Chair - Health Research Authority (VAC-1662)

Body: Health Research Authority
Appointing Department: Department of Health and Social Care
Sector: Health and Social Care
Location: Various
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The Chair is remunerated at the rate of £45,000 per annum for a time commitment of two days per week.
Time Requirements: The time commitment for the Chair is 2 days per week.


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

Professor Sir Terence Stephenson has been appointed as Chair of the Health Research Authority (HRA) for 3 years from 1 September 2019.

The appointment will involve a time commitment of 2 days per week. Remuneration for the role will be at a rate of £45,000 a year.

The 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 appointment is 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. Terence has not declared any political activity.

Date: 05/08/2019

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    16/05/2019 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    05/08/2019 at 15:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

Ministers are seeking to appoint a new Chair of the board of the Health Research Authority (HRA).

The Chair will be required to lead the board in setting the strategic direction of the HRA and overseeing its governance and performance management.

HRA’s core purpose is to protect and promote the interests of patients and the public in health and social care research. It ensures that health and social care research involving them is ethically reviewed and approved, that people are provided with the information they need to help them decide whether they wish to take part, and that their opportunity to do so is maximised by simplifying the processes by which high quality research is assessed. In doing this, HRA helps to build both public confidence and participation in health research, and so contribute to improving the nation’s health.

The expertise and experience that the Chair will bring to the HRA Board will help to ensure that the HRA is a successful organisation in terms of its effectiveness, both as a regulator and employer.

Role and Responsibilities of the Chair


  • Oversee strategic direction, working collaboratively across a national system of Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs), as well as with key organisations across the health and social care system.
  • Maintain the values of the board so it continues to protect and promote the interests of patients and public in health and social care research, ensuring that the board listens to the public and patient voice and that the outcome of good research can benefit them in the future.
  • Support and challenge the executive team.
  • Be the public face of the HRA as a champion of its role.


  • Provide leadership to the HRA, through setting a vision and inspiring high standards.
  • Ensure risks are managed and appropriate financial controls are in place.
  • Lead the HRA board and its development, ensuring the board determines business priorities and fulfils duties.
  • Chair HRA board meetings according to any statutory requirements and agreed policies and procedures, ensuring meetings are reported appropriately and actions are monitored and completed.
  • Ensure that the HRA carries out its statutory functions with regard to aspects of government policy as the Secretary of State directs, including compliance with statutory and administrative requirements for the use of public funds.
  • Act on behalf of the board between meetings on matters delegated, such as signing off documents or in response to approaches from external organisations on issues which do not require approval by the whole board.


  • Maintain effective working relationships at senior levels with all key players in the health and social care sector, including Ministers, other ALB chairs, research funders including industry and charity and senior figures within academia.
  • Through support and regular appraisal, ensure a high performance from the HRA Chief Executive and Team, ensuring that operational and strategic objectives are achieved and best practice is followed in leadership and people policies and behaviour.

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.

Person Specification

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.

  • Strong strategic leadership skills with a significant record of achievement at the highest levels in the public or private sector and the proven ability to lead an organisation through a period of significant change
  • Able to drive forward the highest standards of board level and public-sector accountability, including strong financial governance, accountability, probity and propriety, and developing executive and board experience.
  • Demonstrable interest in the work of the HRA and understanding of the opportunities and challenges it faces and should have experience in a relevant field including medicine, health or social care research or medical ethics.
  • Excellent communication, able to collaborate effectively across organisational boundaries to lead and drive development and improvement. They will be adept at building productive and constructive relationships with multiple stakeholders.

Additional Information

“The Health Research Authority plays a key role in ensuring that we remain at the forefront of trusted and ethical health and social care research, promoting the interested of current and future patients. As chair, I have had the privilege of working on this important task with a wide range of stakeholders, including Parliamentarians, charities, industry, policy makers, public and participant groups as well as researchers.

This position is intellectually stimulating and brings an opportunity to make a real difference. I have found it very rewarding. Over the past few years, we have successfully built a platform from which the HRA can deliver a better experience for researchers while retaining the robustness of approval processes, which protect the interests of participants. It is now time for a new chair to capitalise on this opportunity and I wish them well.

Thank you for your interest in the role.”

Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery, outgoing Health Research Authority Chair

Our role

The HRA was established in 2011 to streamline the regulation of health and social care research in the UK. With our core purpose of protecting and promoting the interests of patients and the public in health and social care research, we:

  • make sure research is ethically reviewed and approved
  • promote transparency in research
  • give expert advice to researchers
  • provide independent recommendations on the processing of identifiable patient information without consent, for research and non-research projects.

We work with other organisations in the UK to regulate different aspects of health and social care research, ensuring research approvals and oversight are streamlined and proportionate. We are England-focused but, through our joint working with the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, lead the oversight of health and social care research on behalf of the UK.

We support our activity through five locations in England: Newcastle, Manchester, Nottingham, London and Bristol. Through the 65 Research Ethics Committees in England and the Confidentiality Advisory Group, we review around 6,000 new research studies each year, ranging from observational studies in care settings, tissue banks and research databases, to large, multi-centre clinical trials of new medicines and advanced therapeutics.

Our people

Our 195 staff support our committees and advisory groups, provide specialist advice, guidance and learning to researchers about the ethics and governance of current and emerging areas of research and effectively administer the organisation.

We could not operate without our network of around 1,000 volunteers. They serve on the research ethics committees, the National Research Ethics Advisors’ Panel, the Confidentiality Advisory Group and are part of our patient and public involvement network. All give their time freely to support health and social care research and the HRA’s work. They make an invaluable contribution to our work, to research and to research participants.

Our strategy

The HRA has just entered the final year of its a three-year strategy which focused on five key areas:

  • Championing health and social care research
  • Making it easier to conduct high quality research in the UK
  • Developing a pro-active, strategically focused organisation
  • Capitalising on technological developments
  • Ensuring the HRA is governed effectively and provides value for the tax payer

A key part of this role will therefore be to support the delivery of these objectives but also a consideration of the HRA’s longer term goals to enable the development of a new strategy.

Our finances

The HRA’s total revenue funding for 2019/20 is estimated to be £18,259k (2018/19: £15,990k). We receive most of our revenue funding directly from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). This funding, known as grant-in-aid (GIA), has been confirmed at £12,784k for 2019/20.

This includes funding to support:

  • 2018/19 Agenda for Change terms and conditions £120k
  • NHS Pensions increased employers’ contribution partly funded £264k
  • Research IT systems transformation to meet EU Exit preparedness requirements £4,500k

The balance comes from three other sources:

  • £200k from the Devolved Administrations as part of cost sharing arrangements for ethical review and UK wide research governance developments;
  • £66k from NHS Business Services Authority (BSA) and High Speed 2 (HS2) and as part of cost sharing arrangements for estates; and,
  • £1,000k non-cash revenue from the Department of Health and Social Care to fund depreciation costs.

The HRA is committed to providing value to the public purse. We achieve this in two ways:

  • Streamlining the research approval process, driving economies and efficiencies to the research sector (worth £4 billion* to the UK economy).
  • Achieving ‘more for less’ in our services and policy work, by improving processes, reducing duplication and using technology to add value and reduce costs

How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in the appointment of the Chair to the Health Research Authority.

To make an application please email your CV, a supporting letter and completed monitoring forms to: – please quote ref: VAC-1662 in the subject field.

If you are unable to apply by email you may send your application by post to:

Sally Brough-Hirst, Department of Health and Social Care, Room 1N09, Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7UE

Applications must be received by midday on 16 May 2019.

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 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 Health Research Authority 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 Health Research Authority or cause public confidence in the appointment to be jeopardised, it is important that you bring them to the attention of the 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 Health Research Authority and the role of the Chair please contact:

Mark Toal

Tel:  0207 210 2749


Please quote reference VAC-1662 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.

HRA VAC 1662 Information Pack FINAL
12.1 DHSC_Privacy-notice-v03
DHSC diversity & monitoring form (PA)
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