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Role details

Non-Executive Directors - Defence Equipment & Support

Application deadline 16 October 2022


Defence Equipment & Support
Sponsor department
Ministry of Defence
Business, Commercial, Technology / Digital, Regulation
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
24 day(s) per annum
£28000 per annum
Length of term
3 Year Term (Possibility of Re-appointment)
Application deadline
11:59pm on 16 October 2022

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    19 August 2022

  2. Application deadline

    11:59pm on 16 October 2022

  3. Sifting date

    22 November 2022

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


With two NEDs due to reach the end of their appointment terms this year, the Chair wishes to ensure Board continuity and manage the effect of NEDs departing within a similar time frame. DE&S are seeking to recruit two NEDs in the near term; one with particular experience of Systems and Digital and an Audit and Risk Committee (ARAC) Chair. NEDs will be hired on an initial three year term based on a time commitment of 24 days per year

Introduction from the Chair

Thank you for your interest in the role of a Non-Executive Director on the Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) Board.
DE&S is a vital arm’s length body of the Ministry of Defence, with responsibility for equipment procurement and support across all the UK’s armed forces. The outputs of the organisation enable the UK’s armed forces to succeed in their efforts on behalf of the nation and are key in the delivery of the overall defence mission.
Our Board plays a key role in the governance of DE&S, providing strategic advice and direction to the organisation and its executive team. The Board and its sub-committees also provide assurance on behalf of the Ministry of Defence that the organisation is well run and meets the requirements of Government, particularly the stewardship of public funds. The DE&S Board is made up of talented individuals from a variety of backgrounds who all have in common a keen interest in improving the organisation across all levels and areas.
Our organisation has a key role to play in delivering the Government’s response to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Increasingly, we need to harness cutting-edge technology and ensure that it works as it should every time; lives depend on this. The pace of technological change is accelerating and the forthcoming activities in our Digital Strategy will upskill our people and introduce new digital techniques to the organisation. As the war in Ukraine has highlighted, our relationships with our clients, industry and international partners are fundamental to the success of UK defence.
DE&S employs some 11,000 people, many of which are based at our headquarters in Bristol. We also have sites throughout the UK and others around the world. The organisational and individual efforts to professionalise our workforce are paying dividends for the successful delivery of our projects.
If you are excited about the opportunity to be part of a critical Government body and at the forefront of the UK’s defence equipment programme, I encourage you to apply for one of these roles.
Mark Russell
Chair, Defence Equipment & Support

Role description

Systems and Digital NED 
The Board is collectively responsible for the oversight of the operation of DE&S, with emphasis on its strategic direction, management control, and corporate governance. All NEDs are expected to contribute substantially to decisions covering the strategy for the organisation and the overall direction of the business, adding value by offering wise counsel, advice and challenge.
General information about the role of NEDs in Government is provided in the Corporate
governance in central government departments: code of good practice and guidance.
Broadly, NEDs are expected to contribute to the work of Departments in the following areas:
  • Independence: provide independent support, guidance and challenge on the progress and implementation of the business plan.
  • Strategy: constructively challenge and contribute to the development of strategy and business planning, including the setting and development of key objectives and targets.
  • Performance: scrutinise the performance of the organisation in meeting agreed goals and objectives, and monitor the reporting of performance, including financial targets.
  • People: develop and encourage appropriate behaviours to maintain or improve the departmental people strategy, including ethical and directional issues such as diversity and senior jobholder moves.
  • Governance: satisfy that governance, internal control and risk management systems are effective and capable of delivering relevant, accurate and timely management and financial information to the Board.
  • Support: the Board in developing skills and tools to help it engage with strategic issues in ways which have practical resonance.
  • Connect: the Board to people and organisations who can provide different perspectives, opinions and expertise which will assist in furthering the business of the Department.
  • Specialist Responsibility: underpin, support and specialise in the area of accelerated digital solutions, supplementing skills and experience already in place within the DE&S executive and Board.
The ARAC Chair will Act as the independent non-executive chair for the audit & risk
assurance committee (‘ARAC’) and report key findings and recommendations to the board,
which will include:
  1. Providing assistance and guidance to the Finance Director in forming key judgements required in preparation of the annual accounts.
  2. Oversee the process for approval of the annual audited accounts by direct engagement with the audit partner.
  3. Report key audit findings and recommendations made by DE&S’ auditors (the National Audit Office) to the board following engagement with the audit team. 
  4. Oversee systems of internal financial control and make recommendations for improvement as appropriate.
  5. Provide approval of financial transactions required by the ARAC terms of reference.
  6. Develop a positive and constructive working relationship with the executive team and provide coaching to the Finance Director as appropriate. 

Organisation description

The Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation is an arm’s-length body sponsored by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), with responsibility for equipping and supporting the UK’s armed forces. It manages a vast range of complex projects to buy the equipment and support services that the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force need to operate effectively. It procures around £14bn of equipment and support per annum and has an operating budget of £1 billion.
DE&S delivers some of the most complex projects and programmes in the world. This often involves the use of innovative technologies, sophisticated supply chains and a mix of market sourcing strategies and outputs. It works closely with industry, in the UK and overseas, including through partnering agreements and private finance initiatives.
DE&S employs around 11,000 people - both civilian and military - who are employed across 11 professional functions including project management, project controls, engineering, finance, logistics and contracting. The organisation has locations around the UK and abroad, with its main headquarters in Bristol.
  • On behalf of its customers, DE&S is responsible for:
  • The procurement and continuing support of ships, aircraft, vehicles, weapons and supporting services.
  • Delivering other general requirements including food, clothing, medical supplies and temporary accommodation.
  • Decommissioning and disposal when equipment reaches the end of its service life.

Board composition

The DE&S Board is currently comprised as follows:
  • Independent, Non-Executive, Chair
  • Six independent Non-Executive Directors
  • An MOD Non-Executive Director
  • DE&S Chief Executive Officer
  • DE&S Chief Financial Officer
  • Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Military Capability)
Other senior Executives may be invited to attend the Board for specific agenda items as required where they are not members of the Board.

Person specification

Essential criteria

Systems and Digital NED
Candidates must be able to demonstrate experience in one or more of the following fields:
  • Pull through of cutting-edge digital technologies including deployment of cloud technologies in manufacturing or similar sectors
  • Integrating complex systems during an asset’s lifecycle
  • Applying and using data science and AI to accelerate decision making and facilitate effective Information and Knowledge Management
  • Adopting digital lifecycles to accelerate delivery timescales, support test and evaluation and reduce project and support costs
  • Establishing communities of interest in niche technology areas to allow clients access to DE&S’ skills and expertise.
Candidates will possess the following behaviours:
  • Strategic, independent thinker able to look across a broad range of activity to spot common themes;
  • Taking a collegiate approach with fellow board members to lead meaningful change in the organisation;
  • Able to balance support and challenge to the DE&S executives;
  • Open and approachable to all staff irrespective of grade.

Desirable criteria

Systems and Digital NED
It is desirable that the successful candidates bring:
  • Knowledge and expertise of operating in high-technology industries (not necessarily defence)
  •  An enthusiasm for challenges of Government and the Defence sector;
  •  An understanding of the public sector;
  • Wider experience of other sectors to foster diversity of thought.
It is desirable that the successful candidates bring:
  •  Knowledge and expertise of operating in high-technology industries (not necessarily defence);
  • Knowledge of strategic supply chain management and operational logistics;
  • A background in /understanding of digital and technology;
  • An understanding and appreciation of the role of DE&S in supporting Defence procurement;
  • An enthusiasm for challenges of Government and the Defence sector;
  • An understanding of the public sector;
  • Wider experience of other sectors to foster diversity of thought.

Application and selection process

How to apply

All applicants are required to provide a CV and supporting statement (of no more than 2 pages) which can be submitted at the following link:

The candidate pack for this role can be accessed here.

Your statement should explain how you consider your personal skills, qualities and experience provide evidence to your suitability for the role, with reference to the essential criteria laid out in the person specification above.

Applications must be submitted by 23:59 on Friday 30th September.

If you would like to discuss the role in more detail before submitting an application please contact James Payne ( or Michael Dobson (

As part of the application process, you are asked to complete a Diversity Monitoring questionnaire included in this pack. If you do not wish to provide a declaration on any of the characteristics, you have the option to select 'prefer not to say' but completion of the form is an essential part of the process and your application will not be considered complete without it. The information you provide when submitting your application will help us monitor our progress towards the Civil Service becoming the most inclusive employer by 2020. See the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for more information

Overview of the application process

All applications will be reviewed by the selection panel who will consider the evidence provided by candidates against the key skills outlined in the person specification. The strongest candidates will be selected for interview with Gatenby Sanderson who will report back to the panel. The panel will review this report as well as candidate CVs and cover letters to decide the final shortlist. Candidates selected at shortlist will be invited to interviews in London.

Please note if you are shortlisted for interview we will conduct due diligence. As part of these checks we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This will include us undertaking searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. This information may be made available to the Panel and they may wish to explore issues with you, should you be invited to interview. References may also be taken up at shortlist stage.

The assessment process may also involve other forms of assessment to support the panel’s decision making. If candidates are required to prepare a presentation for their interview, they will normally be given at least one week’s notice of the subject. Full details of the selection and assessment process will be made available to shortlisted candidates once the shortlist stage has been completed.

Due to the volume of the applications we receive we cannot guarantee feedback in relation to the longlist or shortlist results.

DE&S reserves the right to make any offer of appointment conditional upon references and satisfactory conclusion of security enquiries.

By applying for this role, DE&S will also consider your application for other similar and suitable roles within the organisation for a 12-month period from the closing date of the original campaign.

Public Appointment

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

Panel - Mark Russell (DE&S Chair), Angela Williams (DE&S NED) and Martin Chown (Chief Executive at Sellafield), Henry Lloyd (DE&S Non-Executive Director and UKGI Director).

Eligibility criteria

This is a reserved post and as such must be a UK National to be eligible to apply.

Security clearance

If successful, you will have to undergo security vetting as a condition of employment. This post requires Security Check clearance with the option of undergoing Development Vetting (DV). We will carry out criminal records and credit reference checks and a check against security service records.
Please note that individuals should normally have been resident in the UK for 5 years preceding their application for DV clearance. For further information please follow this link

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

MOD is committed to be an equal opportunities employer. We value and welcome diversity. The appointment will be governed by the Principles of Public Appointments based on merit with independent assessment and transparency of process. Candidates may come from a
wide range of backgrounds and experience although the successful candidate will need to demonstrate that they meet the criteria for this appointment. Applicants are required to complete a Diversity Monitoring questionnaire and submit it with their application.

Disability confident

MOD actively encourages applications from disabled people. As part of this, MOD along with several departments have committed to the Disability Confident Scheme (DCS). One of our commitments is to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the role(s). This gives them the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities at the interview stage. To be eligible for DCS the candidate must have a disability, as defined by the Equalities Act 2010. Further definition can be found on the Cabinet Office website. Please complete the Disability Confident scheme declaration on the Expression of Interest.

Reasonable adjustments

We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to make sure applicants with disabilities, physical or mental health conditions, or other needs are not substantially disadvantaged when applying for public appointments. This can include changing the recruitment process to enable people who wish to apply to do so.
Some examples of common changes are:
  • ensuring that application forms are available in different or accessible formats;
  • making adaptations to interview locations;
  • allowing candidates to present their skills and experience in a different way;
  • giving additional detailed information on the selection / interview process in advance to allow candidates time to prepare themselves;
  • allowing support workers, for example sign language interpreters;
  • making provision for support animals to attend.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to the application process.

Principles of public life

These appointments are not regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments but nonetheless UKGI will run the campaign in line with the Governance Code for Public Appointments and the principles contained within it.
The six principles of Public Appointments are:
A. Ministerial responsibility - The ultimate responsibility for appointments and thus the selection of those appointed rests with Ministers who are accountable to Parliament for their decisions and actions.
B. Selflessness - Ministers when making appointments should act solely in terms of the public interest.
C. Integrity - Ministers when making appointments 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.
D. Merit - All public appointments should be governed by the principle of appointment on merit. This means providing Ministers with a choice of high quality candidates, drawn from a strong, diverse field, whose skills, experiences and qualities have been judged to meet the needs of the public body or statutory office in question.
E. Openness - Processes for making public appointments should be open and transparent.
F. Diversity - Public appointments should reflect the diversity of the society in which we live and appointments should be made taking account of the need to appoint boards which

Code of conduct for board members

Selected candidates will be required to comply with the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies including in relation to political activities and the management of conflicts of interest as detailed below.

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

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

Initial three-year term. There may be a possibility of re-appointment subject to a satisfactory annual appraisal of performance and at Ministerial Discretion

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.

Data protection

We take our responsibilities under the Data Protection Act seriously. Any data about you will be held in secure conditions with access restricted to those who need it in connection with dealing with your application and the selection process. Data may also be used for the purposes of monitoring the effectiveness of the recruitment process but in these circumstances all data will be kept anonymous. The Diversity Monitoring form is used for monitoring the selection process only. If you are unsuccessful, personal data relating to your application will be destroyed after 24 months. If you are successful, data will be held by DE&S HR and UKGI. Please read UKGI’s data privacy notice, which can be found online, before applying.

Contact details

If you would like to discuss the role in more detail before submitting an application please contact James Payne ( or Michael Dobson (