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Role details

Parliamentary and Political Service Independent honours Committee Member x 2

Application deadline 14 June 2024


Honours Committee: Parliamentary and Political Service
Sponsor department
Cabinet Office
Public Administration
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
Length of term
5 Years
Application deadline
Midday on 14 June 2024

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    18 April 2024

  2. Application deadline

    Midday on 14 June 2024

  3. Sifting date

    5 July 2024

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    26 July 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


The modern honours system is intended to recognise merit, achievement and excellence in all areas of UK life. The Prime Minister of the day sets strategic priorities for the honours system. Successive recent Prime Ministers have asked that the system honours people who give service above and beyond – and not those who are just doing their job.
Honours lists are published twice a year at New Year (usually 30 or 31 December) and on the Sovereign’s Official Birthday (currently the middle of June). Three separate lists comprise the half-yearly list:
  • the Prime Minister’s List – managed by the Cabinet Office, for those contributing to the UK, of around 1,300 people (although some people living outside the UK may also be considered);
  • the Diplomatic Service and Overseas List – managed by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), for members of the Diplomatic Service and for those UK citizens working in the UK’s interests abroad, of around 150 people; and
  • the Defence Services List – managed by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), for members of the Armed Forces, of around 200 people.
There are ten independent committees which assess nominations for the Prime Minister’s List. The majority of awards recommended by the honours committees are in the Order of the British Empire. Typically, the Prime Minister’s List is made up of around 30 people appointed as Dames or Knights, with around 120 people awarded a CB/CBE. These are considered the highest honours and in all they represent no more than 15% of the list. The overwhelming majority of people recognised will receive OBEs, MBEs and BEMs, and generally represent those who have made valuable contributions at a relatively local level.

Role description

We are currently seeking two Independent Members for the Parliamentary and Political Service Committee. The Parliamentary and Political Service Committee is one of ten specialist honours committees which assess honours nominations put forward by members of the public, government departments and professional bodies.  The Committee has to select those it wishes to recommend to the Prime Minister and The King for inclusion in the New Year and Birthday Honours Lists.  
The Committee considers candidates for honours in the following areas of service:
  • members of the Devolved Legislatures, the staffs of the Westminster and other Assemblies, the staffs of bodies which report to them, Party workers, councillors and others working for local government.

Role of the Independent Committees
The Honours committees meet twice a year, in advance of each honours list being published. Your commitment as a member is to attend the meetings, one between January and March for a Birthday honours round and one between September and October for a New Year honours round. There is extensive pre-reading for each committee meeting.
As an honours committee member, you are asked to:
  • attend each honours committee meeting whenever possible;
  • read and develop views on the honours committee papers in advance of the meeting;
  • play a role in supporting Government departments to build pipelines of possible future nominees in your area of expertise;
  • act as an ambassador for the honours system in outreach activities, particularly by promoting the honours system through your professional networks.
Committee members act independently, recommending honours candidates to the Prime Minister and His Majesty The King. Nominations are assessed case-by-case on their specific merits. This is a high profile area of work, which attracts considerable public and media interest. 
Committees are supported by the Honours and Appointments Secretariat, which currently consists of approximately 25 team members who are based in the Cabinet Office.  
Current committee membership can be found at

Organisation description

There are ten specialist honours committees which assess honours nominations put forward by members of the public, government departments and professional bodies. All are chaired by independent members who are experts in their fields. Committees recommend nominees to the Prime Minister and His Majesty The King for inclusion in the New Year and Birthday Honours Lists. Committees consider candidates for honours who give service across all aspects of the UK public life and economy. Full details of the honours system, membership of the Honours Committees can be found at  

Person specification

Essential criteria

Specification and eligibility criteria for Committee Members 

The successful candidates should be experts in their field and whose expertise has been gained by paid, voluntary or academic work in these areas. They must be able to command the confidence of other experts in the sector and will be persons of distinction in their own fields who are well qualified to judge the relative merits of different candidates for honours. 

They will be able to act with independence of judgement and be individuals of the highest standards of probity and discretion. They will need to be sympathetic with the aims of the honours system and have an awareness of the importance of diversity in the honours process. We would particularly welcome applications from those with a proven track record of championing and improving diversity (including geographical diversity) in their field. 

Essential criteria

The successful candidate will need to demonstrate the following skills:

  • A commitment to add to the breadth of experience and expertise on the committee, including strengthening diversity of thought and representation from across the United Kingdom;   

  • Excellent judgement, and knowledge of those in the sector they are representing;

  • Ability to consider all the information presented, identify key issues and make objective and balanced decisions;

  • An understanding of the workings of the Honours committees;

  • a strong intellect and ability to act impartially and with sound judgement;

  • experience of committee, board or trustee work; and

  • Evidence of collective decision-making, and resolving conflict

Desirable criteria

We are particularly looking for:
Understanding/experience of (a) political parties and/or (b) of the Westminster Parliament and/or (c) of the devolved nations and the devolved Parliaments/Assemblies and/or (d) of the functioning of the political processes across the UK

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.

Overview of the application process

Appointments to honours committees are made on merit following a fair and open competition process which is conducted in the spirit of 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. Appointments are made by the Prime Minister, in tandem with the agreement from the Cabinet Secretary. As a result, they must be consulted at every stage of the appointments process.
  2. An Advisory Assessment Panel (“Panel”) is appointed 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 should be recommended for interview. The Prime Minister will then be consulted on the Panel’s recommended shortlist.
  4. Once the shortlist has been agreed, 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 names of all appointable candidates are provided to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary who then determine merit and decide who should be appointed. 
  6. The Panel’s recommendations will be provided in a report which details the assessment method used and the outcome of each interview. They will then be asked to agree on the candidate(s) who should be appointed.
  7. Once the decision on the appointment has been made, interviewed candidates will be advised of the outcome of their application. 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)

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 ‘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

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 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.
If you would like to make a complaint regarding your application, please send your email to: 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