Chair of the Students Loans Company Board

Body: Student Loans Company
Appointing Department: Department for Education
Sectors: Business, Finance & Skills, Charity & Public Sector, Education
Location: The board meets 10 times each year, meetings are generally held in Glasgow and also on occasion in London, Llandudno Junction and Darlington. The Chair will be expected to travel to these locations as necessary.
Skills required: Business / Commercial, Transformation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £50,000 per annum
Time Requirements: We expect the time demand on a non-executive Chair to be around 8 days per month, but may occasionally increase in exceptional circumstances.


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

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift

    Sift to take place 19 August. Notification letters issued

  • Final Interview Date

    Interviews will be conducted on 31st October and 1st November

  • Announcement

    16/03/2020 at 11:00

Please note the competition closing date has been extended to 13.08.19 As of 06.11.19 activities associated with this competition will be temporarily suspended owing to purdah restrictions. As of 28 01.20 deliberations are still ongoing. Further updates will be provided asap


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The SLC delivers finance to students to enable them to participate in education. It is a not-for-profit organisation which was set up in 1989. SLC’s role has expanded significantly over the last 30 years to incorporate a wide range of products and services and it is now one of Government’s most high-profile delivery bodies, which manages a loan book worth more than £117bn, processes more than 1.5 million new loan applications each year and holds data on 8 million borrowers.

The business model of the SLC is akin to that of a mid-tier UK financial services institution. It is incorporated as a company limited by shares under the Companies Act and is wholly in public ownership – with the department for Education (England) being the majority shareholder and the remaining shares held by the devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The SLC’s primary functions are:

  • providing loans and grants to students;
  • paying tuition fees to colleges, training providers and universities;
  • collecting repayments, through HMRC and direct from borrowers;
  • making maintenance payments to schools and further education students aged over 16 in NI and Wales;
  • maintaining data security;
  • providing back-office service to support securitised tranches of the loan book;
  • paying bursaries and scholarships on behalf of universities and colleges; and
  • running all the administration and processing associated with these activities.



The SLC service around 1.8 million applications per year, handle 4.6 million phone calls, make payments worth £18bn annually and manage over 8 million customers with loans totalling more than £117bn. SLC have sites across the UK; in Glasgow, Darlington and Llandudno Junction.

As non-executive Chair, you will be joining the SLC Board at a pivotal moment in the SLC’s history. The Company will face a number of challenges and opportunities during the coming months and years, including delivery of recommendations from the Post-18 Funding Review and the recommendations of the Tailored Review – which is attached to this specification. A key role for the Chair will be to work with the Board and oversee the executive to ensure that the resources and skills available to the Company are commensurate with its delivery obligations.

The SLC administers the data underpinning one of Government’s major assets: the Student Loan book. These data are supporting the sale of tranches of loans to monetise that asset for the benefit of the exchequer and taxpayers (£3.5bn raised to date) and there may be other opportunities to realise the value of the SLC’s data in the future.

The Company has recently commenced a major transformation programme which will radically overhaul SLC’s technology and working practices – allowing it to better engage with its digitally fluent user base. This transformation is still in its early stages – and will need careful oversight and scrutiny by the Board to ensure it achieves desired outcomes. Change management and supporting the executive to modernise the SLC over the next few years will be a key responsibility for the incoming Chair and the rest of the Board.


Governance Arrangements and the Role of the Chair

The SLC is led by a Board that consists of:

  • a non-executive Chair;
  • the Chief Executive;
  • the Deputy Chief Executive;
  • the Chief Finance Officer;
  • up to eight non-executive Directors; and
  • the Company Secretary.


Under the leadership of the Chair, the Board will need to ensure it continues to have the right balance of skills and experience which allow it to direct SLC’s business, whilst providing support and constructive challenge to the executive leadership Team. The Chair will need to demonstrate high standards of corporate governance at all times, provide assurance on risk management and internal control, and ensure that best practice is followed. As a public body, the Chair will also need to ensure the Company is both compliant and acting within all financial and governance controls set by HM Government. The specific roles and responsibilities of the Board and its members are set out the SLC Framework Document, here:

The Chair of the SLC Board has the usual fiduciary duties associated with a director of a UK Company, but is also answerable to the Minister for Higher Education. This relationship is one of the primary formal communication channels between SLC and its parent department. Striking the right balance between the Board exercising its fiduciary duties and acting on instructions from its shareholders will be a key task for the Chair. The Minister for Higher Education writes to the SLC’s Chair annually on behalf of all four Shareholders setting out their strategic priorities for the year. This is a key document and will form the basis for the Chair’s own objectives.

The Chair will support the Chief Executive to ensure that the shareholders’ policies are delivered, and clearly communicated and disseminated throughout the SLC. In line with Framework Document, the Chair will be expected to:

  • chair meetings of the Board (usually 10 per year);
  • provide leadership and strategic guidance to the Company;
  • assess, and hold to account, the performance of the Chief Executive Officer;
  • develop and maintain effective relationships with stakeholders, including Government, the higher education sector and the devolved administrations – this will include acting on the Company’s behalf and representing its interests in its dealings with stakeholders at the highest level, including with Ministers;
  • conduct regular skills audits of the Board, to ensure it retains the necessary balance of the expertise required to support the work of the organisation; and
  • ensure the SLC meets its statutory, legal and regulatory obligations, and delivers against its core purposes.


Person Specification

We are looking for an exceptional candidate who has a track record of leadership at a senior Board level and the credibility and authority with which to engage with senior officials and Ministers. Throughout the application and interview stage, candidates will need to demonstrate how they meet all the following essential criteria:

  • experience operating as a Chair at senior Board or Committee level in a complex, challenging and high-profile environment;
  • a track record of providing strategic direction, independent judgement and effective decision making;
  • experience of the people, culture, technology and operational requirements that lead to transformational change in a complex and high-stakes operation;
  • the ability to communicate effectivelyat all levels; creating and maintaining effective relationshipswith a wide range of stakeholders and customers that have diverse interests.


In addition, throughout all stages of the application process, the Panel will be keen to understand whether candidates fulfil any of the following desirable criteria:

  • an understanding of what ‘good governance’ looks like in a regulated public sector environment gained through working with HM Government or the wider public sector;
  • an understanding of the needs of the devolved administrations and devolved decision making;
  • knowledge and experience of working in or with the modern digital economy;
  • experience operating as a senior (ideally main Board level) executive in a financial services organisation or processing business with assess, pay and repayment functions.


Additional Information

Board Meetings

This non-executive Chair will be required to attend Board meetings (10 per year), Board Sub-Committee meetings and other ad-hoc meetings as required. Board meetings are generally held in Glasgow and also on occasion held in London, Llandudno Junction and Darlington. The Chair will be expected to travel to these locations as necessary.


Diversity and Equal Opportunities

The Department for Education is committed to the principle of making public appointments based on merit with openness, fairness and equal opportunities for all. Applications are welcome from all, but we particularly encourage applications from women, people from an ethnic minority, people with disabilities and other underrepresented groups. Both UK nationals and international candidates are encouraged to apply.

We ask that all applicants complete an anonymised diversity monitoring form used for data gathering information in order to ensure departments are recruiting from the widest possible pool.


Due Diligence Checks

Due diligence checks, including referencing, will be conducted on all applicants at the sift stage of the recruitment process.



Reasonable expenses for travel and subsistence incurred whilst carrying out the responsibilities of the post will be reimbursed and subject to the Student Loan Company’s travel and expenses policy.



The post is not pensionable.

Term of appointment

An expectation of up to two three-year terms, with renewal after the first term subject to satisfactory performance appraisal.

Further Information

If you wish to discuss the role please contact who will


How to Apply

Please submit the following documents by email to:


  1. A covering letter of no more than two sides of A4 paper (in Arial size 12 font), stating how you meet each essential and desirable criteria for the role.
  2. A CV
  3. Candidate Application Form
  4. Diversity form
  5. Guaranteed Interview Scheme form (if applicable)

Please include the heading “SLC Chair Application” in the subject box. If submitting your     application by email, please submit your application documents as separate attachments.


Alternatively, you can send your application via post to:


HR, Public Appointments

Ground Floor

Bishopsgate House





Please note the following.

  • We cannot accept applications submitted after the closing date.
  • Applications will be assessed on the documentation provided. Please refer to the advert and checklist to ensure you have provided the necessary documentation.
  • We will assess it based solely on documentation provided. Applications will be acknowledged upon receipt.
  • Feedback will only be given to candidates unsuccessful following interview.


Diversity Monitoring Form
GIS Form
Public Appointments Privacy Notice
Candidate Application Form
Applicant Pack Chair of the SLC
Return to Search