Chair of The National Archives' Board

Body: The National Archives
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: London
Skills required: Business / Commercial, IT / Digital, Transformation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: Approximately £20,000 per annum based on varying commitments.
Time Requirements: The time commitment may vary each month (and may be significantly higher during the initial induction period) but will be approximately 42 days per annum (to include meetings and preparation time).

This is not a ministerial appointment.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    24/10/2021 at 23:59

  • Panel Sift


  • First Stage Interviews

    w/c 18/10/2021

  • Orientation Meeting

    w/c 08/11/2021

  • Final Interview Date

    w/c 15/11/2021

  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description


The National Archives is a non-ministerial department and the official archive and publisher for the UK Government, and for England and Wales. We work to bring together and secure the future of the public record, both digital and physical, for future generations. Our collection is accessible to anyone all over the world.

We are many things to many audiences:

  • For government, we are the custodian of the public record and trusted experts in managing, preserving, and using and re-using information.
  • For the public, we provide access to more than 1,000 years of the nation’s histories and connect people and communities with the millions of stories contained in our collection.
  • For the archives sector, we provide leadership and support, helping archives to build the skills and capacity needed to sustain the nation’s archival heritage.
  • For the academic community and others engaged in scholarly research, we offer opportunities for working together across a broad range of disciplines – to provide solutions to our key challenges, and to open up greater access to our collection.


People. Possibilities. Integrity.


The National Archives is an equal opportunities employer, committed to equal opportunities policies. We particularly welcome people from all backgrounds so that our workforce mirrors the communities we serve. We welcome applications from anyone regardless of their age, disability, ethnicity, heritage, gender, sexuality, socio-economic background and political beliefs.


The National Archives’ Board is the key strategic advisory body of The National Archives, It advises and supports the Chief Executive and Keeper as accounting officer, providing scrutiny and challenge for strategic decision making.

As Chair you will work closely with the Chief Executive and Keeper to set the agenda for the Board. You will be the conduit between The National Archives’ Non-executive Board Members and the Chief Executive and Keeper, as well as senior officials at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) with whom you will meet at least annually. You will also work with other Chairs and senior officials within the DCMS ‘family’ of arms-length bodies.

The Chair of The National Archives’ Board will also chair the Nominations and Governance committee.


The Chair will:

  • Work with the Chief Executive and Keeper to agree the agenda for meetings of the Board and chair meetings of the Board;
  • Lead the annual assessment of Board performance and effectiveness and carry out annual performance appraisals, alongside the ongoing performance management of each Non-executive Board Member;
  • Meet on an annual basis, or as required, with senior officials at DCMS, to present the views of the Non-executive Board Members and set out any areas of concern;
  • Provide, as required by HM Treasury guidance, a Chair’s report in The National Archives’ annual report;
  • Play a lead role in the recruitment of the Chief Executive and Keeper, Non-executive Board Members and assisting on other senior appointments as required;
  • Foster proactive engagement amongst the Non-executive Board Members, meeting with them regularly and ensuring they appropriately meet with the Chief Executive and Keeper and other members of the Executive Team;
  • Chair the Nominations and Governance committee.

In addition, the Chair has the following leadership responsibilities:

  • Ensure that the Board, in its deliberations, takes proper account of guidance provided by the responsible minister or DCMS;
  • Promote the efficient and effective use of staff and other resources;
  • Deliver high standards of regularity and propriety;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity, inclusion and equality.

The Chair must also ensure that, in line with the requirements of the Corporate Governance Code for Central Government Departments and the Government Code of Good Practice for Corporate Governance:

  • The work of the Board and its members are reviewed and are working effectively;
  • The Board considers the effectiveness of the organisation’s governance;
  • The Board has a balance of skills appropriate to advising The National Archives’ business;
  • Board members are fully briefed on terms of appointment, duties, rights and responsibilities and new members are effectively inducted;
  • They, together with the other Board members, receive appropriate training on financial management and reporting requirements and on any differences that may exist between private and public sector practice;
  • There are Terms of Reference in place setting out the role and responsibilities of the Board.

As a Non-executive Board Member, they should:

  • Ensure The National Archives is setting a clear strategic direction across government, in all policy areas in which it is the lead department;
  • Strive to improve how The National Archives delivers its strategic aims and objectives and how effectively it meets new strategic challenges as they emerge;
  • Provide consistently strong and effective oversight of and support to the Chief Executive and Executive Directors Team in delivering The National Archives’ strategic aims and objectives;
  • Provide advice, guidance and challenge to the Chief Executive and Keeper and Executive Directors to support The National Archives’ senior leadership team;
  • Promote effective and transparent challenge through open debate on Board matters wherever necessary to achieve the best decisions and outcomes;
  • Actively encourage new and innovative ways of thinking at Board level, and across the organisation, including on the best use of new technology;
  • Ensure that the right strategic policies are in place to encourage and inspire the entire workforce to contribute to the organisation’s overall aims, reflecting the Civil Service’s core values;
  • Comply at all times with the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies, and with the rules relating to the use of public funds and conflicts of interest;
  • Not misuse information gained in the course of their public service for personal gain or for political profit, nor seek to use the opportunity of public service to promote their private interests or those of connected persons or organisations;
  • Comply with The National Archives’ rules on the acceptance of gifts and hospitality, and of business appointments;
  • Act in good faith and in the best interests of The National Archives, upholding the values of the organisation as well as those expressed in the Seven Principles of Public Life;
  • Ensure the right information and evidence is available to make decisions, measure performance and provide assurance;
  • Ensure responsible governance and give assurance of sound financial reporting and disclosure as a member of Audit and Risk Committee (if applicable), and as a member of the Nominations and Governance committee, determine the pay and bonus for Senior Civil Service (SCS) staff (other than the Chief Executive and Keeper).

Person Specification

Mindful of the ambitions set out in Archives for Everyone, we are also especially keen to hear from candidates with skills and experience in the following areas:

  • Commercial and entrepreneurial
  • Digital and IT
  • Organisational transformation

We are committed to better representing and reflecting the communities we serve and so we are keen to receive applications from candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds, including those traditionally less well represented at Board level.

Essential criteria:

  • Experience of leading a significant organisation or chairing a Board.
  • The personal qualities and strength necessary to chair The National Archives’ Board, providing support and advice to the Chief Executive and Keeper.
  • Demonstrable knowledge, skills or experience relevant to The National Archives’ strategic priorities.
  • A creative negotiator and rounded individual who has the time, enthusiasm and willingness to engage with our vision and our people.
  • Exceptional communication skills, high level of personal impact and the ability to provide constructive and independent challenge and support to the Board.
  • Independence of judgement, the capacity to bring a fresh, external view to decision-making, and an outstanding track record of board level career achievement.
  • Demonstrable track record of building and sustaining relationships with key stakeholders including the ability to respond to and reconcile the differing needs of those stakeholders.
  • Ability to analyse complex information, reach practical decisions and to think strategically.
  • Sound knowledge and experience of good governance at senior levels in a large or complex organisation in either the private, public or third sector, and/or an understanding of working with government.

As Chair of the Nominations and Governance Committee you will also meet the following additional criteria:

  • Experience of being a member of a Nominations and Governance committee or similar in a large or complex delivery organisation in either the public or private sectors.
  • Understanding of the impact of reward strategies for an organisation

Additional Information

The successful applicant will be offered a three-year contract, with the possibility of extension for a further two or three years. Re-appointment is not automatic.


There will be an annual appraisal of the Non-executive Board Members, including the Chair, as part of the board effectiveness review.


An offer of appointment will be made once all candidates have been interviewed, and will be subject to satisfactory completion of eligibility checks, including security. If you are offered an appointment you will receive a detailed summary of your main terms and conditions.


All candidates will be asked to disclose any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest, and these will be discussed with the candidate to establish whether and what action is needed to avoid a conflict or the perception of a conflict, taking account of advice received from the Cabinet Office Propriety and Ethics team as appropriate.


To avoid possible disappointment at a later stage, we recommend that you check you are eligible before applying:

  • Nationality – you must be a UK citizen, British protected person, a Commonwealth citizen, or a national of the European Economic Area (EEA), including nationals of the new member states.

How to Apply

The recruitment process is being undertaken by Inclusive Boards on behalf of The National Archives. If you wish to apply for this position, please supply the following by 23.59 on 24/10/2021:

  • A detailed CV setting out your career history, with responsibilities and achievements.
  • A covering letter (maximum two sides) highlighting your suitability for the role and how you meet the person specification. Please note that the covering letter is an important part of your application and will be assessed as part of your full application.
  • Please provide details of two professional referees together with a brief statement of their relationship to you and over what period of time they have known you.
  • Referees will not be contacted without your prior consent.
  • Diversity monitoring form – your data will be stored separately from your application and will at no time be connected to you or your application.
  • If you would like to discuss this role informally before applying, please call 0207 267 8369 to speak to one of our consultants.
  • First stage interview with Inclusive Boards Ongoing including w/c 18/10/2021
  • The National Archives Interview Process:
    • Orientation meeting – w/c 08/11/2021
    • Interviews – 17/11/2021
  • First board meeting: 10/01/2022
  • Due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions it is likely that interviews will take place via video conference

To submit a full application please send your CV and cover letter to: or visit, or click this link to apply via the Inclusive Boards website.


This post is NOT regulated by The Commissioner for Public Appointments.

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