Role details

Commissioner, Boundary Commission for Scotland

Application deadline 28 June 2024

Summary

Organisation
Boundary Commission for Scotland
Sponsor department
Scotland Office
Location
Scotland
Sectors
Public Administration
Skills
Audit and Risk
Number of vacancies
1
Time commitment
12 meeting(s) per annum
Remuneration
£505 per day
Length of term
4 years
Application deadline
5pm on 28 June 2024

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    23 April 2024

  2. Application deadline

    5pm on 28 June 2024

  3. Sifting date

    28 June 2024

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    9 August 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role

Introduction

The Boundary Commission for Scotland is one of four Parliamentary Boundary Commissions, covering each part of the United Kingdom, first established by the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1944. The Boundary Commission for Scotland is an Advisory Non departmental Public Body sponsored and wholly funded by the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland. The Commission is independent and non-political and their duties and powers are detailed in the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986. 

Role description

As a Member you will be expected to:
  • Attend meetings of the Boundary Commission for Scotland, having studied papers supplied in advance;
  • Participate in the Commission's discussions and decision making;
  • Formulate proposals in line with the relevant legislation; 
  • Follow the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by the Committee on Standards in Public Life;
  • Comply with the Code of Practice for Commissioners, and ensure you understand your duties, rights and responsibilities and that you are familiar with the function and role of the Boundary Commission for Scotland;
  • You will be expected to commit to 4-5 meetings each year except during periods of general reviews when the commitment may be greater. When a general review is underway, usually 10-12 meetings take place each year; and 
  • Undertake visits to areas as part of the review process, as required. 

Organisation description

The Boundary Commission for Scotland is an Advisory Non-Departmental Public Body that is sponsored and wholly funded by the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland.  It is an independent, non-political body constituted by the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986. The Commission's duties and powers are detailed in that Act, and in Schedule 1 of the Scotland Act 1998.  The Commission is responsible for reviews of UK Parliament constituencies in Scotland. 
The Commission submitted its 2023 Review Report to Parliament in 2023. Its next review, the 2031 Review, is expected to commence in 2027/ 2028. 
You will be expected to commit to 4-5 meetings each year except during periods of general reviews when the commitment may be greater. When a general review is underway usually 10-12 meetings take place each year.
The Commission is an independent, non-political and impartial body. It emphasises very strongly that the results of previous elections do not and should not enter its considerations when it is deciding its recommendations.  Nor does the Commission consider the effects of its recommendations on future voting patterns. 

Board composition

Membership
The ex-officio Chair of the Commission is the Speaker of the House of Commons, although the Speaker takes no part in the proceedings of the Commission.  The Commission's work is led by the Deputy Chair who is a Court of Session judge appointed by the Lord President of the Court of Session.  The two other members of the Commission are appointed by the Secretary of State for Scotland through a public appointments process.  In addition, the Director General of Ordnance Survey and the Registrar General for Scotland are ex-officio Assessors to the Commission.
Secretariat 
Commissioners have the support of a small unit of seven staff led by the Secretary to the Commission.

Regulation of appointment

The appointment is made by the Secretary of State for Scotland and is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. For more information, please refer to the Commissioner’s website 
The appointment will commence on 1 October 2024 and will last for a period of 4 years.   The appointment may be renewable, subject to a satisfactory performance review, and agreement by the Secretary of State. The appointment can be terminated early by either party, by giving one month’s notice, in writing.
Should the Boundary Commission for Scotland be dissolved, restructured or wound up before the end of your normal period of appointment, your appointment will terminate on dissolution, or such other date as is specified in any relevant legislation.
The appointment will normally be terminated should you be convicted of a criminal offence, and/or where the Secretary of State believes that you have failed to perform the duties required of you in line with the standards expected in public office.   

Person specification

Essential criteria

  • Demonstrate political neutrality while being aware of political sensitivities and stances.
  • Be able to assimilate and interpret large amounts of evidence, including map-based and numerical information, and reach reasoned and practicable conclusions.
  • Have knowledge of the political and public life of Scotland, and its government, parliamentary and electoral structures.
  • Be able to think strategically, to communicate and to work successfully in a small team.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of Scotland’s geography, demography and socio-economic characteristics.

Desirable criteria

  • Have a relevant background in geography, government or the law.
  • Be familiar with the application of geographical information systems.
  • Have the ability to use email and word processing software effectively.

Application and selection process

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to create an account or sign in.

Once 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:

  • a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • a supporting statement
  • equality information
  • 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.

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

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 gov.uk.

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

Rachel Irvine, Deputy Director Scotland Office (Panel Chair)
Lord Matthews, Deputy Chair of the Boundary Commission for Scotland (Organisation Representative)
Erik Wilson, CMA Chief Operating Officer (Independent Panel Member)
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 Nathan.lappin@ukgovscotland.gov.uk or Ryan.mcfadden@ukgovscotland.gov.uk

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 Gov.uk 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

You will be remunerated at £505.50 per full day when serving as a Member.  Remuneration will be paid after each meeting.  
All of the remuneration is taxable and it is your responsibility to ensure PAYE deductions in respect of income tax and National Insurance have been made, unless instructed to the contrary by HM Revenue & Customs. If appropriate, it will be for you to arrange authorisation of the non-application of PAYE or National Insurance.  The appointment is not pensionable.
Travel and subsistence expenses you incur in attending the Boundary Commission for Scotland meetings or on visits on behalf of the Boundary Commission for Scotland will be reimbursed at rates approved by the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland.  Childcare and other dependent expenses may be paid, on production of receipts, for additional costs incurred as a direct consequence of duties performed in the capacity of your work for the Boundary Commission for Scotland.  Claims for reimbursement of expenses should be made to the Secretary of the Boundary Commission.
Travel and subsistence expenses will be considered in respect of candidates attending interview.  Applicants must produce tickets/receipts.  Expenses will be paid at current civil service rates.  Final decisions on what is payable will be for the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland to determine

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 Nathan Lappin in the Constitutional Policy team in the first instance if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application at nathan.lappin@ukgovscotland.gov.uk. 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 publicappointments@csc.gov.uk.Further information on how the Commissioner handles complaints can be found on the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ website https://publicappointmentscommissioner.independent.gov.uk/regulating-appointments/investigating-complaints/

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.
The Scotland Office Privacy Notice is attached below. 

Contact details

Contact Nathan.lappin@ukgovscotland.gov.uk or Ryan.mcfadden@ukgovscotland.gov.uk if you have a question or query about this appointment. 
Please note that the successful candidate will be expected to commit at least 1-2 days per month during periods of general reviews. Outwith a general review the commitment will be less intensive with 3 or 4 meetings held each year.

Attachments