Role details

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) -Non-Executive Director

Application deadline 30 April 2024


Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)
Sponsor department
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
East of England
Environment, Agriculture & Fishing
Audit and Risk, Business, Commercial, Communication, International Experience, Technology / Digital, Regulation
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
20 day(s) per annum
£10000 per annum
Length of term
3 Years
Application deadline
Midday on 30 April 2024

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    20 March 2024

  2. Application deadline

    Midday on 30 April 2024

  3. Sifting date

    20 May 2024

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    7 June 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) is an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). We advise government and wider society so we can secure a sustainable future for our rivers, seas and the ocean. Our mission is to apply our unique expertise to achieve healthy and productive marine and freshwater ecosystems, both here in the UK and around the world.

Cefas has world leading expertise in marine and freshwater science that underpins decision making with local, national and global reach. We help keep rivers, seas and the ocean healthy and productive and seafood safe and sustainable, by providing scientific evidence, data, analysis and advice to government and other partners. We enable animal health regulation, fisheries negotiations, marine environmental planning and consenting decisions, marine conservation and environmental protection. We also respond to serious marine emergencies such as fish disease outbreaks and oil or chemical spills. 

Cefas’ Non-Executive advisory Directors (NEDs) advise and challenge the Board and Chief Executive, bringing an objectivity and independence of view to the CMB's discussions. They help provide Cefas Management Board with effective leadership in relation to the Agency’s strategy, performance, and risk and people management. In particular, NEDs play a key role in encouraging an ambitious scientific and technical strategy for the organisation and ensuring high standards of financial probity and corporate governance through their role on CMB’s external committees. In addition to their business-wide perspective, NEDs may be asked to bring their expertise and experience to bear on specific aspects of Cefas strategy and operations.

Role description

The Cefas Management Board (CMB comprises the Chief Executive, five executive directors and four Non-Executive Advisory Directors (NEDs). The lead NED chairs CMB meetings. The Board provides strategic leadership for the Agency, within a framework of prudent and effective controls that enables risk to be assessed and managed. It brings together an appropriate split of Executives and Non-Executives to provide the appropriate balance of skills, experience, independence, and knowledge of Cefas to enable CMB to discharge its duties and responsibilities and ensure effective governance of the Agency.

NEDs are expected to engage with key external stakeholders to know and understand the context within which the Agency operates.

NEDs need to deliver a role of critical support to the executive directors, offering challenge, support and advice, with tact and diplomacy. This includes elements of mentoring and coaching. Effectiveness of CMB depends upon a spirit of mutual respect and partnership within the Board being established and a good “chemistry” across the team. Additionally, diversity in perspective and challenge is essential which requires an appropriate balance of skills, experience, and personalities between the Executive and Non-Executive members. In short, Cefas places as much emphasis on behaviours, attributes, and relationships as it does in structures and processes.

Person specification

Essential criteria

We expect exceptional experience and knowledge, together with ability to influence strategic management debates at Board Level (or equivalent) and decisions on a breadth of corporate issues.

Alongside externally recognised credentials, skills and experience should ideally include:

  • Relevant fishing industry, marine development business or environmental sectoral experience in UK and/ or international seas with beneficial contacts and personal networks.
  • A good understanding of marine activities and their relationship with UK government objectives and relevant national and international policies. 
  • Senior executive or non-executive leadership experience, with the ability to provide effective oversight of the executive functions of a large and complex organisation.
  • Experience and interest in organisational risk management and assurance to support strategic and operational outcomes.
  • A strong interest in science, technology, digital and data and the role they can play in driving economic growth whilst enhancing the environment and social outcomes.
  • Strong relationship building and communication skills with the ability to act as an ambassador for Cefas.

Desirable criteria

  • Integrity, probity, and high ethical standards, with a comprehensive understanding of the principles of governance and systems of control, and how to apply them appropriately.
  • An ability to maintain a sense of perspective and to pick out critical issues, and to question intelligently, debate constructively, challenge rigorously and decide dispassionately.
  • Independence of mind and sound judgement, together with the ability to provide impartial, objective, and pragmatic advice.
  • Enough strength of character to seek and obtain full and satisfactory answers within the environment of the Board.
  • Effective communication and relationship building skills, including the ability to negotiate, influence, challenge and listen sensitively to the views of others.
  • An ability to engender trust and confidence, and to adopt a coaching style particularly with the Chief Executive, Executive Directors, and other senior managers in Cefas.
  • A commitment to the 7 principles of public life, together with the willingness and availability to devote the necessary time to understand the business dynamics and context.
  • We are an inclusive employer and welcome applications from diverse backgrounds and capabilities. 

Application and selection process

How to apply

To apply for this post, please submit your application to by the deadline of midday on 30 April 2024 quoting reference CEFAS- NED. 

All candidates are required to submit:  

·         A CV of no more than two sides of A4 with education, professional qualifications and employment history and the names and contact details for two referees 

·         A statement of suitability should give evidence of the strength and depth of your ability to meet the essential criteria for this role. Please provide specific examples to demonstrate how you meet each of the criteria (max two pages please).  

·         Diversity Information and Conflicts of Interest Form

For further information please email:


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)

Mark Pendlington - Lead NED - Representative of Organisation – Panel Chair

Rachel Muckle - Deputy Director – Marine and Fisheries Business Management Team - Departmental Official

Neil Hornby – CEO - Departmental Official

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 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 ‘essential 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. When you apply you will have the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to the application process.

Principles of public life

The Seven Principles of Public Life (also known as the Nolan Principles) apply to anyone who works as a public office-holder.
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 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 ten years in any one post. 

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.

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 theappointments team if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application. They will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and respond within 15 working days.

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.

Contact details

For further information please email: Rachel King