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Role details

Animal and Plant Health Agency Non-Executive Board Member and Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC)

Application deadline 14 December 2022


Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)
Sponsor department
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
South East
Environment, Agriculture & Fishing
Accountancy, Business, Communication, Human Resources, Legal, Major Projects, Procurement, Regulation, Transformation
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
20 day(s) per annum
£500 per day
Length of term
3 years
Application deadline
Midday on 14 December 2022

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    4 November 2022

  2. Application deadline

    Midday on 14 December 2022

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


About the Animal and Plant Health Agency

Three years ago, many people would not have heard of zoonotic disease (where animal disease jumps species to humans) - the global pandemic of Covid-19 has changed that awareness. The Animal and Plant Health Agency, which is an Executive Agency of Defra, playing a central role in the escalating battle against animal and plant diseases - our experts (scientists, vets and frontline staff) deal every day with these challenges, and in regulating and promoting animal, plant and bee health and welfare. Last winter, the Agency oversaw the national response to the worst outbreak of avian influenza the UK has ever experienced, and this Winter 2022/23 is looking to be no different. Strategy and policy on how we carry out our work is set for us by Defra and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales; we also have some commercial customers.

The Agency is growing fast - our role in international trade continues to be enhanced as a result of the UK leaving the EU. Policy in this area is extremely complex and requires expert advice and understanding. We currently have just under 3000 employees spread across more than 60 sites in Great Britain. We have secured significant new investment in our main scientific campus at Weybridge in Surrey, which will equip our scientists with the facilities they need to place the UK at the forefront of global scientific endeavour in this arena. We are proud of the national and international reputation which APHA has for the quality of our science and our services to our customers.

Role description

We are seeking a Non-Executive Director to join the Management Board and act as Chair for our Audit and Risk Assurance Committee.

Like many public sector boards, it is an advisory body to the APHA Accounting Officer and has no executive powers or responsibilities - its role is to challenge and support executives in delivering strategy, policy and customer objectives, and achieving value for money. Critical to the effectiveness of the Board, is its ability to influence its stakeholders and to bring its collective wisdom to help to constantly improve the work and reputation of the Agency.

The Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) is a committee of the agency Management Board. It is also an advisory body to the APHA Accounting Officer and has no executive powers or responsibilities.

The ARAC is established to support and advise on issues of risk, control, governance and assurance and other related matters, and to assist audits and status within the agency.  The ARAC comprises of three Non-Executive members.  In addition, the APHA Chief Executive, one APHA Director, a representative of Defra's Finance and Performance Directorate, a representative from Defra's Internal Audit and an external auditor will attend.

APHA will provide the ARAC Chair with a secretariat function.

All our non-executives contribute to the Board’s work and the achievement of its objectives through Board and committee meetings, and other tasks assigned by the Chair. As a non-executive Board member, you will:

  • provide advice about strategy and policy, and the delivery of customer objectives; 
  •  ensure issues are explored from a range of viewpoints, promoting inclusion and engaging with stakeholders when necessary;
  • review and provide advice about performance, respecting the principles of good governance, supporting and holding the executive to account without becoming involved in the running of the business; 
  •  make well informed contributions to debate and discussion at Board meetings to aid collective decision-making; 
  • provide effective oversight of financial and risk management and governance; 
  • maintain high personal standards in relation to personal behaviour and uphold the Nolan principles of public life.

As Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee, you will:

  • chair all ARAC meetings and maintain a high level of discussion and debate, helping steer the Agency by collective working;
  • ensure an annual ARAC effectiveness review is performed. Compliance with the Corporate Governance Code, Code of Conduct for ARAC Members and rules relating to the use of public funds and conflicts of interest; 
  • contribute to the delivery of the Annual Report and Accounts and Business Plans; 
  • represent the agency at the Defra Audit and Risk Assurance Committee; 
  • communicate regularly with the other NEDs and senior officials.

Person specification

Essential criteria

·            A formal Accounting Qualification ideally combined with Audit and Risk Assurance Committee experience;

·           A passion and enthusiasm for our work;

·           An enquiring mind;

·           An enthusiastic and engaging communication style with good interpersonal skills;

·           A track record of personally influencing the development of strategy and organisational performance;

·           A demonstrable commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion;

Experience in getting things done in challenging circumstances and complex governance structures.

Desirable criteria

We are looking for a candidate who will bring diversity of thought and a fresh perspective to the work of the ARAC, and who can demonstrate a passion for our work. You do not need to be an expert in animal and plant health, but someone who has already made a real difference as a non-executive or executive or who can demonstrate how they could do so, in their own field.

Application and selection process

How to apply

If you wish to apply for this post, please submit the following:

1)    A copy of your CV (no more than two sides of A4), with education, professional qualifications, employment history and details of 2 referees;

2)    A statement of suitability (of up to 1,000 words or no more than two sides of A4), outlining how you meet the essential criteria for this post and providing specific examples;

3)    Monitoring Form 1 (Political Activity and Conflict of Interest Questionnaire);

4)    Monitoring Form 2 (Diversity Questionnaire).

Your CV, statement and monitoring forms should be returned to  by the closing date: 12.00 (midday) on 14 December quoting reference APHA-NED-0123.

For further information please email: quoting reference APHA-NED-0123.

Please let us know if you need a change to be made so that you can make your application or require additional assistance to support you in your application.

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 have best met the criteria, who should be recommended for interview. Ministers will then be consulted on the Panel’s recommended shortlist. If you have applied under the Disability Confident Scheme and you meet all the essential criteria, then you will also be invited for an interview.

  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 Panel may invite you to make a brief presentation at the start of the interview and will go on to question you about your skills and experience, including asking specific questions to assess whether you meet the criteria set out for the post. The Panel will also explore with you any potential conflicts of interest or any other issues arising from your personal and professional history which may impact on an appointment decision.

  6. Details of the panel’s assessment of interviewed candidates are provided to Ministers, including whether they have judged a candidate to be appointable to the role. 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.

  7. Ministers may choose to meet with candidates before deciding the outcome. Candidates should therefore be prepared for a short time gap between interview and a final appointment decision being made. Candidates who have been interviewed will be kept informed of progress.

  8. Once the decision on the appointment has been made, interviewed candidates will be advised of the outcome of their application, including whom they may approach for feedback. Successful candidates will be issued with their Terms & Conditions and a letter of appointment should they agree to take up the position.

Further information about appointments, including tips on applying, can be found on our guidance pages on

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

Chris Nicholson - APHA Lead Non -Executive Director and Board Chair - Chair 

David Holdsworth - APHA Chief Executive – Representative of Organisation

Catherine Dugmore - Non-Exec and ARAC Chair at Natural England- Independent Panel Member

Gurch Randhawa - Forestry England Non-Exec - Other 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 email quoting reference APHA-NED-0123.

Security clearance

You will be required to have SC security clearance for this role, and this will need to be completed on appointment if you do not already have this in place.  APHA will take this forward on your behalf if require.  You can find out more about National Security Vetting at 

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity


We recognise that existing Board appointees are not fully reflective of diversity in society.  We want the APHA Board (and its committees) to better reflect all those that we work with.  That is why APHA is committed to promoting diversity, in its broadest possible sense. This will include embedding a commitment to the principles of levelling up and championing opportunity for all across the organisation, helping to ensure that the organisation is one in which a genuinely diverse range of views can be expressed, without fear or favour. We ask all applicants to complete a diversity monitoring form. We hope you will help us by providing this information. Your data is not disclosed to the panel but allows us to constantly evaluate any potential barriers to becoming a public appointee and what we can do to encourage a more diverse field to apply.

If you are interested in this role, but unsure if you have the necessary experience, please read this blog by the Public Appointments Commissioner:

Disability confident

We guarantee to interview anyone with a disability whose application meets the minimum criteria for the role. By ‘minimum criteria’ we mean that you must provide evidence in your application which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria, as well as meeting any of the qualification, skills or experience defined as essential. The Cabinet Office and Defra is committed to the employment and career development of disabled people. If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes where possible. If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, please refer to the ‘How to apply’ section below.

If you wish to apply under this scheme, please state this in the covering email or letter when submitting your application.

Reasonable adjustments

If you would like a confidential discussion regarding any reasonable adjustments during the process, please also indicate this in the covering email or letter.

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 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 Ministers.  Any re-appointment is subject to satisfactory annual appraisals of performance during the first term in the post. There is no automatic presumption of reappointment; each case should be considered on its own merits, taking into account a number of factors including, but not restricted to, the diversity of the current board and its balance of skills and experience. In most cases, 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. 

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.
Please email quoting reference APHA-NED-0123 in the first instance if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application.  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.

Contact details

The recruitment process

The closing date for applications is 30 November 2022. We expect to have shortlisted by in December, with interviews during late December/January.

It is essential that your statement of suitability gives full but concise information relevant to the appointment, clearly demonstrating how you meet the criteria for the post.

Applications will be considered by the Lead Non-Executive Director of APHA, the APHA Chief Executive and two independent members.

Interviews are expected to take place in person at the APHA Headquarters in Weybridge and will last approximately one hour. Further details about the format will be provided to you in advance.

Conflicts of interest and due diligence

If you have any interests that might be relevant to the work of the APHA and which could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest if you were to be appointed, please provide details in your application.

Given the nature of public appointments, it is important that those appointed as Members of public bodies maintain the confidence of Parliament and the public. If there are any issues in your personal or professional history that could, if you were appointed, be misconstrued, cause embarrassment, or cause public confidence in the appointment to be jeopardised, it is important that you bring them to the attention of the Advisory Assessment Panel and provide details of the issue(s) in your application. In considering whether you wish to declare any issues, you should also reflect on any public statements you have made, including through social media.

As part of our due diligence checks we may 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 Advisory Assessment Panel and they may wish to 
explore issues with you should you be invited to interview. The information may also be shared with ministers and Cabinet Office.

Ineligibility criteria

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

• you become bankrupt or make an arrangement with creditors;

• 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;

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

• you have been convicted of a criminal offence; the conviction not being spent for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (c. 53);

• you become subject to a debt relief order or a bankruptcy restrictions order;

• you fail to declare any conflict of interest.

For further information please email: quoting reference APHA-NED-0123.

Please let us know if you need a change to be made so that you can make your application or require additional assistance to support you in your application.