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Role details

Chief Commissioner

Application deadline 15 January 2024


Independent Commission for Aid Impact
Sponsor department
Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office
Public Administration
Audit and Risk, Communication, International Experience, Major Projects
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
5 day(s) per week
£120000 per annum
Length of term
Application deadline
11:59pm on 15 January 2024

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    28 November 2023

  2. Application deadline

    11:59pm on 15 January 2024

  3. Sifting date

    2 February 2024

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    8 March 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


A message from the Sponsorship Team
Dear Candidate
Thank you for your interest in this vacancy for Chief Commissioner of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI).
You may already have some idea about the important work of ICAI. The following pages will tell you more about ICAI’s purpose, and this Chief Commissioner role, as well as the application process. Please do also view the ICAI’s website to understand their work: Home - ICAI (
If, after reading the material, you have further questions about any aspect of this post you are welcome to speak to Rosanne Sarratt on or Rosemary Baylis-West on
If you believe you have the experience and qualities we are seeking, we very much look forward to hearing from you.
Juliette Prodhan
Deputy Director- Development Policy Department
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)

Role description

ICAI’s formal remit is to “provide independent evaluation and scrutiny of the impact and value for money of all UK Government Official Development Assistance (ODA)”. Its functions are to carry out a small number of well-prioritised, well-evidenced, credible, thematic reviews on strategic issues faced by the UK Government’s aid spending; inform and support Parliament in its role of holding the UK Government to account; and ensure its work is made available to the public.
The Chief Commissioner will:
  • Represent ICAI effectively to a broad range of domestic and international audiences including the UK Parliament.
  • Lead the ICAI Board, oversee and set direction for the delivery of reviews that provide independent evaluation and scrutiny of the impact and value for money of all UK Government Official Development Assistance.
  • Lead the development of ICAI’s work programme, ensure commissions are strategically focused and prioritised, and focus on the delivery of well-evidenced, high quality, thematic reports.
  • Ensure review consistency and impact through detailed engagement across and within reviews.
  • Establish ICAI’s overall strategic direction within the policy and resource framework determined by Government; ensure its resources are managed effectively reflecting the organisation’s role and values.
  • Inform and support Parliament in its role of holding the UK Government to account, reporting to the International Development Select Committee on ICAI’s work.
  • Contribute to continuous improvement in the impact of UK aid, monitoring implementation of ICAI findings and ensuring their dissemination.
  • Expand ICAI’s toolkit beyond reviews to include more informal ways of helping organisational learning, and how to capture best practice.
  • Provide leadership, challenge and direction to ICAI Commissioners, Secretariat and Contractors, enabling these component parts to operate as one first-class aid scrutiny body.
  • Build effective relationships with key stakeholders, including the International Development Select Committee and government departments providing Official Development Assistance.

Organisation description

This is an exciting opportunity to lead an organisation that is at the heart of the UK international development effort, providing independent scrutiny of the effectiveness of all UK government aid - more than £12 billion in 2022.
The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) sets its own work programme, examining key strategic issues facing UK Aid programmes, and supports Parliament to hold the Government to account for the impact and value for money of those programmes.
ICAI’s work is high profile. ICAI reviews span the breadth of the UK’s aid priorities, from Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, to Tackling Fraud, and country portfolio reviews, such as Afghanistan and Refugees in the UK. The Commission, while independent, has access to UK Government officials and strategy documents such that it is able to judge which issues it assesses to be more prominent or pertinent in designing its review plans.
ICAI’s examination of key international development challenges informs public and Parliamentary debate. In addition to providing independent scrutiny, ICAI reviews contribute to improving the effectiveness and impact of UK aid, as well as expanding ICAI’s toolkit beyond reviews to include more informal ways of helping organisational learning, and how to capture best practice.
The Chief Commissioner represents ICAI and its work to a range of important audiences, including Parliament.
Further information on ICAI and its activities, including its most recent annual report and its recent synthesis of ICAI findings from 2019 to 2023 can be found at ICAI’s website: Home - ICAI (
FCDO’s review of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact may also be of interest as would the Cabinet Office mandated review of ICAI, published in December 2017: ICAI Tailored Review.

Board composition

Chief Commissioner and two Part-Time Commissioners

Regulation of appointment

This post is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. For more information, please refer to the Commissioner’s website 
Update to Job Pack on 11 January 2024
Some of the text in the attached job pack has been updated, to ensure that it accurately reflects current government policy and is consistent with the job advert.

Person specification

Essential criteria

  • Extensive experience in international development, with the skills to assess an expanding range of ODA instruments and programmes.
  • Strong senior leadership skills, an ability to set the strategic direction of an organisation and deliver in complex environments.
  • Effective communication skills with experience of building and maintaining constructive, transparent, strategically important relationships.
  • A proven track record of successfully overseeing and leading teams of experts and delivering projects to tight timescales. Specifically, an ability to clearly articulate direction and scope of projects and to capture broader lessons and best practice.

Desirable criteria

  • Experience of undertaking scrutiny, audit or evaluation roles. 

Application and selection process

How to apply

GatenbySanderson is acting as an employment agency advisor on this appointment and will be supporting the application process.

For your application to be considered, you will be required to submit:

  • A Curriculum Vitae (maximum two sides of A4) with your education, professional qualifications and full employment history.
  • A supporting statement of not more than 1000 words (approximately two sides of A4), setting out how you meet the eligibility criteria – make sure you refer to the contents of this document and provide specific examples; please ensure your full name is clearly noted at the top of your letter.
  • Recruitment Monitoring and conflicts of interest form (here) – See section below for further details. If you experience problems accessing the monitoring form, please contact Devon Coates on This form also includes an opt-in for Disability Confident – Offering an interview to disabled people.
  • Contact details including e-mail addresses for two referees
WHERE TO APPLY: GatenbySanderson is acting as an employment agency advisor on this appointment. Candidates should apply for this role through their website

The Advisory Assessment Panel reserves the right to only consider applications that contain all of the elements listed above, and that arrive before the deadline for applications listed below.

GatenbySanderson will acknowledge receipt of your application automatically via their website. If you do not receive this acknowledgement, please contact   

Overview of the application process

This appointment is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Appointments are made on merit following a fair and open competition process which is conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments. The public appointments process can be lengthy. However, 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 for a public appointment

  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 which will be online.
  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. This appointment is made by the Prime Minister who, following the appointments process, will take the final decision on who to appoint.
  8. The House of Commons International Development Select Committee will hold a pre-appointment hearing with the successful candidate before a final decision is made. A pre-appointment hearing enables select committees of the House of Commons to take evidence from a preferred candidate for key public appointments. The Foreign Secretary will then consider observations made by the committee before making a decision.
  9. Once the decision on the appointment has been made, interviewed candidates will be advised of the outcome of their application. The successful candidate will be issued with Terms & Conditions and a letter of appointment should they agree to take up the position
  10. If your application is unsuccessful and you would like feedback, please let the Sponsor Team know ( We regret that we are only able to offer feedback to candidates who have been unsuccessful at interview stage. 

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

  • Panel Chair and Departmental Representative - Christian Rogg, FCDO Director Development and Open Societies
  • Senior Independent Panel Member - Libby Watkins, former judge
  • International Development Committee Representative - Sarah Champion MP
  • ICAI Representative - Ekpe Attah, Head of ICAI secretariat

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.

Pre-appointment scrutiny

Pre-appointment scrutiny by select committees is an important part of the process for some of the most significant public appointments made by Ministers. It is designed to provide an added level of scrutiny to verify that the recruitment meets the principles set out in the Governance Code on Public Appointments. This scrutiny may involve the relevant select committee requesting and reviewing information from the Department and the Minister’s preferred candidate. The select committee may also choose to hold a pre-appointment hearing.
If you are confirmed as the government’s preferred candidate for this role, the department will be in touch to confirm next steps. In most cases your name and CV will be provided to the relevant select committee in advance of the hearing.  Following a date being agreed for a pre-appointment hearing with the committee you will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance of that. Following the hearing, the government will review and respond to the Committee’s report before confirming the appointment. 
Full information can be found in the Cabinet Office’s guidance here. 

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 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

  • The Chief Commissioner role is a full-time role but we are open to agreeing flexible working patterns to balance the needs of the organisation and the individual. Remuneration is £120,000 per annum. The post is not pensionable.
  • Remuneration is taxable under Schedule E of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 (as amended) and subject to Class I National Insurance contributions.
  • Reasonable standard travel expenses will be payable.

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 sponsor 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.
Personal data collected as part of this job application will be processed in accordance with the FCDO’s Data Protection Policy and Privacy Notice. You can read this here. The Privacy Notice explains what personal data the FCDO holds about you, how we collect it, and how we will use and may share information about you.

Contact details

If, after reading the material, you have further questions about any aspect of this post you are welcome to speak to Rosanne Sarratt on or Rosemary Baylis-West on