Role details

Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) Chair & Management Board (MB) Non - Executive Director

Application deadline 17 February 2023


Education & Skills Funding Agency
Sponsor department
Department for Education
Audit and Risk, Change Management
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
36 day(s) per annum
£15000 per annum
Length of term
3 years
Application deadline
11:55pm on 17 February 2023

Apply for this role

Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    23 January 2023

  2. Application deadline

    11:55pm on 17 February 2023

  3. Sifting date

    24 March 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    12 May 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

Person specification

Essential criteria

Are you a confident individual that can effectively lead a group to achieve set goals and objectives; do you have experience of providing scrutiny and effective challenge to support decision making; do you have experience of working flexibly to respond to the changing needs and priorities of an organisation; do you have experience of considering issues from a strategic perspective; do you have the ability to use this strategic perspective to support and challenge ESFA’s Board Chair and Executive Team in their planning and risk management? If so, we would like to hear from you. We are focused on equality of opportunity for all, and particularly welcome applications from women, people with disabilities and neurodivergence, LGBT+ candidates and those from ethnic minority backgrounds. Please see the essential and desirable criterion below.

Candidates will be asked to present evidence of the following essential criteria throughout the selection process: 

• Expert knowledge of governance, risk and controls environment and managing relationships with auditors

 • Proven advisory/committee experience as a Non-Executive Director

 • Experience in digital/technology including security and business continuity

 • Experience of large-scale transformational change and the ability to lead others through change

 • Effective communication and relationship building, including the ability to chair meetings effectively, influence, challenge and listen sensitively to the views of others 

• Experience of strategic finance and finance operations, at a senior level in a business or other organisation, with good understanding of effective financial management disciplines 

 • The ability to consider issues strategically, contributing to strategic development with high standards of objectivity and integrity

 • Experience related to organisational effectiveness and design (covering process design and management, programme & project delivery, systems implementation, customer service, results focus & management information)

• Experience of strong people management 

The lead criterion for this role is Expert knowledge of governance, risk and controls environment and managing relationships with auditors

Desirable criteria

Desirable skills and experience include:
 • Commercial/handling of contracts in large scale organisations or a public setting
 • Banking experience in debt capacity, monitoring and repayment of loans
 • Education sector expertise, including previous experience working with education providers (for example schools, academy trusts, colleges etc)

Role description


Candidate pack

Role description

ESFA wishes to recruit an individual who will Chair its Audit and Risk Committee and sit on ESFA's Management Board as a Non-Executive Director. The role of the ARC Chair is key to achieving committee effectiveness. As such, the successful candidate is expected to participate fully in ARC’s business, in particular by undertaking the following responsibilities: 
  •  Providing leadership to ESFA’s ARC ensuring the effective performance of the Committee, in accordance with its Terms of Reference. This includes: 
    • ensuring all Committee members have an appropriate programme of engagement with the organisation and its activities to help them understand the organisation, its objectives, business needs and priorities 
    • Establishing a mechanism enabling key stakeholders to consider the group’s overall risk and assurance needs 
    • Encouraging good, open relationships between the Audit and Risk Committee, Accounting Officer, department’s finance team and internal and external auditors
    • Ensuring that there is an appropriate process between meetings for action points arising from Committee business to be appropriately pursued
    •  Ensuring that members who have missed a meeting are appropriately briefed on the business conducted in their absence 
    • Ensuring that there is a periodic review of the overall effectiveness of the Committee and of its terms of reference 
    • Ensuring that Committee members are provided with appropriate appraisal of their performance and that training needs are identified and addressed 
    • Actively engaging in the appointment of new committee members
  • Providing support and advice to ESFA’s CEO in their role of Accounting Officer 
  • Considering GIAA’s internal audit strategy and plans for the agency, and reviewing their annual reports and assurance on corporate governance, risk management and internal control
  • Considering plans, reports, management letters and any other matters, from the National Audit Office (NAO)
  • Considering reports on business areas from senior ESFA officials to provide the Committee with assurance on the management of major risks to the ESFA
  • Reviewing the ESFA Resource Accounts and advising the Accounting Officer on the appropriateness of the draft governance statement, prior to submission to the NAO 
  • Promoting sound corporate governance within the ESFA • Attending and participating fully in the business of DfE ARC, and providing a strategic link into and/from ESFA’s ARC
As a member of ESFA’s Management Board, the successful candidate is expected to undertake the following responsibilities:
  •  Supporting the Chair, ESFA CEO, and Executive Team in establishing and taking forward the strategic objectives of the agency
  •  Supporting the Chair in seeking assurance of effective risk management, particularly relating to strategic risks
  •  Providing effective scrutiny and challenge to ensure that activity undertaken by the ESFA support wider strategic policies and that its affairs are conducted with probity 
  • Monitoring the budget spend of the organisation, ensuring that it delivers services in line with the targets agreed with the Board
 The successful candidate will be assigned a specific area of responsibility linked to the ESFA’s core business areas, to provide scrutiny and effective challenge. 
The successful candidate will agree to comply with the Code of Practice for Board Members, and the Cabinet Office Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies

Organisation description

Candidate pack

Board composition

Candidate pack

Application and selection process

How to apply

Suitably qualified candidates are asked to submit:

• A completed personal details form including a completed Diversity Monitoring form, contact details (including email address) for two professional referees available, details of any conflict of interest and political activity.

• A comprehensive CV and a separate statement of suitability, of not more than four sides of A4 (using Arial font, size 12), which outlines how you meet the requirements of the ARC Chair role, and MB Non-Executive Director role.

Applications should be sent to:

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.

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. 

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[1] 

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 the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee and non-executive member of the Management Board is currently set at a rate of £15.000 gross per annum 
The remuneration is designed to cover attendance at all meetings and the preparation necessary for those meetings, including the specific review of papers and attendance at the precursor and main meeting, as well as any additional briefing meetings. All other expenses, such as travel, are to be met by the appointee out of the remuneration

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.

How to complain

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

Contact details