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Role details

Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) Member: Call for Expressions of Interest

Application deadline 13 June 2023


Trade & Agriculture Commission
Sponsor department
Department for Business and Trade
Business and Trade
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
20 day(s) per annum
£200 per day
Length of term
Up to 18 months
Application deadline
11:55pm on 13 June 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    3 May 2023

  2. Application deadline

    11:55pm on 13 June 2023

  3. Sifting date

    20 June 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


This is an exciting time to be involved in the work of the Department for Business and Trade (DBT). We are the department for economic growth. We support businesses to invest, grow and export, creating jobs and opportunities across the country. 
The Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) is an independent expert committee, comprising trade and agriculture specialists. It has an important role to play in the independent scrutiny of new FTAs.
If a new FTA includes measures applicable to trade in agricultural products, the DBT Secretary of State must lay a report before Parliament explaining whether the measures are consistent with the maintenance of UK levels of statutory protection for such products. 
This report must be laid in Parliament before the start of the 21-day scrutiny period under the terms of the Constitutional Reform and Governance (CRaG) Act 2010. The CRaG procedure is the statutory process for the scrutiny of international treaties, including FTAs, prior to ratification.
To produce this report, the DBT Secretary of State can request independent advice from any body or person with relevant expertise. The TAC will be one such source of expertise.
In particular the TAC will provide independent advice to the DBT Secretary of State – which will also be laid before Parliament – on whether the measures in an FTA relating to agricultural products could mean a change in our domestic statutory protections, or government’s ability to set those protections, in relation to UK:
  • Animal and plant health standards
  • Animal welfare standards
  • Environmental standards as they relate to agricultural products
The members of the TAC will be experts in their field, selected for their expertise, and will not represent any organisation.
The government’s programme of engagement on trade policy included an earlier iteration of the TAC, whose remit ended with the publication of its report in March 2021. 
The TAC was an independent, time-limited body set up to advise on specific questions to inform the UK’s trade and agriculture policy. The new TAC represents an evolution of this body, but has a different function.

Introduction from the Secretary of State

Thank you for your interest in joining the Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC).
The Department for Business and Trade’s mission is to support businesses to invest, grow and export, creating jobs and opportunities across the country. A key part of this is striking ambitious new Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that open up opportunities for UK businesses.
In pursuing this ambition, we are clear that we will not compromise on the UK’s high domestic standards. The independent TAC plays a key role in helping to ensure this commitment is upheld.
The TAC’s role is specific and focused. It analyses the signed text of new FTAs to see if measures relating to trade in agricultural products are consistent with UK domestic statutory protections relating to animal and plant health, animal welfare and the environment. The TAC’s advice is published in full and plays a vital role in informing public and parliamentary debate about new trade deals.
Since its inception in 2021, the TAC has reviewed new FTAs with Australia and New Zealand. But this is just the start. In March we announced that the UK had concluded negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a vast free trade area of 11 countries spanning the Indo-Pacific, which is home to more 500 million people and will be worth 15% of global GDP once the UK joins. 
Other FTAs are in the pipeline too, with countries including India, Canada, Mexico and Switzerland, to name a few.
We are looking for a new member to help the TAC continue its vital work to scrutinise the fine print of these deals and ensure they measure up to the UK’s high domestic statutory standards.
This is an exciting role that will give the successful applicant exposure to one of the most fascinating and dynamic fields around. If you have the experience and qualities needed, we would very much like to hear from you.
Nigel Huddleston MP
Minister of State at Department for Business and Trade

Role description

Purpose of the role: 
To provide independent, expert advice on whether measures in FTA treaty text – per each member’s area of expertise – may have an impact on UK domestic statutory protections. 
You will report to the Chair. Members are appointed for their individual knowledge and expertise, and do not represent an organisation.
The key responsibilities of members are to:
  • Support the Chair in delivering the advice requested by the DBT Secretary of State.
  • Read negotiated treaty text and provide independent, expert advice on whether measures in FTA treaty text may have an impact on UK domestic statutory protections in one of the following areas: animal and plant health; animal welfare; the environment; international trade law and policy.
  • Prepare for, attend and actively participate in meetings as required.
  • Contribute to drafting of the advice for the Secretary of State.
  • Operate in an independent professional way.
TAC members are leaders in their field, who want to contribute to the scrutiny of FTAs at the highest level and are able to support their views with evidence.

Organisation description

Further details about the TAC, its Terms of Reference and its remit and latest news about its work an independent expert committee can be found on

Board composition

The TAC currently comprises 11 members including the Chair, Prof. Lorand Bartels (MBE). Other members are as follows: Dr Gracia Marin Duran, Catherine McBride, Jim Moseley, Cedric Porter, Meurig Raymond, Kate Rowell, Shanker Singham, Sir Lockwood Smith, Dr Andrew Swift, Nick von Westenholz.

Person specification

Essential criteria

Applicants should have:
  • Professional experience and standing in at least one of the following areas:
    • UK animal and plant health standards.
    • UK animal welfare standards.
    • UK environmental standards as they relate to agricultural products.
    • International trade law and policy (including an understanding of agricultural trade economics).
  • Familiarity with one of the following:
    • Domestic regulatory policy in [one of]:
      • UK animal and plant health standards.
      • UK animal welfare standards.
      • UK environmental standards as they relate to agricultural products.
  • The development of trade policy and/or Free Trade Agreements (FTA).
  • Scrutiny of trade policy and/or trade legislation and/or FTA.
Applicants should also have:
  • Sound judgement; an ability to assimilate complex information quickly; and an ability to communicate complex information to a non-technical audience.
  • Experience of working in a challenging committee-type forum and of working on jointly authored papers.

Desirable criteria

Desirable experience and attributes for the roles are:
  • Some understanding of the roles and responsibilities of various regulatory and policy-setting bodies in the areas listed above.
  • A background within the fisheries or veterinary fields.

Application and selection process

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to create an account or sign in.

Once you are logged into your account, click on 'apply for this role' and follow the on-screen instructions. To apply, all candidates are required to provide:

  • A Curriculum Vitae (CV).
  • A supporting statement.
  • Equality information.
  • Information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues.

We will ask you to check and confirm your personal details to ensure your application is accurate.

You will also have the opportunity to make a reasonable adjustment request or apply under the Disability Confident scheme before you submit your application.

Your CV should set out your career history, dates you occupied these roles and include details of any professional qualifications required for this role.This should be a maximum two sides A4, minimum 11 Arial black font 

You should use the supporting statement to set out how you have the skills, qualities and experience necessary for the role as outlined in the person specification. Please provide subheadings and separate paragraphs in relation to how you meet each individual criterion.  All acronyms should be written in full when first used.This document should be maximum two sides A4, minimum 11 Arial black font.

Please note the following:

  • We cannot accept applications submitted after the closing date.
  • Applications will be assessed on the documentation you have provided in your CV and supporting statement online. 
  • Applications will be acknowledged upon receipt.

Overview of the application process

This role is not regulated by the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Candidates will be assessed on their written applications by an independent DBT panel.
Expenses incurred by candidates during the recruitment process will not be reimbursed, except for exceptional circumstances. We are inclusive and welcome and value applicants from all backgrounds.
Panellists will conduct a written sift of applications independently, assessing each application against the essential criteria. A shortlist meeting will then take place, where panellists will discuss their independent assessments before reaching a consensus-based decision. Panellists will then make recommendations to the DBT Secretary of State. We do not envisage interviews taking place at this time.
The final decision to appoint to this role rests with the DBT Secretary of State. Appointable candidates may be invited to meet ministers before a final decision is made. As a result, there may be a delay in informing candidates of the outcome of the competition. Our intention is to conclude the process by the end of July.

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

The Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP) is as follows:
  • Ceri Smith, Director General, Strategy and Investment (Chair)
  • Anthony Green, Director, Ministerial Strategy 
  • Karen Morgan, Deputy Director, Agriculture, Food and Drink 
  • Jen Ashby/Ian Shepherd (jobshare), Director, Goods, Regulatory Environment and Gulf Co-operation Council

Eligibility criteria

In general, you should have the right to work in the UK to be eligible to apply for a public appointment. 
Appointees may be of any nationality but must have a demonstrated ability to operate professionally in English. 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 the TAC Secretariat.

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

We encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and across the whole of the United Kingdom. 
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. 
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.
  • Allowing candidates to present their skills and experience in a different way.
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 public or direct appointees to work to the highest personal and professional standards. In support of this, all TAC members 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

You 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. 
Political activity is not a bar to appointment, but must be declared.

Status of appointment

As a TAC member, 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.  
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. 
Time requirements: 
Up to 28 working days on the UK-CPTPP and UK-India agreements, plus up to 20 working days for any other FTA negotiated by the Government
Location of role: 
Much of the work will be done remotely; meetings in person are likely to be in London.

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

Remuneration of £200 per day will be paid.  
Remuneration for this role is treated as employment income and will be subject to tax and National Insurance contributions, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid.
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. 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 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 unable to offer detailed feedback to applicants. 

How to complain

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

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.
You can also access the Department for Business and Trade's own Privacy Notice

Contact details

If you have any queries about this role or the recruitment process, please contact