Chair of the Social Mobility Commission

Body: Social Mobility Commision
Appointing Department: Department for Education
Sector: Education
Location: The Chair will not be required to work from a specific location. However, it will be necessary to attend meetings and events across the UK which may require overnight stays.
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: This post is unremunerated. However, reasonable expenses will be reimbursed, including travel expenses and subsistence. As a post holder appointed for a limited duration, you will not be eligible for compensation upon the ending of your appointment.
Time Requirements: The Chair will be expected to prepare for Commission meetings and liaise with the Secretariat outside meetings. The Chair will be expected to spend approximately three days per month on Commission business: this will be agreed between the Chair, Deputy Chair and other members of the board.


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

Dame Martina Milburn has been appointed Chair of the Social Mobility Commission. The Social Mobility Commission monitors progress towards improving social mobility in the UK, and promotes social mobility in England. It is an advisory non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Education.

Dame Martina was appointed for a 5 year period from 13 July 2018. The terms of appointment involve an estimated time commitment of 3 days a month.

The appointment was 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 and conflicts of interest (if any is declared) to be made public. Dame Martina has not declared any political activity. She declared that she is a non-executive director of the National Citizen Service in her application, although she is now stepping down from that role.

Date: 16/07/2018

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Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closing Date Extended

    Please note that the closing date has been extended from 25.02.18 to 30.03.18.

  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift

    Sift now confirmed as 12th April

  • Final Interview Date

    Interviews will be conducted on 3rd May

  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

This is an exciting opportunity to fundamentally shape the social mobility agenda. The Chair leads the Social Mobility Commission, shaping its direction and priorities, and ensuring that it fulfils its remit, as set out in legislation.

You will:

  • utilise the knowledge and experience of the other Commissioners, actively engaging them with the business of the Commission;
  • oversee major research reports and publications, including the Commission’s Annual Report, which is laid before parliament;
  • build effective working relationships with a range of stakeholders, including Ministers, senior government officials and experts in the field (including engaging Ministers in the Commission’s priorities and, potentially, being asked to advise Ministers on particular issues);
  • be an advocate for the social mobility agenda, holding to account and challenging key institutions; and
  • be the public spokesperson for the Commission, regularly speaking at events and to the media.

Person Specification

The successful candidate will be responsible for fulfilling the Commission’s functions, including by building and maintaining effective working relationships with Ministers, the Deputy Chair, other members of the Commission, and the Secretariat, to ensure the remit of the Commission is fulfilled fully, promptly, and properly. Candidates must be able to demonstrate the following experience and skills:

  1. A proven, credible track record of commitment to improving social mobility, and an in-depth and up-to-date understanding of the issues relating to this area.
  2. Experience of working effectively with business, in order to support the department’s goal of building a coalition for social mobility with business and beyond, and supporting our ambitions of high quality post-16 education choices for all young people and everyone achieving their potential in rewarding careers.
  3. A track record of: building excellent relationships with a range of audiences; strong leadership; negotiation; persuasion; communication; advocacy; diplomacy skills; and of challenging and influencing high-level decision makers in a range of public, private and voluntary organisations.
  4. The ability to think strategically about wider social mobility issues, working with a range of individuals, communities and organisations to set strategic direction for achieving social mobility within the wider policy context to achieve results, for example, in housing, education, or family support.
  5. Personal integrity, with commitment to maintaining high standards in public life and promoting sound corporate governance.

Additional Information

The appointment will be made by Ministers for a period of no longer than five years, subject to a satisfactory annual review. Reappointments beyond the five year term are subject to clearance by the Prime Minister.


The Chair’s appointment will be appraised in an annual review by a nominated Department for Education representative.

How to Apply

To apply for this post, please submit:

  • an up-to-date copy of your CV; and
  • a supporting statement (two sides of A4 maximum) that explains your interest in the role and addresses the criteria set out in the person specification, using examples to demonstrate how you meet the requirements.

Please also:

  • provide your home, work, mobile and e-mail contact details;
  • provide the names, positions, organisations and contact details for two referees, one of whom should be your current or most recent employer. If you do not wish us to approach your referees without your prior permission, please state this clearly; and
  • return the:
    • declaration of interest form at Annex A;
    • political activity questionnaire at Annex B;
    • (if relevant) Guaranteed Interview Scheme Declaration at Annex C; and
    • public appointment diversity monitoring form at Annex D.


  •  Your proposal must arrive by the deadline. Late applications will not be considered.Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an email to confirm that you have applied
  • Your application must be submitted in a format that is compatible with Word 2016/PDF Adobe Reader. Please use Arial font 12 in all communications.
  • Your application and all accompanying documentation and information must be sent as separate annexes to to arrive by 23:00 on 30th March 2018. Please quote reference ‘Social Mobility Commission (SMC) Chair 2018’ in the subject line on all applications.
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