note (LTN) 1/20. 


You can find out more about the Government’s strategy for active travel, Gear Change, here: 

We are looking for talented Non-Executive Directors to steer ATE towards achieving this vision for active travel. The successful candidates will have a real commitment to achieving a step change in active travel and be able to demonstrate a track record of success in their given field in addition to experience of operating at Board level.

As part of the Department’s commitment to diversity, we believe our staff should reflect our customers - the travelling public. That means we want to attract candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds. We welcome applications from people irrespective of their disability, ethnicity, or gender, who can bring wide experience and dynamic ideas to our boards. We are open to fresh talent, expertise, and perspectives, to help us better understand the needs of the communities we serve. 

If you are interested in the role and work of Active Travel England, I would like to encourage you to apply. Our dedicated DfT Public Appointments Team would be happy to talk through the process and answer your questions.

Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP

Secretary of State for Transport

Role description

The Active Travel England Board is responsible for: 
Establishing and taking forward the strategic aims and objectives of ATE consistent with its overall strategic direction and within the policy and resources framework determined by the Secretary of State.  
Advising, supporting and challenging ATE’s executive leadership team.
Providing effective leadership of ATE within a framework of prudent and effective controls to ensure risk is appropriately assessed and managed. 
Ensuring the financial and human resources are in place for ATE to meet its objectives. 
Reviewing regular financial and management information concerning the management of ATE.  
Ensuring the board is aware of any wider issues which are likely to impact on the strategic direction of ATE or on the attainability of its targets.   
Ensuring that any statutory or administrative requirements for the use of public funds are complied with; that the board operates within the limits of its statutory authority and any delegated authority agreed with the sponsor department, and in accordance with any other conditions relating to the use of public funds. 
Ensuring that as part of the above compliance they are familiar with:  
o the framework document
o any delegation letter issued to the body  
o any elements of any settlement letter issued to the sponsor department that is relevant to the operation of ATE. 
Ensuring that the Chief Executive and ATE as a whole acts in accordance with their obligations under the above documents.  
Setting performance objectives for the Chief Executive and remuneration terms linked to these objectives which give due weight to the proper management and use and utilisation of public resources.  reviewing the performance of senior management. 
Ensuring mechanisms are in place for independent appraisal and annual evaluation of the performance of the Chair by the independent non-executives. The outcome of that evaluation should be made available to the Responsible Minister.  
Determining all such other things which the Board considers ancillary or conducive to the attainment or fulfilment by ATE of its Objectives.  
Demonstrating high standards of corporate governance at all times, including by using the independent audit committee to help the Board to address key financial and other risks. 
ATE will be a national organisation with its headquarters in York but with staff located across England. Travel to York, London and/or other offices will be required.

Organisation description

Active Travel England will help deliver the Government’s ambitious vision for half of all journeys in England’s towns and cities to be walked or cycled by 2030. The plan commits to ensure cycling and walking provision is at the heart of local plan making and decision taking. There has never been a more exciting or important time to be working in active travel. Active Travel England (ATE) has been created to lead this high-profile agenda. 
ATE is a new executive agency of the Department for Transport. It will be overseen by a non-executive board chaired by the National Active Travel Commissioner. 
The key functions for ATE are to: 
lead delivery of the government’s strategy to significantly increase Active Travel. 
administer the cycling and walking budget.  
review major planning applications as a statutory consultee in the planning system. 
approve scheme designs – ATE will not fund or part fund any scheme that does not meet the high standards set out in the new cycling design guidance. 
inspect completed schemes to ensure standards have been met and where necessary seek to claw back Active Travel funding received. 
inspect highways authorities – ATE’s assessment of a local authority’s performance on cycling and walking will be taken into account when considering funding allocations for local highways investment.  
promote best practice, advise local authorities, train staff and contractors and enable local authorities to learn from each other. 

Person specification

Essential criteria

All members: 
A proven ability to constructively challenge senior officials and scrutinise their work.
Good communication skills.
A track record of success in their given field, ideally including: local government, active travel, active travel project delivery, planning, transport, communications or road safety as it pertains to vulnerable road users.  
Experience of operating at Board level and understanding of the principles of effective governance. 
Experience of leading transformational or system change.  
Experience of operating at national or regional level. 
Strong personal commitment to the vision and mission set out in Gear Change and to ATE’s values. 
A strong commitment to (and ideally experience of) engaging local communities.
If there are a large number of applicants for this role, we will sift applications against the criteria above regarding track record of success and experience of operating at Board level. 
Risk and Audit Committee Chair 
The Board will require one specialist NED with the skills and experience required to chair an Audit, Risk and Governance Sub-Committee 
Candidates for this role will be expected to demonstrate: 
Experience of working with or Chairing Audit Committees and an understanding of their role and value to an organisation, preferably within the context of transport capital project delivery. 
An excellent understanding of audit and risk issues in complex organisations. 
The ability to chair meetings involving multiple stakeholders. 
Ability to listen, understand and distil salient issues for reporting back to the Board and to build trust and rapport with the Executive Officers and auditors. 
Appreciation of risks and the control environment required in organisations handling public money. 
This NED should have recent and relevant experience of corporate financial matters, including a qualification from a professional accounting body. 
The remaining four NEDs will be generalists, with expertise required in two or more of the following: 
Commercial operations and investment, particularly in areas relevant to increasing active travel, such as grant giving or social Investment.
Implementing whole system change in active travel, wider transport, or a comparable environment. 
Successfully tackling inequalities and increasing diversity in the public sector or a comparable environment. 
Using communications and advocacy to change individual and organisational behaviours. 
The local authority landscape in England and knowledge and experience of local delivery. 
Understanding of local and/or national government systems and processes 
Diversity and inclusion with recent and relevant experience in engaging people from underrepresented groups 
Capital Projects Delivery, ideally with active travel and multi-modal engineering or construction projects delivered through Local Authorities and/or spatial planning experience for infrastructure development  

Desirable criteria

Knowledge of the major obstacles to increasing active travel in England. 
Knowledge on how to increase rates of active travel in England.

Application and selection process

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to provide:

  1. A  Curriculum Vitae which provides details of your education and qualifications, employment history, directorships, membership of professional bodies and details of any publications or awards;

  2. A supporting statement setting out how you meet the eligibility criteria;

  3. Information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues;

  4. Diversity monitoring information. This allows us to see if there are any unfair barriers to becoming a public appointee and whether there are any changes that we could make to encourage a more diverse field to apply. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be used as part of the selection process and will not be seen by the interview panel.

  5. Disability Confident – If you want to be considered for the disability confident scheme, please state this when submitting your application.

  6. Reasonable adjustments - If you wish to submit items 1 and 2 above in an alternative format, or for any other queries about the application process, please contact the DfT Public Appointments Team at

Completed applications should be submitted to

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.

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

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.

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.

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 the disabled candidates who best meet the essential criteria for the role and who have 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.
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

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy.
Please contact the Department for Transport public appointments team in the first instance if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application at They will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and respond within 15 working days.

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is the joint controller, with the Cabinet Office, for any personal data which you provide to us in this application.
Information provided as part of this application will be kept securely within DfT and destroyed within 5 years of the conclusion of the recruitment campaign.  
DfT uses this form to gather evidence on DfT’s public appointments. 
The lawful basis that applies to this processing is that it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest to inform DfT’s recruitment policies in accordance with the Department’s public sector equality duties. For processing special category personal data (disability, religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity), we rely on Article 9(2)(g), reasons of substantial public interest (equality of opportunity and treatment).