Department for Education Non-executive Board Member (ARC Chair)

Body: Department For Education
Appointing Department: Department for Education
Sectors: Business, Finance & Skills, Education
Location: Meetings will be held in London. There is no expectation the successful candidate will reside in London.
Skills required: Accountancy, Audit and Risk
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: 15,000 per annum
Time Requirements: Approximately 24 days a year

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement


Vacancy Description

The Secretary of State is seeking two new Non-Executive Board Members to support and appropriately challenge the organisation as it continues its drive to achieve its mission to help create country where there is social mobility and equality of opportunity by providing excellent education, training and care, and to help everyone reach their potential regardless of background.

The DfE Board The Board is Chaired by our Secretary of State. The Chair is supported by the Lead Non-Executive Board Member, Richard Pennycook, and Rt Hon. Michelle Donelan MP as Minister for the Board. The Board provides the collective strategic and operational leadership of the department. Its role is advisory, providing advice on issues such as strategy, operations, and the deliverability of policy. It is also supervisory, scrutinising delivery and performance, and the reporting of these, across all DfE areas, and challenging the department on how well it is achieving its objectives.

Person Specification

Applicants will be assessed against the following criteria. If applicant numbers are excessive, preliminary sifting will be done using only the first criteria.

In your application you should demonstrate clearly how you meet the essential criteria:

  • experience of leading high-profile and complex private sector organisations during periods of change, along with main board level experience as an executive or a non-executive;
  • a commitment to support the successful delivery of the Department’s agenda and realising its vision and purpose to enable children and learners to thrive;
  • The confidence and ability to successfully communicate, build relationships, provide valuable challenge, and keep the confidence of a wide range of groups including Board members, Ministers, and senior government officials;
  • the ability to think strategically about the issues faced by the public sector and the ability to take a pragmatic approach to resolve complex issues;
  • expert knowledge of governance, risk and controls environment and managing relationships with auditors along with a strong background in accountancy and;
  • financial management with a recognised accountancy qualification (e.g., ACCA, CIMA).


We also expect candidates to be able to demonstrate the following desirable criteria:

  • experience as a successful audit and risk committee Chair or member, providing assurance to the Departmental Board on audit risk and control issues, and independent assurance to the Permanent Secretary in her role as the Principal Accounting Officer, and to the departmental board on audit, risk and control issues;
  • ability and working understanding of a corporate function such as finance;

Additional Information

The Department is focused on equality of opportunity and is committed to ensuring that appointees are better represent the views of the communities which they serve. We particularly encourage applicants from underrepresented groups, those based outside London and the South-East and applicants who have achieved success through non-traditional educational routes.

The Department for Education has a strong culture of inclusion and diversity and it wants to encourage applications from people with a diverse range of backgrounds and educational routes. In 2018 we launched a five year strategy to create a department where everyone is able to bring their whole self to work and where honesty, challenge and innovation  are encouraged and valued. We are recognised by leading diversity organisations for promoting diversity in the workplace.

We want to ensure any appointee to the Department’s Board is committed to promoting diversity, in its broadest possible sense. This will include embedding a commitment to the principles of levelling up and championing opportunity for all across the organisation, helping to ensure that the organisation is one which a genuinely diverse range of views can be expressed, without fear or favour.


The Department champions social mobility in all of its policies and is committed to opening up opportunities for people from all backgrounds, all socio-economic classes and all regions of the UK. We are committed to embedding this principle into our recruitment and we expect all our leaders to take action to attract and retain staff from all backgrounds, while also supporting them to progress within their careers.


We are a member of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme and have achieved Disability Confident Leader status, signifying our role as champions of the scheme. We use the Disability Confident symbol, along with other like-minded employers, to show our commitment to good  practice in employing people with a disability.

We ask that all applicants complete an anonymised Diversity Monitoring Form used for gathering data  only in order to ensure departments are recruiting  from the widest possible pool. The information you provide is not shared with the selection panel.

How to Apply

The closing date for applications is: Sunday 12 December 2021.

  1. CV
  2. Candidate Application Form

You will need to demonstrate clearly how you meet each of the essential criteria (max 300 words per criteria – if this is exceeded only the first 300 words will be considered). Please note that if applicant numbers are excessive, preliminary sifting will be done using only the first criteria.

  1. Diversity form

Please include the vacancy title in the subject box and submit each application document as a separate attachment.

We are happy to accept applications in alternative formats from applicants who, for reasons of disability, may find it difficult to fill in our standard form. If you would like to have a chat with us about reasonable adjustments please contact us at:

Please note the following:

  • we cannot accept applications submitted after the closing date;
  • applications will be assessed solely on the documentation provided;
  • please refer to the advert and checklist above to ensure you have provided everything requested;
  • applications will be acknowledged upon receipt;
  • feedback will only be given to candidates unsuccessful following interview
DfE Board Member (ARC) Diversity Monitoring Form
DfE Board Member Information Pack (ARC)
DfE Board Member (ARC) Candidate Application Form 3

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

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