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Role details

Chief Regulator, Ofqual

Application deadline 12 February 2024


Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual)
Sponsor department
Department for Education
Communication, Major Projects, Regulation, Education
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
42 hour(s) per week
£150000 per annum
Length of term
5 Years
Application deadline
11am on 12 February 2024

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    19 January 2024

  2. Application deadline

    11am on 12 February 2024

  3. Sifting date

    27 February 2024

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    19 April 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role

Role description

As Chief Regulator / Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ofqual, you will be responsible for delivering on Ofqual’s statutory objectives and duties – including to maintain standards and promote confidence in qualifications and assessments. Your main responsibilities will be to:

  •  Lead Ofqual in acting as the independent regulator of qualifications and assessments in England. 
  • Act as a public face of Ofqual, representing Ofqual to the public, Ministers and Parliament. 
  • Lead public debate in relation to the maintenance of both standards and confidence in examinations, qualifications and assessments. 
  • Ensure that the awarding organisations delivering regulated qualifications in England execute their roles in a way that is as fair as possible to all students. 
  • Ensure that qualification reform programmes are delivered successfully, working closely with government and awarding organisations. This will include the development and delivery of the new Advanced British Standard announced by the Prime Minister in October 2023. 
  • Be responsible for the overall leadership, management, organisation and staffing of the organisation, building capacity and capability to deliver on major qualifications reforms alongside the effective delivery of the existing system. 
  • Act as the HM Treasury-appointed Accounting Officer for Ofqual, accountable directly to Parliament for the use of Ofqual’s public assets, in line with the requirements set out in Managing public money - GOV.UK (
  • Promote the values underpinning Ofqual, through personal leadership and example. 
  • Coordinate and implement policies and actions determined by the Board.

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

  •       Proven track record of operating successfully in a senior leadership role, including the delivery of major projects demonstrating the ability to play a key role in the leadership of the English education system and to provide strong and inspirational leadership to Ofqual and to the qualifications and wider education sector through a challenging period.
  •       A commitment to ensuring that qualifications and assessments are fair, rigorous, valid and reliable.
  •       The ability to communicate effectively with, and command the respect and inspire the confidence of, Ministers, Parliament, awarding organisations and leaders in the education sector and of the Ofqual board and staff, as well as of students, parents and the general public; including the ability to represent Ofqual effectively in the media.
  •       The ability to navigate the political landscape skilfully, and a good understanding of the government’s educational reform programme and the role of the regulator in implementing the reforms.
  •       Demonstrated ability to understand and process statistical information and academic research at speed and to use this to make well evidenced recommendations and decisions.
  •       The resilience and confidence to make difficult decisions under pressure, in conjunction with the Ofqual Board.

Desirable criteria

  • Experience in the secondary or further education sector, and in particular an understanding of the role that qualifications play in an effective education and skills system and how they are developed and awarded; and/or:
  • Experience of working in a regulatory role. 

Application and selection process

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to create an account or sign inOnce 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:

  1. a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  2. a supporting statement
  3. equality information
  4. 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.

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)

Juliet Chua CB – Director General, Schools Group - Departmental Official on the Advisory Assessment Panel

Prior to her role at the Department for Education as Director General, Schools Group, Juliet Chua has most recently been Director General, Corporate at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. Previously, from September 2018, she was Director General for Finance and Corporate Performance at the Department for International Development (DFID). Prior to this she was Director of Care and Transformation Directorate at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and acting Director General for Education Standards at the Department for Education (DfE). Juliet has been a civil servant since 2004 and has worked at HM Treasury and the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit.

Frances Wadsworth CBE – Interim Chair - Representative of the Board 

Frances has been an Ofqual board member since 2017 and was appointed in January 2024 as interim Ofqual Chair. She has served as a Deputy Further Education Commissioner since May 2018 and has worked in the education sector for over 30 years, holding both teaching and management roles in a number of schools and FE colleges.

Clare Wagner – Head of History at Moreton Hall School - Senior Independent Panel Member

Clare was Head of Henrietta Barnett School between 2021 and summer 2023 and is currently Head of History at Moreton Hall School. She was previously Headmistress of Watford Grammar School for Girls and the Senior Deputy Head at South Hampstead High School where she taught History and Politics.

Stuart McMinnies – Non-executive member on the DfE board - Additional member of the Advisory Assessment Panel

Stuart has been a non-executive board member of the Department for Education since May 2022. He was a non-executive board member of the Education & Skills Funding Agency from September 2018 to June 2022. After a career in private equity, today he is a Senior Adviser to Duke Street LLP and a non-executive director of Ardent Hire Solutions Ltd and Delfield Group Holdings Ltd.

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  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

Pension and redundancy

The post is covered by the Civil Service Compensation Scheme and has access to the 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 Ofqual 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.

Personal data collected as part of this exercise will be processed in accordance with the Department for Education Privacy Notice. You can access the privacy notice here.