- 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
14 September 2023
11:59pm on 9 October 2023
17 November 2023
Interviews expected to end on
19 January 2024
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.
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
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 Three: Significant, 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.
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.
Application and selection 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Additional information for candidates
- 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.
Holders of public office are expected to adhere to and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life/the-7-principles-of-public-life--2. These are:
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- LEADERSHIP - Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.
- 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;