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Role details

Non-executive member of the Office for Budget Responsibility

Application deadline 17 March 2023


Office for Budget Responsibility
Sponsor department
HM Treasury
Business and Trade
Audit and Risk
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
Length of term
3 Years
Application deadline
5pm on 17 March 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    16 February 2023

  2. Application deadline

    5pm on 17 March 2023

  3. Sifting date

    31 March 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    28 April 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


The OBR was created in 2010 to provide independent and authoritative analysis of the UK’s public finances. The Budget Responsibility and National Audit Act 2011 and the Charter for Budget Responsibility set out the legal requirements of the Office, but it has complete discretion over how to deliver its core objectives. 
The OBR is led by the Chair, Richard Hughes, along with the two other members of the Budget Responsibility Committee (BRC), Professor David Miles CBE and Andy King. The Oversight Board consists of the BRC plus two non-executive members of the OBR. The latter two positions are currently held by Sir Chris Kelly, who chairs the Oversight Board, and Bronwyn Curtis OBE, who chairs the Audit Committee. 
We are seeking candidates to replace Sir Christopher Kelly, whose second term ends on 20 June 2023.
Bronwyn Curtis’s term comes to an end in June 2024. In the event that more than one candidate meets the required standard and is willing to defer taking up the position until that date, we may appoint both non-executive members within this single recruitment process.
Non-executive members are nominated by the OBR and appointed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  
The OBR has around 45 civil service staff, led by the Chief of Staff, Steve Farrington, and is located in 102 Petty France. It has a budget of around £4 million a year.

Introduction from the Chair

Dear applicant,
Thank you for your interest in the role of non-executive member of the Office for Budget Responsibility. The work of the OBR is an important part of the UK’s macroeconomic framework, requiring close engagement with HM Treasury and departments that undertake forecasts and analysis on our behalf. I, along with the Budget Responsibility Committee and leadership team, greatly value the contributions and perspectives of our non-executive members on managing these relationships, particularly in terms of maintaining our independence from, while also being responsive to the policy-making needs of Government and ensuring our accountability to Parliament and the public. We also rely on our Oversight Board to provide guidance on our internal decision-making processes and external engagement, both of which have come under intense scrutiny in the last 12 months.
We are actively seeking to increase the diversity of our Oversight Board and staff and therefore encourage applicants from all backgrounds, irrespective of race, age, gender, marital status, religion and sexual orientation.
Richard Hughes

Role description

Responsibilities of non-executive members
The non-executive members of the OBR play an important role in ensuring the good governance of the Office, safeguarding the independence of the OBR and ensuring that the executive members of the OBR are supported and constructively challenged. 
The non-executive members have a number of responsibilities set out in the legislation establishing the OBR. These statutory duties are to:
  • assess if the OBR has been able to perform its main duty with complete discretion and in line with its three principles (impartially, objectively and transparently), and report on this in the OBR’s annual report; 
  • review regularly that the OBR has appropriate processes in place to ensure it produces a high standard of work; and
  • periodically, and at least every five years, appoint independent, expert reviewers, to conduct a review to consider the quality of all the reports produced by the OBR in that period. The next review should report in 2025.
Other roles that the non-executive members perform include:
  • Forming part of the Oversight Board: providing strong and independent leadership of the OBR as part of the Oversight Board, with collective responsibility for setting the strategic direction of the OBR and ensuring it is managed efficiently and effectively.
  • Providing support and constructive challenge, and safeguarding independence: providing the highest quality judgement and advice on the full range of issues covered by the Oversight Board and playing a key role in safeguarding the independence of the OBR, through the capacity to advise and report from an external perspective. This may involve being available to appear before Parliamentary committees on these matters. 
  • Taking a lead role in advising on matters related to audit and risk: the Oversight Board must assure itself of the effectiveness of the internal control and risk management systems of the OBR. This Audit Committee function involves both non-executive members and is led by one non-executive member. 
  • Chairing internal meetings of the OBR: one non-executive member has responsibility for chairing Oversight Board meetings and the other has responsibility for chairing the Audit Committee. These are inward-facing roles that involve facilitating board and audit committee meetings, formulating their strategies and setting their agendas.

Organisation description

About the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR)
We have five main roles:
1. Economic and fiscal forecasting
  • We produce detailed five-year forecasts for the economy and public finances twice a year. The forecasts accompany the Budget Statement (usually in late November) and the Spring Statement (usually in March). They incorporate the impact of any tax and spending measures announced in those statements by the Chancellor.
  • The details of the forecasts are set out in the Economic and fiscal outlook (EFO). Our annual Forecast evaluation report (FER), published each autumn, examines how they compare to subsequent outturns and draws lessons for future forecasts. 
2. Evaluating performance against targets
  • We use our public finance forecasts to judge the Government’s performance against its fiscal targets. In January 2022 the Government set itself a new mandate for fiscal policy: to have public sector net debt (excluding the Bank of England) as a percentage of GDP falling by the third year of the rolling forecast period. The fiscal mandate is accompanied by three supplementary targets: to balance the current budget by the third year of the rolling forecast period; to ensure that public sector net investment does not exceed 3 per cent of GDP on average over the rolling five-year forecast period; and to ensure that a subset of welfare spending is contained within a predetermined cap and margin set by the Treasury.
  • In each Economic and fiscal outlook, we assess whether it has a greater than 50 per cent chance of hitting these targets under current policy. Our Welfare trends report (WTR), now published once every two years, examines the drivers of welfare spending, including both those elements inside and outside the cap.
3. Sustainability and balance sheet analysis
  • We assess the long-term sustainability of the public finances: Fiscal risks and sustainability (FRS) – the successor to the Fiscal sustainability report (FSR) – periodically sets out long-term projections, typically following the release of updated population projections from the Office for National Statistics. These long-term projections cover different categories of spending, revenue and financial transactions, and we assess whether they imply a sustainable path for public sector debt.
  • Both the FRS and the EFO also analyse the public sector’s balance sheet, using both conventional National Accounts measures and the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) prepared using commercial accounting principles.
4. Evaluation of fiscal risks
  • The annual Fiscal risks and sustainability publication (FRS) – which superseded our Fiscal risks report (FRR) – periodically provides a comprehensive review of risks from the economy and financial system identified in our fiscal risk register, and also includes discussions of specific fiscal risks. In addition to producing central forecasts and projections for the public finances, the EFO and the FRS discuss the risks to those forecasts and projections (both upside and downside). The WGA also provides further information on specific fiscal risks, notably contingent liabilities (such as government guarantees), which we discuss in both the EFO and the FRS.
5. Scrutinising tax and welfare policy costing
  • We scrutinise the Government’s costing of individual tax and welfare spending measures at each Budget. The Government provides us with draft costings in the run-up to each statement and we subject these to detailed scrutiny and challenge.
  • We then state in Annex A of each EFO and in the Treasury’s policy costings document whether we endorse the costings that the Government finally publishes as reasonable central estimates and whether we have used them in our forecasts. We also give each costing an uncertainty rating, based on the data underpinning it, the complexity of the modelling involved and the possible behavioural impact of the policy.
  • These five roles all focus on the public finances at a UK-wide level. But the UK Government also asked us to forecast the receipts from those taxes and spending from social security that it has devolved – or intends to devolve – to the Scottish and Welsh governments.
Our Scottish and Welsh revenue forecasts are published alongside our EFOs and Welsh Government Budgets.
We also publish independent forecasts for the devolved taxes alongside the Welsh Government’s Budget. 
In support of these activities, we undertake a variety of research projects through the year. We publish briefing material to inform people about our work, and we provide a same-day briefing on the monthly public finances statistics, to help people interpret the latest data in the light of our most recent forecasts.

Board composition

Executive member: Chair - Richard Hughes
Executive member: Professor David Miles CBE
Executive member: Andy King
Non-executive member: Oversight Board Chair - Sir Christopher Kelly
Non-executive member: Audit Committee Chair - Bronwyn Curtis OBE 

Person specification

Essential criteria

This role requires excellent judgement, undisputed integrity and proven independence, combined with outstanding communication and interpersonal skills. Candidates will be expected to have a deep understanding of the role and functions of the OBR and be able to demonstrate that they have experience of providing strategic leadership in an organisation at a very senior level.
The non-executive members of the OBR do not need to have technical economic or fiscal expertise, and are not appointed in the capacity of technical experts. The successful candidate will bring experience and skills that will complement those of the expert BRC, to contribute to the successful leadership and good governance of the OBR as part of the Oversight Board.
The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate the experience, skills and personal characteristics necessary to perform the roles, including:
  • A track record of strategic leadership of an organisation at the highest level in the public sector, business, financial markets, voluntary sector, or academia. Experience relevant to the economic and/or policymaking environment in which the OBR operates would be an advantage.
  • Excellent judgement, undisputed integrity and proven independence, with the ability to maintain discretion and engender trust in staff, peers and stakeholders, including Parliament and the Chancellor. This includes the proactive and assiduous management of any actual or potential conflicts of interest.
  • A strong awareness of contemporary best practice in the governance of public or private organisations and an ability to apply strategic insights and input for the benefit of the OBR on a range of issues.
  • A deep understanding of the role and function of the OBR and a full appreciation of the wider environment and policy context in which the OBR operates, and the challenges it faces.
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills with an ability to communicate with complete credibility to all audiences, a proven inclination to work in a constructive way and sufficient authority to command the respect of fellow OBR members

Desirable criteria

It would also be desirable to have recent financial experience relevant to managing a small public sector organisation such as the OBR, with this being particularly relevant to contributing to the Audit Committee functions of the OBR.

Application and selection process

How to apply

Applications should consist of the following:

A full CV (including education and professional qualifications, career history, and relevant achievements and responsibilities).

A covering letter of no more than two sides of A4 setting out:

  • how you meet the appointment criteria as detailed in the role profile;
  • the evidence from your career that best demonstrates your qualifications for the appointment; and
  • the earliest date you would be able to start in the role in the event of a successful application.

The names of two referees who know you in a capacity to comment on your suitability for the appointment and have authoritative and personal knowledge of your achievements. References will only be taken up for short-listed candidates but will be sought prior to the interview.

Daytime and evening telephone contact numbers and e-mail addresses, which will be used with discretion.

You should return your application along with a completed diversity, disability, political activity and conflict of interest monitoring questionnaire. Personal information you supply on this questionnaire will not be seen by those involved in making the selection decisions but will be used to monitor the effectiveness of our recruitment processes. Conflict of interest information will be supplied to the panel and may be discussed as part of the interview. 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.

Your application will be acknowledged shortly after receipt and you will be informed in writing or by telephone of the progress of your application.

Your CV and covering letter can be submitted via email to:

Or it can be submitted by post to: OBR Recruitment 14T, 102 Petty France London SW1H 9AJ

Applications for this role must arrive no later than 17:00 on 17 March.

If you require any information in an alternative format, or have any queries concerning your application please contact

Overview of the application process

Interviews are expected to take place in April and an announcement about the appointment is expected in May. 

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

Bronwyn Curtis - Non-executive member, Audit sub-Committee chair, OBR
Ruth Curtice - Fiscal director, HMT
Gemma Tetlow - Chief Economist, Institute for Government
Richard Hughes - Chair, OBR

Eligibility criteria

The non-executive members are not required to hold UK nationality. UK residence is expected.

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 Office for Budget Responsibility 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.
  2. Integrity - Holders of public office 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.
  3. Objectivity - Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
  4. Accountability - Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
  5. Openness - Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
  6. Honesty - Holders of public office should be truthful.
  7. Leadership - Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour and treat others with respect. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

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

Non-executive members’ terms are for three years. With the agreement of the Chancellor, a non-executive member may serve a maximum of two terms. 
These are part-time roles, with an anticipated time commitment of around 6 days per year. The Oversight Board and Audit Committee meetings take place three times a year, usually in January, June and September.

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

The positions will not be remunerated. Reasonable expenses will be 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

If you feel you have reason for complaint about the appointment process or the manner in which your application was handled, please contact

Data protection

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

Contact details