Chair of NHS England

Body: NHS England
Appointing Department: Department of Health and Social Care
Sector: Health and Social Care
Location: London
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The NHSE Chair is remunerated at a standard rate of £63,000 per annum.
Time Requirements: 2 to 3 days per week


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

Lord David Prior has been appointed as chair of NHS England for 4 years from 31 October 2018.

The appointment will involve a time commitment of 2 to 3 days per week. Remuneration for the role will be at a rate of £63,000 per year.

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 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. Lord Prior was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health in the Conservative government between 2015 and 2017, and has taken the Conservative Whip in the House of Lords since taking his seat in 2015. Lord Prior has decided to accept the Health Select Committee’s recommendations made in the Committee’s report of the pre-appointment hearing.

Date: 01/10/2018

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Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    21/05/2018 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement


Appointment subject to pre-appointment scrutiny - hearing took place on the 10 September 2018.


Assessment Panel

  • Sir Chris Wormald Added 18/04/2018

    Panel Chair

    Permanent Secretary, Department of Health and Social Care • Departmental Official

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  • John Manzoni Added 18/04/2018

    Chief Executive of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office • Departmental Official

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  • Kate Lampard Added 18/04/2018

    Department of Health and Social Care NED • Other Panel Member

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  • Libby Watkins Added 18/04/2018

    Senior Independent Panel Member

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  • Baroness Dido Harding Added 11/06/2018

    Chair of NHS Improvement • Other Panel Member

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Vacancy Description


The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is looking to appoint a Chair to the NHS England Board.

Role and Responsibilities of the the chair

 The primary objective of the Chair is to ensure the strategic direction of NHS England, the body responsible for arranging the provision of health services in England, is aligned to wider Government healthcare policy and that members of the NHS England Board, the senior decision making structure of the organisation, are accountable to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Parliament and ultimately patients, for organisational performance.

In order to deliver this objective the Chair will be required to:

  • Provide leadership and strategic oversight throughout the Board’s decision making processes, ensuring affairs are conducted with probity, and that policies and actions support the Board to discharge its functions and duties effectively, in the interests of patients, so that they meet the requirements of the NHS England Mandate and Five Year Forward View.
  • Hold the executive to account for performance. Oversee, scrutinise and enhance already high standards of corporate governance and assurance reporting.
  • Provide strategic oversight and scrutiny of organisational performance, ensuring all operational commitments are delivered and strike the right financial balance throughout.
  • Provide direction to board members on organisational performance issues and ensure the right balance of skills mix and expertise so that the board can complete duties and requirements.
  • Set an example of integrity and ethical leadership for the organisation. Ensure the board assesses the values of the organisation and sets a high ethical standard, reinforcing its reputation as an open and independent body, which puts the interests of the public and patients first.
  • Be responsible for the annual assessment of individual performance by the Chief Executive and the Board’s Non-Executive Directors, highlighting areas for growth and setting clear and achievable objectives.
  • Chair board meetings; envisage and then rank the key political and strategic priorities for discussion; determine the quality and quantity of information required to advise the conversation; and foster an environment for constructive challenge and cooperation amongst senior colleagues, ultimately steering them to a level of collective agreement.
  • Ensure the effective induction and development of new Non-Executive Directors and the continuous development of the Board’s capability.
  • Represent the Board in the public arena at a senior level, alongside the Chief Executive, Non-Executive Directors and Executive Team. Maintain and promote the work of the Board through stakeholder engagement, developing the NHS Constitution and ensuring commitment from external bodies on cross organisational priorities.
  • Provide counsel, advice and support to the Chief Executive in particular, and to other Directors; playing the role of mentor/coach, “critical friend” and where necessary acting as a sounding board for potential proposals and ideas.
  • Establish productive working relationships with a range of key stakeholders including Ministers, senior public officials from across Government, as well as leaders from the wider UK healthcare system, local authorities, regulatory bodies and the media. Likewise building and maintaining strong relations with the main patient and public constituencies and ensuring their views are consulted in policy decisions will be key.


Person Specification

 Qualities required for the role of the NHS England Chair

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.

 Essential criteria:

  • Strong strategic leadership skills, with a significant record of achievement at the highest levels in the public or private sectors, with recent senior experience in the private sector welcomed.
  • An understanding of the pivotal role NHS England plays in improving health and care outcomes for patients and the public
  • Ability to lead the Board of a major national organisation, delivering robust board level governance and accountability, and developing executive and board performance
  • Experience of, and commitment to, evidence-based analysis and evaluation
  • Excellent communicator, with an ability to collaborate effectively to lead change in a large, complex system


Additional Information

NHS England was established by the Health and Social Care Act 2012. It was set up on a transitional basis in November 2011, under its original title of the NHS Commissioning Board Authority. It assumed some initial responsibilities in October 2012, and its full responsibilities on 1 April 2013. It is the first time in its history that responsibility for the operations of the NHS has been transferred to an independent board established by primary legislation.

NHS England shares responsibility with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care for promoting a comprehensive health system in England, to secure improvement in physical and mental health, and in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of ill-health. The 2012 Act establishes the relationship through a Mandate, which is the means by which the Secretary of State specifies the objectives that NHS England is expected to deliver. The Mandate is reviewed annually, and may not be amended during the year without special reason. The 2018/19 mandate purposefully rolls forward with minimal change the objectives, 2020 goals and annual deliverables from the 2017-18 mandate. The only substantial change is to extend an existing objective to include support for implementation of EU Exit with regards to health and care.

There are bimonthly accountability meetings between the Secretary of State and the Chair of the Board, and the agenda and the minutes are published. NHS England is also required to report annually on its performance against the Mandate.

Although the Mandate establishes the formal relationship, there is regular informal liaison between NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care, as there is with the various other Arm’s Length Bodies with interdependent responsibilities, including the Care Quality Commission, NHS Improvement, Public Health England, NICE and Health Education England.

Mode of operation

From the outset, NHS England has committed itself to an open and transparent style. The Board is a unitary board, in which both non-executives and executive members work as a team. Its formal business meetings are conducted in public and are web cast live. Each meeting is followed by a private meeting for reserved business as required. Much preparatory work is also done by members of the Board in informal development sessions. Recent sessions have covered such subjects as developing criteria for assessing proposals for the devolution of health responsibilities to cities and regions; a strategic framework for commissioning and initiatives to improve our arrangements for patient and public involvement in all our work.


NHS England has responsibility for the commissioning of health care in England and, under the Mandate, to invest its annual budget (of approximately £107 billion) to bring about measurable improvements in health outcomes for the population. Most of the commissioning in terms of expenditure is undertaken by the 211 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) that were set up under the 2012 Act. NHS England allocates approximately £76 billion to the CCGs. NHS England did not itself set up the CCGs – they were self-determining in this respect – but it did put them through a rigorous authorisation process, and oversees their performance against plans prepared by them and agreed with NHS England’s respective area teams.

The remaining commissioning is undertaken by NHS England directly, and includes primary care (general practice, community pharmacy, dentistry and optometry services), some specialist services, including justice and military; and around £13 billion of specialised commissioning, which includes some 140 different clinical specifications which are of such rarity, or require such skilled teams and/or advanced technology, as to make it necessary for them to be commissioned nationally rather than locally. Highly specialised hospitals, such as Great Ormond Street in London, may earn over 70% of their NHS income through this route.

Current state of play

In October 2014, NHS England, in partnership with the other Arm’s length bodies published the NHS Five Year Forward View, which sets out a collective vision of how the NHS needs to change if it is to close the widening gaps between healthcare needs, funding and the quality of services.

The Five Year Forward View is clear that the continued success of the NHS will require a combination of strategies that span the usual means of enhanced efficiency and procurement, in conjunction with radical transformation of NHS services. NHS England is taking a leading role in the realisation of the changes in the Five Year Forward View.

The challenge to NHS England over the coming years is, working closely with the Secretary of State and the other arm’s length bodies, to deliver the transformation of healthcare in England, wrapped around the needs of empowered patients, and focused upon world-class excellence. The Board is committed to ever increasing emphasis upon compassionate care, fully informed by the needs and wishes of patients and their carers, and reinforced by more effective use, analysis and transfer of data across the NHS, and the transformational power of the new technologies and applications that are currently being developed in healthcare.

In March 2017, NHS England published ‘Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View’, again in partnership with the other ALBs. This summarised progress since the publication of the Forward View and set specific goals for service improvement in 2017/18 and 2018/19.

NHS England is working increasingly closely with NHS Improvement. A Non-Executive Director of NHS Improvement has recently been appointed to serve as an Associate NED on the Board of NHS England, with a reciprocal arrangement on the NHS Improvement Board. It is proposed to publish plans for closer joint working between the two organisations in March 2018.

Along with the additional £2.8billion of funding provided for the NHS in Budget 2017, the Government’s decision to maintain a stable mandate for 2018-19 will support NHS England, and the wider NHS, to recover performance on important patient access standards.  At the same time, progress on existing Five Year Forward View commitments – including on transforming services for cancer, mental health and primary care – will be maintained.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are encouraging local NHS organisations to work together in Integrated Care Systems (ICSs).  Integrated Care Systems are those in which commissioners and NHS providers, working closely with GP networks, local authorities and other partners, agree to take shared responsibility (in ways that are consistent with their individual legal obligations) for how they operate their collective resources for the benefit of local populations.


How to Apply


The Department of Health and Social Care’s Appointments and Honours Team is managing this recruitment campaign on behalf of NHS England. To make an application please email your CV, a supporting letter and completed monitoring forms to: – please quote ref: E17-65 in the subject field.

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

Daniel Clemence Department of Health and Social Care, Room 1N09, Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7UE

Applications must be received by midday on 21 May 2018. 


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 particular 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.


The Department of Health and Social Care has appointed Odgers Berndtson to provide executive search support to this recruitment campaign.  For an informal discussion about the role, please contact:

Carmel Gibbons

Tel: 020 7529 1128



Donna Fendick, PA to Carmel Gibbons

Tel: 020 7529 6314





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