Chair of the British Pharmacopoeia Commission (BPC) VAC-1711

Body: British Pharmacopoeia Commission (BPC)
Appointing Department: Department of Health
Sector: Health
Location: London
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: Remuneration will be £500 per meeting
Time Requirements: There is a time commitment of three BPC meetings per year. The Chair will also attend three 2-day meetings, and two 1-day meetings per year.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    02/03/2021 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description


Role of the Chair

  • To chair effectively the BPC to ensure that it fulfils its duties under the Human Medicines Regulations with respect to preparation of the British Pharmacopoeia, the British Pharmacopoeia (Veterinary) and British Approved Names;
  • to assist Ministers in discharging their obligations under the Convention on the Elaboration of a European Pharmacopoeia;
  • to chair the meetings of the BPC, both scheduled (usually 3 one-day meetings per year) or unscheduled, act as its spokesperson and ensure that the proceedings of the BPC run smoothly and efficiently so that it can complete its business in a timely manner;
  • to ensure that all the views of the BPC members are captured and explored and that all outcomes of discussions are clearly identified;
  • to ensure that the minutes of meetings, prepared by the Secretariat, accurately record the discussions and decisions taken and to sign, on behalf of the BPC, a copy of the agreed minutes to form a permanent record of the BPC’s business;
  • to conduct annual appraisals of BPC members’ performance;
  • to ensure that all BPC members comply with the Code of Practice on Declaring Interests in the Pharmaceutical Industry and complete the annual declaration of interests form in a timely manner;
  • to assist in the appointment of new members of the Commission;
  • to ensure that new members of the BPC are adequately briefed when appointed;
  • to provide formal and informal advice to Ministers between meetings when required;
  • to attend sessions of the European Pharmacopoeia Commission as part of the United Kingdom delegation; sessions may be scheduled (usually 3 two-day sessions per year) or unscheduled.


Person Specification

Qualities required for the role of the Chair

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.

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

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 their peers as an eminent member of their profession and have wide and recent experience of and shown capacity in at least one of the following activities:
  • the practice of analytical chemistry
  • the practice of pharmacy
  • the biological sciences
  • herbal medicine
  • academic research and teaching
  • medicines standardisation/control
  • the practice or control of veterinary medicines
  • the hospital service
  • Possess an in-depth understanding of the purpose and function of a pharmacopoeia and its place in the overall regulatory system (UK and Europe).
  • Be aware of the factors that influence international pharmacopoeial activities and their potential impact at national level.
  • Have the ability to Chair a committee/board effectively;
  • Be both impartial and objective.
  • Have no interests in the pharmaceutical industry (i.e. shares, consultancy fees, etc) or will confirm willingness to relinquish all such interests prior to appointment.


Additional Information

BPC’s roles and responsibilities

The British Pharmacopoeia Commission was established in 1970 under Section 4 of the Medicines Act 1968 (superseded by the Human Medicines Regulations 2012). It is an Advisory Non-Departmental Public Body, sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care. As such, it has no staff but is supported by a Secretariat from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It has strong links with the wider MHRA, the National Institute of Biological Standards and Control, the pharmaceutical industry and academia.

The key role of the BPC is the preparation of the annual editions of the British Pharmacopoeia (BP), which is widely recognised as one of the leading global pharmacopoeias. The publicly available and legally enforceable pharmacopoeial standards are designed to complement and assist the licensing and inspection processes and are part of the system for safeguarding purchasers and users of medicinal products.

The BPC has responded to the changing pharmaceutical environment, to changes in priorities for the European Pharmacopoeia Commission and to the changes taking place within the MHRA to ensure that the agency is fit for the future. This includes supporting innovation and ensuring the safe production and supply of medicines. Current strategic priorities for the BPC include the development of appropriate standards for biological medicines, particularly in the area of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products, a comprehensive review of the BP portfolio, both in terms of written and physical standards, significant improvements to the BP website and the potential application of Analytical Quality by Design principles to the development of national monographs. The BPC plays a significant role in the work of the European Pharmacopoeia, contributing to the development of policies and monographs for that pharmacopoeia, and works closely with other national and international pharmacopoeias.

Over the last year the BPC has supported the wider healthcare response to the Covid-19 pandemic by ensuring continued access to BP standards and maintaining the supply of supporting reference substances. Further information can be found on the Covid-19 page of the BP website (The BP and Coronavirus).

Members of the BPC also serve on the Expert Advisory Groups and Panels of Experts responsible for developing national monographs, thereby ensuring that the strategic priorities of the BP Commission are implemented within these groups. All members are required to comply with the Code of Practice on Declaring Interests in the Pharmaceutical Industry.

An annual report, highlighting the work of the BPC, is published each year. The most recent report is for 2019 (Annual Report 2019).

For further information, see the BP website (


Further Information from Professor Kevin Taylor (outgoing Chair)

What does the role of Chair of the BPC involve?

The Chair has significant responsibilities, and is often the figurehead and spokesperson for the BP.

A key role is to provide leadership to the BPC, ensuring the preparation of appropriate new and revised texts for the British Pharmacopoeia, which is published each year. This requires fostering constructive and productive relationships between Commission members, the BP Secretariat, BP Laboratory staff, and members of the BP’s Expert Advisory Groups and Panels of Experts. The Chair will draw upon their own (and others’) knowledge and experience of the international regulatory and pharmacopoeial landscapes, and their understanding of therapeutic and analytical developments, to ensure the strategic positioning of the BP to enhance its international standing.

What have been the highlights of your time on the Commission?

As I near the end of my second term as Chair, I realise how much I have enjoyed the experience. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to work with a really committed group of Commissioners and BP staff dedicated to maintaining the BP as an international pharmacopoeia with a reputation for innovation, high quality standards, and for engaging actively with its users.

In thinking about the many changes and developments at the BP during my time as Chair, highlights include the great improvements to the BP website over the years, and the way the BP has forged an international reputation for leading on pharmacopoeial developments in new areas, such as developing standards for biological medicines and analytical quality by design.

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