Chair of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA)

Body: The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA)
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: Central London. These are held remotely at present, with a view to establish hybrid meetings.
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: This post is not salaried. However, Committee members’ travel expenses, incurred through attending meetings, are paid in line with Arts Council policy.
Time Requirements: Approximately 10 to 12 meetings a year (usually held on a Wednesday of each month) which may last up to a day. In addition, the Chair will need to put aside time to consider casework and policy issues and liaise with the Secretariat, entailing a possible further 8 hours per month.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport seeks applications for the appointment of Chair to the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest.



The Committee is a non-statutory, independent advisory body whose main role is to advise the Secretary of State whether a cultural object which is the subject of an export licence is of national importance under the ‘Waverley criteria’. These are as follows:


History  Aesthetics  Scholarship
Is it closely connected with our history and national life?  Is it of outstanding aesthetic importance?  Is it of outstanding significance for the study of some particular branch of art, learning or history?
Waverley 1 Waverley 2 Waverley 3


The Committee reaches a view on the merits of any object which one of the Secretary of State’s expert advisers refers to it. If the Committee finds that an item meets at least one of the Waverley criteria, it will recommend to the Secretary of State that the decision on the export licence should be deferred for a specified period. This will allow institutions and private individuals in the UK a chance to raise the money to purchase the item to enable it to remain in this country.


In 2018-19 & 2019-20, 45 cases were considered by the Committee, with 35 of these recommended for deferral. In all, 12 items worth £7.6m were saved for collections throughout the UK. (For Annual Reports of these and earlier years see 

2022 marks the 70th anniversary of the Waverley Report (1952) which led to the founding of the Committee. This is an occasion to celebrate and communicate widely the work of the Committee and its public impact. It is also an opportunity to take stock and ensure the Committee’s work remains relevant and responsive moving forward amid changes in wider society and the  cultural sector. This builds on recent work to introduce the ‘binding offers’ process which became law on 1st January 2021 aimed at enabling more items to find homes across the UK. 


Arts Council England (Museums & Cultural Property team) provides the Secretariat and administrative support for the Committee and hosts the latter’s webpages on its website.


Membership and terms of reference of the Committee

The Committee consists of eight permanent members, seven of whom have particular expertise in one or more subject areas such as paintings, furniture, and manuscripts, and a Chair. Its terms of reference are as follows:


  • To advise on the principles which should govern the control of export of objects of cultural interest under the Export Control Act 2002 and on the operation of the export control system generally;


  • To advise the Secretary of State on all cases where refusal of an export licence for an object of cultural interest is suggested on grounds of national importance;


  • To advise in cases where a special Exchequer grant is needed towards the purchase of an object that would otherwise be exported. 



The Committee’s webpages are here:

The most recent Reviewing Committee Annual Report (a 2018-29 & 2019-20 double issue) can be found here:

A Recruitment pack with supporting information on the Committee’s work is attached.


Person Specification

The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate:

  • The ability to be an effective Chair, based on sound leadership abilities, and relevant previous experience with committees or in a similar collegiate situation; to Chair meetings in person, virtually, or hybrid;
  • A thorough understanding of and a clear commitment to delivery of the Committee’s remit, including familiarity with the legal issues related to the Committee’s work;
  • An interest in the UK’s movable cultural heritage, a broad understanding of its variety and range and the issues surrounding its protection.
  • An ability to assess objectively and lead the Committee to come to an evidenced judgement on whether cultural objects brought before the Reviewing Committee meet the Waverley criteria;
  • An acknowledgement of art’s important role in teaching us about our past and the need sometimes to contextualise or reinterpret, but never erase;
  • The ability to act as a credible advocate for the Committee and liaise with DCMS and ACE Communications teams;
  • A strong commitment to engaging communities outside of London, and factoring UK-wide perspectives into all decision making.
  • An openness to reviewing new ways of working, in the context of continuous improvement and an ongoing commitment to ensure the scheme works effectively and efficiently for all stakeholders


Additional Information

About DCMS
Our department operates at the heart of government on some of the UK’s biggest economic and social issues. Our mission is to drive growth, enrich lives and promote the UK to the world. We champion innovation and creativity. From the Arts to Artificial Intelligence, a quarter of UK businesses are in our sectors, and are among the fastest growing of our economy. Emerging technology is opening up new possibilities for human endeavour and self-expression. But we need to harness it, create new norms for the online world and build a strong civil society so that the benefits are shared by all. Our actions over more than 25 years of DCMS have become woven into the fabric of our nation. Today we continue to shape the world we want to live in – building a future fit for everyone.

DCMS is a ministerial department, supported by 45 agencies and public bodies.


This appointments process adheres to the Cabinet Office Governance Code on Public Appointments, which is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. 

All applicants are expected to abide by the Seven Principles of Public Life. 


Eligibility Criteria 

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  • you become bankrupt or make an arrangement with a creditor
  • 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 1986;
  • 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.


Conflicts of Interest and Due Diligence

If you have any interests that might be relevant to the work of RCEWA, and which could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest if you were to be appointed, please provide details in your application. If you have queries about this and would like to discuss further please contact the Public Appointments Team.

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 will 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 the Cabinet Office.



Expenses incurred by external candidates during the recruitment process will not be reimbursed, except in exceptional circumstances, and only when agreed in advance.


If you are not completely satisfied

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy. If you have any complaints about the way your application has been handled, please contact

RCEWA Chair - role specification
Declaration of Conflicts of Interest Form
RCEWA Chair recruitment pack
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