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Role details

Department for Transport - Non Executive Board Member x 2

Application deadline 6 May 2024


DFT Departmental Board
Sponsor department
Department for Transport
Audit and Risk, Communication, Transformation
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
15 day(s) per annum
£15000 per annum
Length of term
Application deadline
11:59pm on 6 May 2024

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    11 April 2024

  2. Application deadline

    11:59pm on 6 May 2024

  3. Sifting date

    31 May 2024

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    21 June 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


About the Department for Transport 

We work with our agencies and partners to support the transport network that helps the UK’s businesses and gets people and goods travelling around the country. We plan and invest in transport infrastructure to keep the UK on the move and work to improve the passenger experience for the country. DfT’s business covers all modes of transport – roads, rail, air, and sea. 

With our partners and agencies, our work affects everyone in the country. Our purpose is to ensure that the UK has a safe, secure, efficient and reliable transport system that works for the people who depend on it; supporting a strong, productive economy and the jobs and homes people need. 


We are responsible for: 

  • providing policy, guidance, and funding to English local authorities to help them run and maintain their road networks, improve passenger, and freight travel, and develop new major transport schemes. 
  • investing in, maintaining, and operating around 4,300 miles of the motorway and trunk road network in England through Highways England 
  • setting the strategic direction for the rail industry in England and Wales – funding investment in infrastructure through Network Rail, awarding and managing rail franchises, and regulating rail fares 
  • improving English bus services through funding and regulation 
  • working to make our roads less congested and polluted by promoting lower carbon transport, including cycling and walking. 
  • encouraging the use of new technology such as smart ticketing and low carbon vehicles. 
  • maintaining high standards of safety and security in transport. 
  • supporting the maritime sector by producing the overall strategy and planning policy for ports in England and Wales 
  • setting national aviation policy, working with airlines, airports, the Civil Aviation Authority and NATS (the UK’s air traffic service). 


Our priorities are to: 

  • grow the economy by enhancing the transport network, on time and on budget. 
  • improve transport users’ experience, ensuring that the network is safe, reliable, and inclusive. 
  • reduce environmental impacts by tackling climate change and improving air quality by decarbonising transport.

Introduction from the Secretary of State

Welcome Note from Mark Harper, Secretary of State for Transport 

Dear Applicant,  

Thank you for your interest in the Non-Executive Board Member (NEBM) roles for the Department for Transport (DfT) 

This is an important time for the DfT. We are investing heavily in infrastructure and public transport to improve journeys, boost connections, level up the country and support economic growth. Central to our mission is delivering transport that works for everyone in our society. 

Last year, we announced Network North, a new £36 billion plan to improve our country’s transport which will see the funding used to change our approach to transport infrastructure. In line with the three priorities set out in the announcement, you will play a part in driving better connectivity within our towns, suburbs, and cities, drive better connectivity between our towns and cities and improve everyday local journeys for people. 

We are now recruiting for two NEBMs to join our team on the Board of the department. These two roles demonstrate the breadth of the Board’s oversight of the department’s work. One role focuses on innovation and science to help the department meet its climate commitments, and the other role focuses on ensuring the department meets its corporate governance requirements. 

We strongly welcome applications from all backgrounds. As part of the Department’s commitment to diversity, we believe our public appointments should reflect our customers - the travelling public – who come from all walks of life and have different experiences. 

We very much welcome fresh talent, expertise, and perspectives, to help us better understand the needs of the communities we serve and support better decision making for all. This includes people who may have never applied for a public appointment – but could bring new ideas, insights, and energy. 

If you are interested in the role and work of DfT, I would like to encourage you to apply.  

Our dedicated DfT Public Appointments Team would be happy to talk through the process and answer your questions.  

Rt Hon Mark Harper MP 

Secretary of State for Transport 

Role description

Non-Executive Board Member (NEBM) 

The Department is seeking two NEBMs to join its Board. One role will be audit and financed based, as the successful candidate will also chair the department’s Group Audit and Risk Assurance Committee as part of their role, with the other role being focused on science and innovation. The successful candidates, through their membership of the Board, will also provide challenge ad support to a wide variety of management and operational issues and contribute to the effective strategic and operational leadership. 

As a NEBM your key responsibilities will be to:  

  • contribute effectively to discussions on the leadership and performance of the business at the DfT Board and Executive/Non-Executive meetings (a total of up to eight meetings a year), which are held both in-person and virtually. 
  • support the Department to examine, challenge and support the operational delivery and commercial implications of policy proposals, major projects and programmes, strategic and organisational issues. 
  • work with Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, and senior managers to scrutinise the Department’s management information to ensure performance and delivery of the Business Plan and other key objectives are ambitious and achievable.  
  • bring an independent perspective to the work of the Department’s Board, as well as providing independent scrutiny for the Department upon request. 
  • contribute as members of Board sub-committees within the Department’s corporate governance framework.

Along with the responsibilities above, each role will have specific requirements set out in the essential criteria, and you will need to specify which role you are applying for in the application.

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

  1. Strong inter-personal skills and the ability to lead organisational change, capable of engaging organisations with energy, pushing boundaries and driving a culture of excellence;
  2. Strong communication skills, including the ability to present complex ideas to a wide range of audiences from policymakers to the general public and to support and/or constructively challenge as appropriate;
  3. Strategic thinking with an ability to independently analyse complex issues and promote innovative thinking across challenging environments;
  4. The ability to successfully deliver strategic change and transform business processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness; 
In addition to the first four criteria above, it is essential that candidates applying for the Finance and Audit role can demonstrate the following: 
5 A. [Finance and Audit role]
  • Experience of working with or chairing Audit and Risk Committees, with an understanding of audit and risk issues in complex organisations operating in a political environment.
In addition to the first four criteria above, it is essential that candidates applying for the Science and Innovation role can demonstrate the following: 
5 B. [Science and Innovation role]
  • Experience in developing and implementing innovative solutions in the commercial or public sector. And/ or demonstrated ability to apply scientific principles and technology to improve transport systems and operations.

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 CV or equivalent biographical information (maximum two sides A4, minimum 12 font) setting out your career history and including details of any professional qualifications.
  • A short supporting statement (maximum two sides A4, minimum 12 font) setting out how you meet the essential criteria for the role you are applying for – make sure you refer to the contents of this document and provide specific examples.
  • You will also be asked to provide diversity data, and to declare any potential conflicts of interest 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)

  • Bernadette Kelly, DfT Permanent Secretary
  • Ian King (DfT Lead NEBM)
  • 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).

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.
You can claim reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence costs which are properly and necessarily incurred on official business, in line with the travel and subsistence policy and rates for the organisation to which you are applying. However these payments are taxable as earnings and will be subject to tax and national insurance, 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 in the first instance if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application. 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.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is the joint controller, with the Cabinet Office, for any personal data which you provide to us as part of your application.
Information provided as part of this application will be kept securely within DfT and destroyed within 5 years of the conclusion of the recruitment campaign.
DfT uses this form to gather evidence on DfT’s public appointments. 
The lawful basis that applies to this processing is that it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest to inform DfT’s recruitment policies in accordance with the Department’s public sector equality duties. For processing special category personal data (disability, religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity), we rely on Article 9(2)(g), reasons of substantial public interest (equality of opportunity and treatment).

Contact details

Via email: DfT Public Appointments