Animal and Plant Health Agency Non-Executive Board Member and Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC)

Body: Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)
Appointing Department: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Sector: Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Location: APHA Headquarters, Weybridge, Surrey (The APHA Management Board and Audit and Risk Assurance Committee meet as a combination of physical and virtual meetings)
Skills required: Accountancy, Business / Commercial, HR, Legal / Judicial, Major Projects, Procurement, Regulation, Transformation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: Remuneration will be £500 per day and reimbursement of travel and subsistence. These fees and expenses will be subject to Tax and National Insurance. The post is not pensionable.
Time Requirements: It is expected that the role will take around 20 days per year. There are 6 Board meetings, 4 APHA Audit and Risk Assurance Committees and 4 Defra Audit and Risk Assurance Committees with more meetings if required. The successful candidate will be expected to attend the Defra Audit and Risk Assurance Committees, meet regularly with other APHA Non-Executives and Chair of the Board. There will be a requirement to attend other meetings as required.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    30/11/2022 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    February 2022


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

About the Animal and Plant Health Agency

Three years ago, many people would not have heard of zoonotic disease (where animal disease jumps species to humans) – the global pandemic of Covid-19 has changed that awareness. The Animal and Plant Health Agency, which is an Executive Agency of Defra, playing a central role in the escalating battle against animal and plant diseases – our experts (scientists, vets and frontline staff) deal every day with these challenges, and in regulating and promoting animal, plant and bee health and welfare. Last winter, the Agency oversaw the national response to the worst outbreak of avian influenza the UK has ever experienced, and this Winter 2022/23 is looking to be no different. Strategy and policy on how we carry out our work is set for us by Defra and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales; we also have some commercial customers.

The Agency is growing fast – our role in international trade continues to be enhanced as a result of the UK leaving the EU. Policy in this area is extremely complex and requires expert advice and understanding. We currently have just under 3000 employees spread across more than 60 sites in Great Britain. We have secured significant new investment in our main scientific campus at Weybridge in Surrey, which will equip our scientists with the facilities they need to place the UK at the forefront of global scientific endeavour in this arena. We are proud of the national and international reputation which APHA has for the quality of our science and our services to our customers.

About the vacancy

We are seeking a Non-Executive Director to join the Management Board and act as Chair for our Audit and Risk Assurance Committee.

Like many public sector boards, it is an advisory body to the APHA Accounting Officer and has no executive powers or responsibilities – 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.

The Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) is a committee of the agency Management Board. It is also an advisory body to the APHA Accounting Officer and has no executive powers or responsibilities.

The ARAC is established to support and advise on issues of risk, control, governance and assurance and other related matters, and to assist audits and status within the agency. The ARAC comprises of three Non-Executive members. In addition, the APHA Chief Executive, one APHA Director, a representative of Defra’s Finance and Performance Directorate, a representative from Defra’s Internal Audit and an external auditor will attend.

APHA will provide the ARAC Chair with a secretariat function.

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. As a non-executive Board member, you will:

• provide advice about strategy and policy, and the delivery of customer objectives;

• 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 contributions to debate and discussion at Board meetings to aid collective decision-making;

• provide effective oversight of financial and risk management and governance;

• 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, you will:

• chair all ARAC meetings and maintain a high level of discussion and debate, helping steer the Agency
by collective working;

• ensure an annual ARAC effectiveness review is performed. Compliance with the Corporate Governance Code, Code of Conduct for ARAC Members and rules relating to the use of public funds and conflicts of interest;

• contribute to the delivery of the Annual Report and Accounts and Business Plans;

• represent the agency at the Defra Audit and Risk Assurance Committee;

• communicate regularly with the other NEDs and senior officials.

Person Specification

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

Essential criteria:

• A formal Accounting Qualification ideally combined with Audit and Risk Assurance Committee experience;

• A passion and enthusiasm for our work;

• An enquiring mind;

• An enthusiastic and engaging communication style with good interpersonal skills;

• 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.

Additional Information

The recruitment process

The closing date for applications is 30 November 2022. We expect to have shortlisted by in December, with interviews during late December/January.

It is essential that your statement of suitability gives full but concise information relevant to the appointment, clearly demonstrating how you meet the criteria for the post.

Applications will be considered by the Lead Non-Executive Director of APHA, the APHA Chief Executive and two independent members.

Interviews are expected to take place in person at the APHA Headquarters in Weybridge and will last approximately one hour. Further details about the format will be provided to you in advance.


We recognise that existing Board appointees are not fully reflective of diversity in society. We want the APHA Board (and its committees) to better reflect all those that we work with. That is why APHA is committed to promoting diversity, in its broadest possible sense. This will include embedding a commitment to the principles of levelling up and championing opportunity for all across the organisation, helping to ensure that the organisation is one in which a genuinely diverse range of views can be expressed, without fear or favour. We ask all applicants to complete a diversity monitoring form. We hope you will help us by providing this information. Your data is not disclosed to the panel but allows us to constantly evaluate any potential barriers to becoming a public appointee and what we can do to encourage a more diverse field to apply.

If you are interested in this role, but unsure if you have the necessary experience, please read this blog by the Public Appointments Commissioner:

Disability Confident

We guarantee to interview anyone with a disability whose application meets the minimum criteria for the role. By ‘minimum criteria’ we mean that you must provide evidence in your application which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria, as well as meeting any of the qualification, skills or experience defined as essential. The Cabinet Office and Defra is committed to the employment and career development of disabled people. If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes where possible. If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, please refer to the ‘How to apply’ section below.

If you wish to apply under this scheme, please state this in the covering email or letter when submitting your application.

Reasonable adjustments

If you would like a confidential discussion regarding any reasonable adjustments during the process, please also indicate this in the covering email or letter.

Conflicts of interest and due diligence

If you have any interests that might be relevant to the work of the APHA and which could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest if you were to be appointed, please provide details in your application.
Given the nature of public appointments, it is important that those appointed as Members of public bodies maintain the confidence of Parliament and the public. If there are any issues in your personal or professional history that could, if you were appointed, be misconstrued, cause embarrassment, or cause public confidence in the appointment to be jeopardised, it is important that you bring them to the attention of the Advisory Assessment Panel and provide details of the issue(s) in your application. In considering whether you wish to declare any issues, you should also reflect on any public statements you have made, including through social media.

As part of our due diligence checks we may consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This will include us undertaking searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. This information may be made available to the Advisory Assessment Panel and they may wish to explore issues with you should you be invited to interview. The information may also be shared with ministers and Cabinet Office.

Ineligibility criteria

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

• you become bankrupt or make an arrangement with creditors;

• 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;

• you are disqualified from acting as a company director under the Company Directors Disqualification Act

• you have been convicted of a criminal offence; the conviction not being spent for the purposes of the
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (c. 53);

• you become subject to a debt relief order or a bankruptcy restrictions order;

• you fail to declare any conflict of interest.

Security Clearance

You will be required to have SC security clearance for this role, and this will need to be completed on appointment if you do not already have this in place. APHA will take this forward on your behalf if require. You can find out more about National Security Vetting at

How to Apply

If you wish to apply for this post, please supply the following:

1) A copy of your CV (no more than two sides of A4), with education, professional qualifications, employment history and details of 2 referees;

2) A statement of suitability (of up to 1,000 words or no more than two sides of A4), outlining how you meet the essential criteria for this post and providing specific examples;

3) Monitoring Form 1 (Political Activity and Conflict of Interest Questionnaire);

4) Monitoring Form 2 (Diversity Questionnaire).

Your CV, statement and monitoring forms should be returned to by the closing date: 12.00 (midday) on 30 November 2022 quoting reference APHA-NED-0123.

For further information please email: quoting reference APHA-NED-0123.

Please let us know if you need a change to be made so that you can make your application or require additional assistance to support you in your application.

1_NED Candidate Pack
2_NED Candidate pack annex - Defra Vision
3_Monitoring form 1 (Conflicts of interest conduct and advertising Questionnaire)
4_Monitoring form 2 (Diversity Questionnaire)

This post is NOT regulated by The Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Return to Search