Independent Member of the Animal and Plant Health Agency Audit and Risk Assurance Committee

Body: Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)
Appointing Department: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Sector: Business, Finance & Skills
Location: The APHA Audit and Risk Assurance Committee meetings take place in London but are currently being held remotely for the foreseeable future.
Skills required: Accountancy, Audit and Risk, Regulation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: Remuneration will be £500 per day and reimbursement of travel and subsistence. These fees and expenses will be subject to Tax and National Insurance. The post is not pensionable.
Time Requirements: It is expected that the role will take no more than 10 days per year. There are five ARACs per year with more meetings if required. The successful candidate will also be expected to meet regularly with other APHA Non-Executives and Chair of the ARAC. There will be a requirement to attend other meetings as required.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    01/02/2021 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date

    March 2021

  • Announcement

    April 2021


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

About the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is an Executive Agency of Defra, providing services to the Scottish and Welsh Governments, other government departments and a range of other customers.   The Agency currently employs around 2,400 staff at various sites across the UK. The Agency HQ is located in Surrey, though Committee meetings usually take place in London. During the pandemic, all meetings are conducted remotely.

The Agency provides expert evidence and advice to support governments’ decision making and influence policy development; provides high quality laboratory services and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reference laboratory for a number of animal diseases; carries out surveillance, inspections certification and enforcement activities to ensure the UK has enhanced food security; and maintains an emergency response capability to manage the UK response to pest, plant and animal disease outbreaks.

The structure of the APHA ARAC is agreed with Defra and the APHA Chief Executive. The ARAC is chaired by a Non-Executive Director and currently comprises one other Non-Executive Director, APHA Chief Executive, Finance Director for APHA, APHA Head of Internal Audit, the APHA Risk and Assurance Manager and representatives from the National Audit Office.

The terms of reference for the Committee are attached below.

About the vacancy 

This vacancy is for an Independent Member of the APHA Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC).

The appointment is for a fixed term of up to three years. Thereafter, whilst not automatic, an extension period of up to three years may be granted. Appointments beyond six years will be considered exceptionally.

As a member of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee, the Independent Member will contribute to ensuring that the terms of reference of the Committee are successfully delivered, with particular attention to advising on, scrutiny and constructive challenge of:

• the process and content of the Annual Report and Accounts, and Governance Statement;
• The process of risk management;
• The governance of the Agency;
• The controls and assurances available to the Accounting Officer;
• The work of internal and external auditors, and other sources of assurance.

The role will largely be carried out at meetings, though occasionally there may be the need to contribute advice outside meetings and/or meet with the Chair of the Committee.

The above list is indicative only and not exhaustive. The Independent Member will be expected to perform all such additional duties as are reasonably commensurate with the role.

The appointment is expected to commence in April 2021.

Person Specification

It is critical that the candidate brings a combination of financial, risk and governance skills, together with diversity of both thought and experience to enable them to fulfil the independence of the role.

Essential Skills and Experience required:

• Qualified accountant with senior strategic financial experience
• An understanding of risk management and how to influence improving its effectiveness;
• Successful track record of achievement through their career.

Personal Attributes required:

• Independence of mind and sound judgement, together with the ability to provide impartial, objective and pragmatic advice;
• Effective communication and relationship building skills, including the ability to negotiate, influence, challenge and listen sensitively to the views of others;
• A commitment to the 7 principles of public life, together with the willingness and availability to devote the necessary time to understand the business dynamics and context.

Desirable Skills and Experience required:

• An understanding of central Government accounting and finance and the role of the audit committee in scrutinising these;
• A detailed knowledge of corporate governance procedures in the public sector.

Additional Information

The recruitment process

The closing date for applications is 1 February 2021. We expect to have shortlisted by 15 February 2021, with interviews during March 2021.

It is essential that your statement of suitability gives full but concise information relevant to the appointment, clearly demonstrating how you meet the criteria for the post.

The Advisory Assessment Panel will consist of Alison White as Chair, Kevin Ingram as Panel Member and Nadia Khan as Panel Member. At the shortlist meeting the Panel will assess each application against the criteria in order to decide who to invite for interview.

Interviews are expected to take place by video conference and will last approximately one hour. Further details about the format will be provided to you in advance.


We recognise that existing Board appointees are not fully reflective of diversity in society.  We want APHA Boards to better reflect the users they serve.  That’s why we positively welcome applicants from all backgrounds.

Disability Confident 

We guarantee to interview anyone with a disability whose application meets the minimum criteria for the role. By ‘minimum criteria’ we mean that you must provide evidence in your application which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria, as well as meeting any of the qualification, skills or experience defined as essential. The Cabinet Office and Defra is committed to the employment and career development of disabled people. If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes where possible. If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, please refer to the ‘How to apply’ section below.

If you wish to apply under this scheme, please state this in the covering email or letter when submitting your application.

Reasonable adjustments

If you would like a confidential discussion regarding any reasonable adjustments during the process, please also indicate this in the covering email or letter.

Conflicts of interest and due diligence

If you have any interests that might be relevant to the work of the APHA and which could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest if you were to be appointed, please provide details in your application.

Given the nature of public appointments, it is important that those appointed as Members of public bodies maintain the confidence of Parliament and the public. If there are any issues in your personal or professional history that could, if you were appointed, be misconstrued, cause embarrassment, or cause public confidence in the appointment to be jeopardised, it is important that you bring them to the attention of the Advisory Assessment Panel and provide details of the issue(s) in your application. In considering whether you wish to declare any issues, you should also reflect on any public statements you have made, including through social media.

As part of our due diligence checks we may consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This will include us undertaking searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. This information may be made available to the Advisory Assessment Panel and they may wish to explore issues with you should you be invited to interview. The information may also be shared with ministers and Cabinet Office.

Ineligibility criteria

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

• you become bankrupt or make an arrangement with creditors;

• your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors;

• you are disqualified from acting as a company director under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986;

• you have been convicted of a criminal offence; the conviction not being spent for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (c. 53);

• you become subject to a debt relief order or a bankruptcy restrictions order;

• you fail to declare any conflict of interest.

How to Apply

If you wish to apply for this post, please supply the following:
  • A copy of your CV (no more than two sides of A4), with education, professional qualifications and employment history.
  • A statement of suitability (of up to 1,000 words or no more than two sides of A4), outlining how you meet the essential criteria for this post and providing specific examples. Please note the closing date for applications is midday 1 February 2021.
  • Monitoring Form 1 (Political Activity and Conflict of Interest Questionnaire.)

Your CV and statement should be returned to by the closing date: 12.00 (midday) on 1 February 2021 quoting reference APHA-ARAC-0121.

For further information please email: or call Krista Rooney on 020 802 69812.

Please let us know if you need a change to be made so that you can make your application or require additional assistance to support you in your application.

1_Monitoring form 1 (Political Activity and CoI Questionnaire)
APHA Audit Committee ToR v6.0
Annex A - The Seven Principles of Public Life (1)

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

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