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Role details

National Portrait Gallery Trustee

Application deadline 2 February 2023


National Portrait Gallery
Sponsor department
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Culture, Media & Sport
Communication, Technology / Digital
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
10 day(s) per annum
Length of term
4 years
Application deadline
11:59pm on 2 February 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    5 January 2023

  2. Application deadline

    11:59pm on 2 February 2023

  3. Sifting date

    22 February 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    27 March 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role

Introduction from the Secretary of State

It is my privilege as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to invite you to apply to this role.
DCMS public bodies play a vital role in promoting growth across the digital, culture, sport, and media sectors. We protect and promote our cultural and artistic heritage and help businesses and communities to grow by investing in innovation and highlighting Britain as a fantastic place to visit. To ensure the success of these organisations, we need talented people to apply to public appointments. Our boards can only thrive when benefitting from the best people, from the broadest range of backgrounds, and with the widest range of perspectives.
But why should you apply? Many of our board members are driven by the desire to give something back to your country and your community. When you’re on a board, you can use your voice to help to ensure that our organisations are delivering the right things for everyone throughout the UK. But we also believe that these roles provide an unparalleled opportunity to develop your skills, build networks, and raise your profile - at whatever stage in your life and career.
Whoever you are, wherever you have come from - you can be sure to thrive in a DCMS board role. So If you are reading this and thinking of applying to this role, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so, and I wish you the very best of luck.

Organisation description

National Portrait Gallery - Background
Established in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery is to maintain a collection of portraits of the most eminent persons in British history, of other works of art relevant to portraiture and of documents relating to those portraits and other works of art.
The National Portrait Gallery is unique in being both for and about people. From Katherine Parr to Martin Parr, we serve as the nation’s family album, inviting everyone to meet the people who have made – and are making – Britain what it is today. The Gallery highlights the cultural and historical links that we all share and that bind us together, something that is more important now than ever. It plays a clear and urgent role in helping to foster empathy, social cohesion and inclusion, which were among its founding principles and remain just as true and relevant today.
The Gallery is home to the largest and most prestigious collection of portraits in the world. Its Collection (comprising the Primary Collection, the Reference Collections and the Photographs Collection) includes people from all four corners of this country, who have shaped our society over the past 500 years, and show the potential in everyone to make a difference. The Primary Collection contains some 12,700 portraits. In addition, there are some 8,540 works on paper, more than 335,000 images in the Gallery’s Reference Collections and 250,000 original photographic images in the Gallery’s Photographs Collection dating from the 1840s to the present day, of which at least 130,000 are original negatives.
The Gallery’s website attracted a record-breaking 3.7 million visits in 2021/22 and its social media channels now reach over 1.69 million followers. Recent achievements include the opening of international exhibitions in the Netherlands, Australia, Korea and the U.S (Icons and Identities and Tudors to Windsors), and two significant exhibition collaborations which brought major parts of the Collection to audiences across the UK: Bloomsbury: Life, Love, Legacy, curated by York Art Gallery with Sheffield Museums in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery and shown in Sheffield and York, and Tudors: Passion, Power, Politics, curated by the Holburne Museum, National Museums Liverpool and the National Portrait Gallery and shown in Bath. The COMING HOME project continued to take portraits ‘home’ to venues where the sitter has a strong resonance. The portraits of Andy Murray and L.S. Lowry ‘came home’ to Wimbledon and the Lowry Centre, Salford respectively in 2021. March 2022 saw the first of three commissioned ‘fortieth birthday portraits’ of HRH The Duchess of Cambridge by Paolo Roversi on tour to St James the Less church in Pangbourne.
The Gallery currently employs around 150 staff and total income in 2021/22 was £35.3 million. As with other national museums, while it receives government support as an Arm’s Length Body of DCMS, the Gallery increasingly relies on its ability to supplement this grant from other sources and self-generated income, which amounted to 56% of annual income in 2021/22. While the building at St Martin’s Place remains closed and as the Gallery seeks to complete its major capital campaign, the ability to generate income from a variety of other sources remains of increasing importance.
Inspiring People
Significant successes over the past few years, including critically acclaimed exhibitions and key acquisitions and commissions, have raised the Gallery’s aspirations and confidence. To continue with such successes, while coping with limited resources, requires a determined sense of direction, clear planning and continued efficiency across the institution as a whole.
Through public research and consultation, a number of limitations to future growth and engagement have been identified, which has led to the Gallery embarking on a £35.5m capital project, Inspiring People, the most transformative since its home at St Martin’s Place opened in 1896. Inspiring People will deliver overarching and transformative improvements, including a complete refurbishment of the galleries; a new entrance and forecourt; a much needed new Learning Centre; and restoration of the original East Wing. The project will transform the building, making it more welcoming and appealing to the widest and most diverse audiences possible, as well as restoring historic features of our beautiful Grade 1 listed home. At its heart is an ambitious, more engaging and much-needed comprehensive re-display of the Gallery’s collections, from top to bottom, Tudors to now.
The renewed National Portrait Gallery will be a truly national gallery for everyone, reflecting the Britain of today and an essential place for those looking to understand the culture that they chose, were born into, or seek to understand.
In order to complete the project efficiently and to safeguard visitors, members of staff and the Collection, the Gallery in St Martin’s Place is temporarily closed to the public until summer 2023, while essential building works take place. Through a series of partnerships and collaborations during the period of redevelopment, the Gallery will continue to share its unique Collection of portraits with the nation across the UK and internationally. 
Partnerships with schools include Faces and Places, a schools outreach programme in London exploring representation and identity and Visible/Invisible brought together the National Portrait Gallery, The Line and London College of Fashion in a substantive collaboration to explore themes of identity and representation in the digital and public realms. The hospital outreach programme, Champions of the World, funded by Delancey, is now in its third year of the four-year project focussing on the life stories of entertainers and sporting legends, activities encouraged drawing, design and play.
An ambitious programme of UK-wide activities has also bring the Gallery closer to communities around the country. Citizen UK, a partnership with community groups in Croydon, Ealing, Tower Hamlets and Wolverhampton explores lived migratory experiences through the lens of portraiture and People Powered, a series of exhibitions created with partners in Brent, Ilford, Hillingdon, Hertfordshire and Teesside, explores manufacturing and industrial heritage through the Collection and partner collections and archives. A National Skills Sharing Partnership continues to deliver a dynamic programme of activities in partnership with twelve museums and galleries across the UK, involving exchanges, mentoring, seminars, exhibitions and displays.
Beyond these projects, the Gallery continues with its ambitious plans for an extensive international collaborations programme and an expanded digital strategy, that will enable it to reach new audiences onsite, online and both across Britain and around the globe. Inspiring People is a hugely exciting project for the National Portrait Gallery and presents a great opportunity for Trustees to support with the next steps of its transformative journey.
More information surrounding the Inspiring People project can be found here:

Board composition

The chief role of Trustees is to assist the Chair in meeting the Board’s overall responsibilities under the Museums and Galleries Act and the Charities Act, and in accordance with the guidance issued by the Secretary of State. Trustees offer guidance and expertise on the Gallery’s strategy and its practical implementation. They must be positive advocates for the Gallery, representing it to ministers, officials at DCMS, and others. They must also assist the Chair in ensuring that the Gallery’s affairs are conducted with probity.
Trustees must be able to attend Board meetings and such other sub-committee meetings as may be necessary. Board meetings are held four times a year in London, with one additional strategy day. Some additional time will need to be devoted to ad hoc meetings, studying papers, attending events organised by the Gallery and occasional visits to regional partnerships. DCMS is committed to equality of opportunity and is committed to ensuring that public appointments better represent the views of the communities which they serve. We particularly encourage applicants from underrepresented groups, those based outside London and the South-East and applicants who have achieved success through non-traditional educational routes.

Regulation of appointment

This post is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. For more information, please refer to the Commissioner’s website 

Person specification

Essential criteria

Candidates for this particular role should be able to demonstrate:
  • Experience of partnership working in the cultural sector
  • Good knowledge and appreciation of the strategic issues facing museums, and the wider environment within which they operate.

Desirable criteria

Additionally, the successful candidate will be able to demonstrate the majority of the following criteria:

  • A high-level understanding of commissioning and programming across multiple channels and platforms, and their importance in transforming public access to museums and their collections.

  • The ability to use digital channels and media in the development and promotion of digital content in order to increase scale and diversity of audiences engaged with cultural organisations. 

  • An understanding of, and commitment to, the vision and values of the National Portrait Gallery and its future development, particularly the ambitions of the Inspiring People project.

  • An ability to take responsibility and demonstrate sound judgement in strategic decision making.

  • Excellent communication and representational skills with a range of stakeholders and the ability to contribute to policy and strategy development with innovative thinking.

  • An ability to contribute to the Board’s advice on proposed acquisitions and the commissioning process.

  • An understanding of the diverse community which is the UK and a real commitment to engaging audiences outside London.

  • A commitment to preserving cultural heritage, and improving education and understanding of British and World history.

Application and selection process

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to provide:

  1. A  Curriculum Vitae of no more than 2 sides of A4 which provides your contact details, details of your education and qualifications, employment history, directorships, membership of professional bodies and details of any relevant publications or awards;
  2. A supporting statement of no more than 2 sides of A4 setting out how you meet the criteria for appointment, as set out in the person specification for the role
  3. Information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues; please complete the attached Declaration of Conflicts of Interest Form
  4. Diversity monitoring information - please follow this link. 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 – please state if you want to be considered for the disability confident scheme;
  6. Reasonable adjustments - requests for reasonable adjustments that you would like to the application process (if applicable);
Completed applications should be submitted to with the subject line "NPG Trustee Application". Please provide the information at points 5 & 6 in your email. 

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.

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)

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.
  • Helen Whitehouse - Deputy Director, Museums and Cultural Property - DCMS Panel Chair
  • David Ross - National Portrait Gallery Chair - Representative of Organisation
  • Jamie Njoku-Goodwin - Independent Panel Member

Eligibility criteria

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

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

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

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

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

  • have an unspent conviction on your criminal record;

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

When you apply, you should declare if:

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

  • you are subject to a current police investigation.

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

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

Security clearance

The successful candidate will be required to undertake Baseline Personnel Security Standard checks in line with the Civil Service guidelines. Additional Security Clearance may also be required for certain roles. However, where this applies, candidates will be notified during the appointment process. Further information on National Security Vetting can be found on the website here.

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

We encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and across the whole of the United Kingdom. Boards of public bodies are most effective when they reflect the diversity of views of the society they serve and this is an important part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.
We collect data about applicants’ characteristics and backgrounds, including information about people’s educational and professional backgrounds, so that we can make sure we are attracting a broad range of people to these roles and that our selection processes are fair for everyone. Without this information, it makes it difficult to see if our outreach is working, if the application process is having an unfair impact on certain groups and whether changes are making a positive difference.
When you submit your application, your responses are collected by the Cabinet Office and the government department(s) managing your application. The data is used to produce management information about the diversity of applicants. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel who review applications against the advertised criteria and conduct interviews.

Disability confident

We are a member of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme. We use the Disability Confident scheme symbol, along with other like-minded employers, to show our commitment to good practice in employing people with a disability. The scheme helps recruit and retain disabled people. 
As part of implementing the scheme, we guarantee an interview for anyone with a disability whose application meets the essential criteria for the role, set out in the advert, 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

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

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

You can claim reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence costs which are properly and necessarily incurred on official business, in line with the travel and subsistence policy and rates for the organisation to which you are applying. 

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 contact the 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.

How to complain to Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA)

If you are not content with the appointing department’s response you may wish to further complain to the Commissioner at information on how the Commissioner handles complaints can be found on the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ website

Data protection

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

Contact details

If you have any questions about the appointments process, please contact the campaign manager
If you would like to speak about the role itself, please contact