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Role details

Royal Hospital Chelsea (RHC) Board of Commissioners - Specially Appointed Commissioner

Application deadline 24 April 2023


Royal Hospital Chelsea
Sponsor department
Ministry of Defence
Health and Social Care
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
3 day(s) per month
Length of term
3 Years
Application deadline
11:59pm on 24 April 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    20 March 2023

  2. Application deadline

    11:59pm on 24 April 2023

  3. Sifting date

    30 April 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    19 May 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


We are looking to appoint a Specially Appointed Commissioner (SAC) with broad legal experience at a senior level, to the Royal Hospital Chelsea (RHC) Board of Commissioners.
The Royal Hospital Chelsea (RHC) is unique and to be considered for appointment as a Specially Appointed Commissioner you must be able to demonstrate the skills and experience required and have a proven track record of success in a given field.
Overall, it is envisaged that Commissioners will have:
• Broad experience and good judgement;
• Personal interest in the Services, in particular the Army;
• Interest in care of the elderly;
• An open-minded approach;
• A willingness to contribute to guiding the development of the RHC outside of Commissioners’ meetings;
• The ability to bring influence to bear on issues of concern to the RHC;
• Available time to be involved.
Specially Appointed Commissioners must espouse the seven principles of public life; and uphold the qualities that are enshrined in the RHC’s values: Decency, Integrity, Commitment, Comradeship and Standards.
The time commitment is expected at four Commissioner Meetings per year, plus sub-committees and other functions. We expect the successful candidate(s) to spend typically 2-3 days per month on Royal Hospital Chelsea (RHC) Board of Commissioners business.
All appointments are made on merit, following fair and open competition.

Role description

Specially Appointed Commissioners are required to:
• Possess or develop a working knowledge and understanding of the RHC.
• Provide, as part of the Board of Commissioners, direction and leadership; this includes setting the RHC’s strategy, agreeing business plans to deliver the strategy and recruiting key staff.
• Hold the Executive Board to account on how the RHC is managed, how business plans are delivered and how the budget is spent.
• Represent the work and views of the RHC externally; this might be to ministers, parliamentarians, key stakeholders and the wider public.
• Attend all scheduled and unscheduled meetings of the Board of Commissioners and, if appointed, attend sub-committee meetings.
• Participate in broader RHC events and functions, for example Founder’s Day.
• Consider, comment and contribute by drawing on their individual expertise and judgement, as appropriate, on all agenda items and assist the Board of Commissioners to frame clear and unequivocal advice to the Executive Board.
• Be able and prepared to speak on a range of relevant issues and not just on their own areas of specialism.
• Provide formal and informal advice to the CEO and the wider Executive Board between meetings when required.
• Have proven senior leadership experience and knowledge of effective governance in a complex organisation in the private, public or voluntary sectors, with substantial main board-level experience as an executive or non-executive.
• Be an expert in their given field of specialism.
• Possess strong communications skills including an ability to offer challenge in a constructive, straightforward and open manner.
Specially Appointed Commissioners:
• Must not misuse information gained in the course of their tenure for personal gain or for political profit, nor seek to use the opportunity of their appointment to promote their private interests or those of connected persons or organisations.
• Must comply with the RHC’s rules on the acceptance of gifts and hospitality.
• Must act in good faith and in the best interests of the RHC.
• Must ensure compliance with the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies and the rules relating to the use of public funds and conflicts of interest.
Reasonable travel and subsistence expenses will be reimbursed in line with MOD’s policy.

Person specification

Essential criteria

Candidates must demonstrate all of the following essential criteria:
• A track record and demonstrable recent legal experience at a senior level
• Broad legal experience in Corporate, Governance, Commercial and Employment Law
• Demonstrable senior Board level experience as a trustee
• Partner, General Counsel or equivalent level experience in either the private or public sector

Desirable criteria

Specific• Experience in one or more of the following areas: Social/Healthcare (including Regulatory), Charities, Property and Real Estate Law• Independence of judgement with the capacity to bring fresh views to the strategic direction and decision making of the Board• An understanding of workforce issues from a governance and employment law perspective
• Demonstrable track record of working in teams and committees, scrutinising, challenging, and collaboration
• Significant governance experience, including specific experience in risk management
• A demonstrable strong reputation in their sector or network
• Interest in or knowledge of the military and in particular older veterans

Application and selection process

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to provide:

  1. A  Curriculum Vitae which provides details of your education and qualifications, employment history, directorships, membership of professional bodies and details of any publications or awards;
  2. A supporting statement setting out how you meet the eligibility criteria;
  3. Information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues (see Expression of Interest attached).
  4. Diversity monitoring information, see attached.  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 – Offering an interview to disabled people (if applicable, see attached).
  6. Reasonable adjustments - requests for reasonable adjustments that you would like to the application process (if applicable).

Completed applications should be submitted to, quoting reference number 6259_RHC_SAC.

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.

A candidate pack for this role is attached.

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 should be recommended for interview. Ministers will then be consulted on the Panel’s recommended shortlist.

  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 names of all appointable candidates are provided to Ministers. 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.

  6. The Panel’s recommendations will be provided to Ministers in a report which details the assessment method used and the outcome of each interview. They will then be asked to agree on the candidate(s) who should be appointed.

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

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

Panel Chair
Dr Caroline Shuldham 
Representative of Organisation (Organisation Panel Member)
Mr Nicholas Gordon
Senior Independent Panel Member or Independent Panel Members
Mr Stephen Penfold
Other Panel Members
  • Professor Charles Mackworth-Young
  • General Sir Adrian Bradshaw KCB OBE 
  • Mr Paul Foster 
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.

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 minimum criteria for the role 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

Government departments 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 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 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

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. If re-appointed, 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 necessarily incurred on official business however these payments are taxable as earnings and will be subject to tax and national insurance, 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 termination 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 DBS 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.

Data protection

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

Contact details

Please contact the team on with the reference ‘6259 RHC SAC’.