Lead Non-Executive Director - Northern Ireland Office

Body: Northern Ireland Office
Appointing Department: Northern Ireland Office
Sectors: Business, Finance & Skills, Regulation
Location: Stormont House, Belfast and/or 1 Horseguards Road, London
Skills required: Accountancy, Audit and Risk, Change Management, Regulation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £12,500 per annum plus expenses which will be paid at civil service rates
Time Requirements: Approximately 20 days per year


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

The Northern Ireland Office today announced the appointment of two new non-executive directors.

Leslie Philpott has been appointed as Lead Non-Executive Director, and Louise Wilson has been appointed as Non-Executive Director. They will each take up their new role on 1 October 2020.

Date: 29/09/2020

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    29/09/2020 at 12:00

Vacancy Description

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) is seeking to appoint a Lead Non-Executive Director to its Management Board.

In addition to his/her responsibilities as a Board Member, the role of the Lead Non-Executive Director is to chair the Department’s Audit and Risk Committee.

The successful candidate will be expected to take up the position in May 2020.

Non-Executive Directors provide a key role in the strategic and operational leadership of the Northern Ireland Office. They complement the balance of skills and experience of Government Ministers and officials by bringing independent advice, support, constructive challenge and a fresh external perspective to help shape a department’s work.

The role of the Northern Ireland Office’s Lead Non-Executive Director entails specific responsibilities that include:

  • Monitoring and challenging the department’s performance in relation to its objectives and commitments;
  • Active participation in the scrutiny of budget arrangements and of financial decisions;
  • Providing independent advice on new challenges, initiatives and opportunities;
  • Challenging the quality of policy making;
  • Representing the Northern Ireland Office as required at cross Whitehall events and functions.

The Lead Non-Executive Director is also chair of the Northern Ireland Office Audit & Risk Committee and has particular responsibility for providing effective leadership of the Committee in its work to:

  • Review the comprehensiveness of assurances on governance, risk management and the control environment in meeting the Board and Accounting Officer’s assurance needs;
  • Review the reliability and integrity of these assurances;
  • Review the integrity of the financial statements; and
  • Advise the Board and Accounting Officer about how well assurances support them in decision-taking and in discharging their accountability obligations.

All Board Members should uphold the seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

Further information about the role of Non-Executives in Government departments is provided in the corporate governance in central government departments: code of good practice and guidance which can be found at:


Person Specification

The Lead Non-Executive Director is a challenging and rewarding opportunity. It calls for someone who can work effectively with a wide range of individuals and who has good judgment, resilience, sensitivity and vision of a high order. He or she will be expected to provide support, guidance and challenge on the progress and implementation of the strategic business plan and the use of resources.

Essential Skills

All candidates for this challenging role will need to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the role of the Northern Ireland Office and awareness of the key challenges the Department is likely to face over the next 5 years.
  • An understanding of how government works, including the NIO’s relationship with other Whitehall departments, the devolved administration and stakeholders;
  • Comprehensive experience at Board level, as an Executive or Non-Executive Director, of a public or private sector body, including the ability to challenge and bring a fresh, external view;
  • Excellent communication skills and collaborative working style with the ability to contribute effectively to future strategic planning and delivery; and
  • Relevant experience of organisational audit and risk assurance.

The Selection Panel will assess your suitability for appointment by comparing the information you provide in your application summary form, personal statement and CV against the essential criteria. You should therefore review the skills requirements as detailed above before preparing your personal statement and CV.

How to Apply

The Northern Ireland Office is committed to the principle of appointment on merit with independent assessment, openness and transparency of process and to providing equal opportunities for all.  All application summary forms, CVs and personal statements received by the closing date will be acknowledged and put before a duly constituted Selection Panel that will include an independent member.

The Panel will short list candidates to be invited to interview and then make recommendations to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who in turn may wish to meet those candidates recommended for appointment to each position before deciding whom to appoint.

Applications should be sent by email to: NED2020@nio.gov.uk or by post to: Competition Co-ordinator, Corporate Governance Team, Northern Ireland Office, Stormont House, Belfast, BT4 3SH

NIO Lead Non-Executive Director 2020 - Application Summary Form
NIO Lead Non-Executive Director 2020 - Diversity Monitoring Form
NIO Lead Non-Executive Director 2020 - Candidate Information Booklet - Final
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