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Role details

Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) - Non-Executive Directors

Application deadline 25 April 2024


Veterinary Medicines Directorate
Sponsor department
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
South East
Environment, Agriculture & Fishing
Accountancy, Audit and Risk
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
£470 to £520 per day
Length of term
4 Years
Application deadline
Midday on 25 April 2024

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    27 March 2024

  2. Application deadline

    Midday on 25 April 2024

  3. Sifting date

    7 May 2024

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    12 June 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


You may not have heard of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), but have you ever:

  • eaten meat, eggs, fish or honey
  • drunk milk
  • owned a pet or animal
  • taken antibiotics

If you said yes to any of the above, you are directly affected by what the VMD does.

The VMD is the regulatory and policy lead body responsible for issues concerning the authorisation, use, and manufacture of veterinary medicines in the UK. Our aim is to protect public health, animal health, and the environment, and promote animal welfare by assuring the safety, quality and effectiveness of veterinary medicines.

We support the Defra objectives on public and animal health, the promotion of a sustainable, competitive and safe food supply chain, and growing the rural economy. All statutory services are charged for at full economic cost, representing a major component of our income.

We work in close collaboration with veterinary professionals, livestock industry, and other public and private sector stakeholders to implement the Government’s current 2019-2024 Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy. This is part of the Government’s 20-year vison on Antimicrobial Resistance, and we are also leading the veterinary side of the development of the next 5-year action plan.

The VMD also leverages international collaboration opportunities in the post-EU landscape to advance global regulations and joint applications. We also have an active programme of supporting low and middle-income countries improve their regulation of veterinary medicines. 

We follow an integrated approach, spanning policy development to delivery, supported by externally accredited quality systems and a programme of consistent improvement.  

The VMD is looking to recruit for two Non-Executive Director roles

One to join our Management Board and Chair the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee; and the other as the Independent Member of our Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC).

Role description

Like many public sector boards, our Board is advisory – its role is to challenge and support executives in delivering strategy, policy and customer objectives, and achieving value for money. Critical to the effectiveness of the Board, is its ability to influence its stakeholders and to bring its collective wisdom to help to constantly improve the work and reputation of the Agency. 

All our non-executives contribute to the Board’s work and the achievement of its objectives through Board and committee meetings, and other tasks assigned by the Chair. 

For the non-executive Board member/ARAC Chair, the appointed person will:

  • provide advice about strategy and policy, and the delivery of customer objectives 
  • provide effective oversight of financial and risk management 
  • ensure issues are explored from a range of viewpoints, promoting inclusion and engaging with stakeholders when necessary  
  • review and provide advice about performance, respecting the principles of good governance, supporting and holding the executive to account without becoming involved in the running of the business  
  • make well informed and impactful contributions to debate and discussion at Board meetings to aid collective decision-making  
  • maintain high personal standards in relation to personal behaviour and uphold the Nolan principles of public life  
  • as Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee, provide advice to the Board and executives about financial probity, risk management and governance  
  • review and refresh the work of the Committee, and effectively chair its meetings.

Non-executive Independent Member of Audit and Risk Assurance Committee

You will advise the Board and Accounting Officer about:

  • The strategic processes for risk, internal control and governance, and the Governance Statement;
  • The accounting policies, the annual report and accounts of the organisation, including the process for review of the accounts prior to submission for audit, levels of error identified, and management’s letter of representation to the external auditors;
  • The planned activity and results of both internal and external audit;
  • The adequacy of management response to issues identified by audit activity, including external audit’s management letter;
  • Assurances relating to the management of risk and corporate governance requirements for the organisation;
  • Anti-fraud policies, whistle-blowing processes, and arrangements for special investigations; and
  • The Audit and Risk Committee’s periodic review of its own effectiveness.

Person specification

Essential criteria

We are looking for candidates who will bring diversity of thought and a fresh perspective to the work of the Board and its committees, and who can demonstrate a passion for our work. You do not need to be an expert in animal health or veterinary medicines, but you will be someone who has already made a real difference as a non-executive or who can demonstrate how they could do so, in their own field.

 The most important characteristics for us are:  

  • A passion and enthusiasm for our work;  
  • An enquiring mind, and independence of judgement;   
  • Personal charisma and an enthusiastic and engaging communication style;  
  • A track record of personally influencing the development of strategy and organisational performance;  
  • A demonstrable commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion;  
  • Experience in getting things done in challenging circumstances and complex governance structures.  

We are looking for candidates who have a professional accountancy qualification or similar experience.

Application and selection process

How to apply

To apply, please send your application to Chris Abbott at by the deadline of midday on 25 April 2024 quoting reference VMD NED

All candidates are required to submit:  

  • A CV of no more than two sides of A4 with education, professional qualifications and employment history.
  • A Personal Statement giving 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 1000 words please). 
  • VMD Declaration of interests form
  • VMD - NED Monitoring Questionnaire

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

Abigail Seager - CEO VMD - Representative of Organisation – Panel Chair

Alison White - Chair of VMD Management Board - Senior Independent Panel Member

Elizabeth Peers - Chair of ARAC for APHA - Other Panel Member

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)
For enquiries about your application or the recruitment process, please email Chris Abbott at

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. 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

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.  

An attendance fee will be paid for each meeting as follows:

ARAC Chair: £520 per whole day, £260 per half day.

ARAC Member: £470 per whole day, £235 per half day.

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 email 
Chris Abbott at
Mike Griffiths at 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

If you have any queries about the roles, please email Mike Griffiths at

For enquiries about your application or the recruitment process, please email Chris Abbott at