Commissioners on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission

Body: Commissioners on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom (CSC)
Appointing Department: Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office
Sector: Education
Location: The Commission’s Secretariat is based at the Association of Commonwealth Universities, (ACU), in Tavistock Square, London where meetings are held. (meetings are currently held virtually). Events for scholars are held throughout the UK.
Number of Vacancies: 4
Remuneration: The role of Commissioner is unremunerated, although out-of-pocket expenses are reimbursed in line with CSC policies. Commissioners also receive an honorarium, currently £300, in respect of each selection committee meeting in which they participate.
Time Requirements: Commissioners are expected to devote a minimum time commitment of 12-15 days per annum to the role (excluding travel time), and this may be higher in the case of those who chair Committees.


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

The following candidates have been appointed as Commissioners on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.

Prof. James Smith
Prof. Kevin Ibeh
Prof. Parmjit Singh Jat
Ms Anisa Dhanji

Date: 10/02/2021

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date

    Interviews are provisionally expected to take place on 9th and 15th December 2020 and will be held in London or online using a virtual platform.

  • Announcement

    10/02/2021 at 17:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description


The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) seeks to appoint four new Commissioners to take up office on 1 January 2021. Commissioners are appointed by the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, following a recruitment process carried out in line with the code of practice issued by the Commissioner of Public Appointments. Each appointment is for a term of three years, from the specified start date, with the possibility of renewal for one further term. The maximum number of Commissioners at any one time is 15, including the Chair.

Job description

Commissioners are expected to contribute to a range of functions which help to ensure that the CSC makes a relevant, high quality, and efficient contribution. The main functions are as follows:

Collective functions

Commissioners have corporate responsibility for ensuring that the CSC fulfils the aims and objectives set by its sponsoring department, FCDO, and for promoting the efficient and effective use of staff and other resources. Commissioners are expected to:

  • Ensure that individuals are selected for Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships on merit, and on the basis of clear criteria which reflect the objectives of FCDO and, where appropriate, other sponsoring departments.
  • Commissioners ensure that all Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships are awarded under six development-related themes:
    • Science and technology for development
    • Strengthening health systems and capacity
    • Promoting global prosperity
    • Strengthening global peace, security and governance
    • Strengthening resilience and response to crises
    • Access, inclusion and opportunity
  • Establish the overall strategic direction of the CSC within the policy and resources framework determined by FCDO
  • Ensure that FCDO and other relevant funding bodies are kept informed of any changes which are likely to impact on the strategic direction of the CSC or on the attainability of its targets, and determine the steps needed to deal with such changes
  • Ensure that any statutory or administrative requirements for the use of public funds are complied with; that the CSC operates within the limits of its statutory authority and any delegated authority agreed with FCDO, and in accordance with any other conditions relating to the use of public funds; and that, in reaching decisions, the CSC takes account of guidance issued by FCDO;
  • Ensure that mechanisms are in place to review regular financial information concerning the management of the CSC; and that the CSC has sufficient information to perform its functions and is able to provide positive assurance to FCDO that appropriate action has been taken on any concerns which it has expressed on the activities of the CSC
  • Act in a way that promotes high standards of public finance, including the promotion of regularity, propriety, value for money and feasibility
  • Demonstrate high standards of corporate governance at all times, including by using the audit committee to help them to address the key financial and other risks facing the CSC.

Individual functions

In addition to the above, Commissioners are expected to contribute expertise and judgement, and to fulfil their role in a manner consistent with the standards expected of public office holders. They are expected to:

  • Participate in CSC policymaking and strategy development, though participation in full Commission meetings (currently three half days per year)
  • Contribute actively to at least one Commission Committee (currently finance, awards policy, evaluation and monitoring, and audit and risk management), and/or take on a ‘Lead Commissioner’ role, as agreed with the Chair
  • Participate in the selection of award holders, through participation in selection committees (typically three to four days per year, plus five to nine days for reading and preparation time)
  • Attend an initial briefing with the Chair and/or CSC Secretariat, and meet at least annually with the Chair as part of the CSC’s appraisal process
  • Attend occasional events with award holders and other stakeholders, such as the annual Welcome and Farewell Events and other activities as part of the Scholar engagement programme
  • Comment and contribute to CSC policy, and actively promote the work of the Commission, between formal meetings, as the opportunity arises and in accordance with their areas of expertise.
  • Comply with the CSC Code of Conduct, and with relevant rules relating to the use of public funds and to conflict of interest
  • Comply with the CSC’s policy on the acceptance and giving of gifts and hospitality, and other benefits
  • Comply with all CSC Policies and Procedures and uphold best practice
  • Act in good faith and in the best interests of the CSC at all times
  • Commissioners must not misuse information gained in the course of their public service for personal gains 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.

Person Specification

Person and skills specification

The CSC requires a range of skills and knowledge at its disposal and appreciates that the balance between these will vary amongst Commissioners. However, in order to fulfil the above functions, Commissioners will need to draw on some or all the following:


It is expected that all successful candidates will demonstrate:

  • An interest and expertise in higher education issues (it is anticipated that some priority will be given to candidates with a distinguished academic background).
  • Expertise/clear interest in international development issues, and the challenges faced by countries whose academic systems and research culture is still emerging
  • Skills and experience to contribute to the selection of candidates for scholarships and fellowships
  • The ability to think strategically, contribute to team discussions, and challenge assumptions in a constructive manner
  • At least two places will be offered to candidates with a background in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)


The CSC has identified a number of skills gaps amongst its current membership. Candidates who could address these, in addition to the essential skills described above, would be particularly welcome. Areas that are particularly sought include:

  • Practical experience in the field of international development
  • Skills/experience of engaging with members and partners (such as Alumni)
  • Knowledge and/or experience of increasing/supporting involvement of disadvantaged groups in education, and of supporting women’s achievement in higher education
  • Knowledge of corporate governance issues including audit, and the ability to understand their application to the legal and administrative environment in which the CSC works
  • Experience of administration, evaluation and/or finance and budget management
  • Strong affinity with the principles and values of the Commonwealth

Additional Information

The CSC is committed to providing equal opportunities for all and encourages applications from candidates irrespective of race and/or ethnicity, age, disability, gender, socio economic background, mobility, nationality, family, marital and/or partnership status, religion, sexual orientation, transgender or working patterns. The founding legislation of the CSC requires that Commissioners should be UK citizens.

Successful applicants should be willing to travel to London (and occasionally elsewhere in the UK) to attend Commission and other meetings and events.


How to Apply

Please see attached application forms and diversity monitoring forms.

All applications forms may be sent by email to

Applications should arrive by no later than 12 November 2020 23:00 BST)

Appointments will be made by the Secretary of State for Foreign Commonwealth and Development Affairs, following an interview process involving FCDO staff, the Commission Chair, and an independent panel member appointed in accordance with OCPA regulations. Interviews for short listed candidates are provisionally expected to take place in December 2020.  It is anticipated that shortlisted candidates will be notified up to two weeks in advance. Where candidates are unable to attend in person, reasonable efforts will be made to facilitate telephone interviews.  Interviews under current C-19 restrictions will be held virtually.

Appointments to the CSC are made in line with the Code of Practice of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments

(OCPA: ) – please see Section D for further information.  Applicants are particularly asked to note that, under the terms of the code, their forms may be passed (in confidence) to the Commissioner, or the Commissioner’s auditors, as part of the review process.

20200107 - diversity-monitoring-form-accessible - issued
CSC Chair Statement
CSC Commissioner Recruitment Information Pack and Application-Form
Return to Search