Chair - Commission on Human Medicines

Body: Department of Health and Social Care
Appointing Department: Department of Health and Social Care
Sector: Health and Social Care
Location: London
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: Up to £500 for the preparation required and attendance at each meeting
Time Requirements: A time commitment of approximately 33 days per year, including 11 meetings and any ad-hoc meetings based on need.


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed has been appointed as chair of the Commission on Human Medicines for 4 years from 12 February 2021.

The appointment will involve a time commitment of 33 days per year, including 11 meetings and any ad-hoc meetings based on need. Remuneration for the role will be up to £500 for the preparation required and attendance at each meeting.

This appointment is made in accordance with the Cabinet Office Code of Governance for Public Appointments. The regulation of public appointments against the requirements of this Code is carried out by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

The appointments are made on merit and political activity played no part in the decision process. However, in accordance with the Code, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public. Sir Munir has not declared any political activity.

Date: 15/02/2021

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    23/11/2020 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

Ministers are seeking to make an appointment to the board of the Commission on Human Medicines.

Role and Responsibilities of the Chair

The Chair will provide strong and effective leadership of the Commission in the fulfilment of its remit.

The Chair of CHM has to lead an expert science advisory committee whose principal tasks are to advise the Licensing Authority (the UK Health Ministers) and its executive arm, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), on matters relating to human medicinal products including the licensing of medicines that are safe, efficacious and of good quality.

The Chair needs to be able to synthesize complex information and present it authoritatively to ministers as required. They have to be able to master a very wide range of medical and pharmacological issues, many of which would be out of any one practitioner’s area of expertise, and chair to consensus a commission which comprises a range of eminent medical experts and some lay members.

Future challenges to the Commission are likely to come in the novel technologies and types of medicines which will come before the Commission, on which it will have to balance the risk and benefit to patients and society. The chair will have to lead this process.

The Department is particularly looking for someone, qualified as a doctor, with the highest scientific and medical standing. This role requires an individual who is well respected by other medics and scientists, by academia, industry and the MHRA.

The Chair of CHM should be prepared to relinquish all personal and non-personal interests of a financial nature in the pharmaceutical industry.

Person Specification

The Department of Health and Social Care values and promotes diversity and encourages applications from all sections of the community. The boards of public bodies should reflect the population they are there to serve. Boards also benefit from fresh perspectives, and we are always keen to encourage candidates with private sector experience to consider applying for our roles.

Essential Criteria

To be considered, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the qualities, skills and experience to meet all the essential criteria for appointment.

The successful candidate will:

  • be recognised by peers as a leader in their field, e.g. by national academies and Royal Colleges;
  • have the ability to effectively lead a national expert science advisory committee
  • be a skilled communicator, with the ability to speak on a range of relevant issues (not just on their own area of specialism) and be able and prepared to contribute to the range of work on the Commission;
  • have experience in the evaluation of benefits and risks of medicines; contribute to and ensure that the Commission’s advice takes account of a wider view of risk – benefit, particularly as it is perceived by public stakeholders;
  • be able to assimilate complex scientific information at short notice; and consider, comment and contribute by drawing on their individual expertise and judgement, to provide formal and informal advice to Ministers and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in accordance with the Commission’s terms of reference when required;

Desirable criteria

  • possess or develop a working knowledge and understanding of regulations

Additional Information

The functions of the CHM are:

  • To advise Ministers on matters relating to human medicinal products (except those that fall under the remit of The Advisory Board on the Registration of Homeopathic Products (ABRHP) and the Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee (HMAC) including giving advice in relation to the safety, quality and efficacy of human medicinal products, where either the CHM think it appropriate or where it is asked to do so.
  • To advise the Licensing Authority (LA) where the LA has a duty to consult the CHM or where the LA chooses to consult the CHM.
  • To consider representations made in relation to the CHM’s advice (either in writing or at a hearing) by an applicant or by a licence or Marketing Authorisation (MA) holder; and;
  • to promote the collection and investigation of information relating to adverse reactions for human medicines (except for those products that fall within the remit of ABRHP or HMAC) for the purposes of enabling such advice to be given.

Background on some aspects of the CHM’s work

An annual report is produced at the end of each calendar year which is laid before parliament and made public. A link to the 2019 report is available through the Gov.UK website:

Quote from the current Chair, Stuart Ralston

“It has been a real pleasure to act as the Chair of CHM over the past seven years.  Although the workload has been fairly intense at times, it has been a wonderful learning experience and I have been very well supported by all members of staff at the MHRA who are true professionals and a credit to the civil service.  If you have an interest in clinical medicine then I think that to chair CHM is probably one of the most important and rewarding things that you will do in your career”.

Professor Stuart H Ralston

How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in the appointment of the Chair to the CHM.

To make an application please email your CV, a supporting letter and completed monitoring forms to: – please quote VAC:1690 in the subject field.

If you are unable to apply by email, please contact the Appointments Team via the above email to discuss alternative options.

Applications must be received by midday on 23 November 2020.

In making an application please note the following:

Supporting letter

The supporting letter is your opportunity to demonstrate how you meet each of the criteria set out in the person specification. It will benefit the Advisory Assessment Panel if you can be clear which specific evidence you provide relates to which criteria. Providing separate paragraphs in relation to each criterion is common practice. Please write all acronyms in full first.

Please ensure your full name, the role to which you are applying and the corresponding reference number for the post are clearly noted at the top of your letter.

Please limit your letter to two pages, and type or write clearly in black ink.

Conflicts of interest

If you have any business or personal interests that might be relevant to the work of the CHM, and which could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest if you were to be appointed, please provide details in your Supporting letter.

If appointed, you will also be required to declare these interests on appointment and they will be entered on a register which is available to the public.

Standards in public life and ensuring public confidence

Given the nature of public appointments, it is important that those appointed as members of public bodies maintain the confidence of the public and Government. If there are any issues in your personal or professional history (including any convictions or bankruptcy) that could, if you were appointed, be misconstrued, cause embarrassment to Ministers or the CHM 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 Supporting letter. In considering whether you wish to declare any issues, you should also reflect on any public statements you have made, including through social media and blogs. Due Diligence may be carried out on any publicly available information and shared with the Advisory Assessment Panel.

The panel may explore any issues you declare with you before they make a recommendation on the appointment.

Failure to disclose such information could result in an appointment being terminated, as those who hold public appointments are expected to demonstrate the highest standards of corporate and personal conduct and are required to subscribe to the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies, as part of agreeing to the terms and conditions of appointment. You can access this document at:

There are also circumstances in which individuals may not be considered for appointment, due to them not meeting certain eligibility criteria for appointment. For further information, please refer to Section 2.3: Eligibility Criteria

If you wish to discuss any queries on conflicts, please see the contacts section.


Please ensure your CV includes:

  • Your full name, title, home address, personal contact telephone numbers (land line and mobile), personal email address and details of any twitter accounts and LinkedIn accounts including your twitter handle/username.
  • Similar contact details for two referees who will support your application. One referee should be the person to whom you are/were accountable in your current/most recent appointment or position of employment. Please indicate the relationship of each referee to you. References will be requested for short-listed candidates prior to interview
  • Brief details of your current or most recent post and the dates you occupied this role. Please identify any past or present Ministerial appointments.

Monitoring form

Please complete the monitoring form. Diversity monitoring information will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel assessing your application.

Political activity information is primarily for monitoring purposes only, however if you are shortlisted for interview, this information will be shared with the selection panel. The reason for this is that it is appreciated that such activities may have given you relevant skills, including experience gained from committee work, collective decision-making, resolving conflict and public speaking. If you have had such experience and you consider it relevant to your application for this post, you should also take the opportunity to include it separately in your supporting statement. If possible, you should not, however, identify the relevant political party in your statement.

If you are appointed to this role, please note that any political activity you declare will be published in accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

The Department of Health and Social Care operates a Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS) for disabled people. The Equality Act 2010 defines a person as disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. Under the GIS a disabled candidate will be selected for interview if they meet the essential criteria for the post.

If you wish to apply under the GIS please complete the GIS form and return it with your application.

All applications will be acknowledged by email after the closing date.


For further information regarding the selection process, please contact

Sally Brough-Hirst

Appointments Team

Tel:  0113 2546138



For further information regarding the role of the CHM and the role of the Chair please contact:

CHM Appointments Team

Tel:  020 3080 6060


Please quote reference VAC-1690 on all correspondence.

If you choose to apply, we would like to thank you in advance for your time and effort in making an application.

14.1 diversity-monitoring-form
15. GIS_Form
12.1 DHSC_Privacy-notice-v03
VAC-1690 Chair Information Pack
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