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Role details

Student Loans Company Non- Executive Director

Application deadline 9 October 2023


Student Loans Company Ltd
Sponsor department
Department for Education
Business and Trade
Accountancy, Audit and Risk, Business, Change Management, Commercial, Human Resources, Technology / Digital, Major Projects
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
2 day(s) per month
£12000 to £17000 per annum
Length of term
Three years
Application deadline
11:59pm on 9 October 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    14 September 2023

  2. Application deadline

    11:59pm on 9 October 2023

  3. Sifting date

    17 November 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    9 February 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


The Student Loans Company (SLC) is a UK public sector organisation established to provide student funding (in the form of loans and grants) to over two million new and returning students and learners annually, in colleges and universities across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. We are a non-profit making limited company which is Government-owned. In total, we have around 8 million customers and manage a nationally significant loan book worth over £200bn (as at 31 March 2022).  We employ over 3000 staff in three main locations:  Glasgow, Darlington and Llandudno Junction in North Wales.

The scale of SLC is akin to that of a mid-tier UK financial services institution. It is incorporated as a company limited by shares under the Companies Act and is wholly in public ownership – with the UK Government being the majority shareholder and the remaining shares held by the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The SLC provides different functions for each of the devolved administrations.

This is an exciting time for SLC, on top of its core mission to enable student opportunity and delivery an outstanding customer experience, the Student Loans Company is also transforming its business to improve customer and colleague experience, further drive down cost to create better value for taxpayer money and create greater system stability, resilience, and security. The Student Loans Company is also the key delivery partner for the Lifelong Loan Entitlement, a priority for the UK Government, which will be transformative for the whole system and approach to student finance in England.

Role description

Candidates will support the SLC by bringing their unique skills and experience to the board, ensuring effective oversight and assurance of the operations of the SLC, as well as steering the organisation through the development and delivery of organisational and product change. Specific responsibilities will include:

  • constructively challenging and contributing to the development of strategy and business planning, including the setting and development of key objectives and targets.
  • scrutinising the performance of the organisation in meeting agreed goals and objectives, overseeing performance against customer metrics, reviewing regular financial information concerning the management of SLC, and ensuring that effective arrangements are in place within SLC to ensure compliance with statutory or administrative requirements on the use of public funds.
  • ensuring that effective arrangements are in place within SLC to provide assurance on risk management, governance, and internal control.
  • taking forward the strategic aims and objectives of SLC and ensuring these are consistent with its overall strategic direction and within the policy and resources framework determined by the Secretary of State; and
  • ensuring that SLC’s responsibilities towards its employees, such as pay, pension and development of staff, are satisfactorily discharged.


As a non-executive director, you will play an active role on the board of the SLC, supporting the SLC Executive Team and SLC Chair to deliver the company’s portfolio of priorities, overcome challenges and exploit opportunities, including the continued growth of its customer base and delivery of SLC’s transformation into becoming a digitally modern provider.

Supporting the executive team to continually modernise SLC over the next few years will be a key responsibility, a significant element of the role will be to work as a member of the board to ensure that the resources and skills available to the Company are commensurate with and focussed on its delivery obligations.

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

The successful candidates will have extensive experience in previous private and/or public sector roles, which will enable them to provide advice, guidance, support and effective challenge to the SLC Executive Leadership Team to ensure that the board’s responsibilities are correctly discharged. Applicants will need to evidence experience for both specific and generic skills as listed below.

Essential criteria - Specific Skills

·        Role One: Significant, senior level experience of working in a regulated financial environment, managing substantial profit and loss accounts, or managing and maximising the value of financial assets in complex commercial ventures.  This candidate should also be financially qualified.

·        Role Two: Significant, senior level experience in customer service and customer experience, including driving customer and organisational value from enabling a shift to self-serve channels within large-scale retail or operational delivery organisations.

Role ThreeSignificant, senior level experience of HR, including organisational design, people strategy and development, EDI and culture and the operational requirements within large-scale organisations.

And the following generic criteria:

  • Board level senior leadership experience in large and complex organisations with a specific focus on delivery.
  • The ability to think strategically, and effectively shape organisational strategy and transformation.
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to engage and influence senior stakeholders.
  • A collaborative working style including an ability to work jointly with other executives in the organisation to seize opportunities and collectively solve problems.

In addition, one candidate should currently be active within the Higher Education sector, at a suitable level to bring an understanding of current issues and challenges in the sector to Board deliberations on customer service and partnership working. 

All non-executive directors are expected to join one or more of the Board committees, which cover Audit and Risk, Remuneration and Technology.  We are looking in this recruitment to attract candidates who will be able to contribute to our Audit and Risk and Remuneration Committees.

Please clearly indicate in your application which of the three roles you are applying against. You may apply against one or more. 

Desirable criteria

Additionally, at interview, candidates may also be assessed on the following desirable criteria:

  • A strong understanding of the Higher/Further Education sector
  • Previous non-executive board member experience on a public or private sector board:
  • Experience of risk, performance, and financial management
  • Experience of working with or in UK Government/Devolved Governments and the demands of public accountability.
Please also refer to the Nolan Principles as the basis of the ethical standards expected of public office holders -

Application and selection process

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for any of these positions, please follow this link Student Loans Company — Non-Executive Directors ( to apply on the Nurole website.

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)

Departmental Official and Panel Chair - Patrick Curry - Director of Higher Education
Representative of the organisation (SLC) - Peter Lauener - SLC Chair
Independent panel member - Lynda Armstrong OBE - ECITB Chair
Other panel member - Sir Peter Bazalgette - Department for Education NED
None of the panel members have declared any political activity.
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 may 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

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. 
All expense claims for travel and subsistence are to be made in line with SLC’s expense policy at that time.

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 Student Loans Company Sponsorship 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.  The Department for Education's public appointments' privacy notice is attached.  Nurole's privacy notice can be viewed here: .

Contact details

If you have any queries, please contact: