Members of the Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment

Body: Department of Health and Social Care
Appointing Department: Department of Health and Social Care
Sector: Health and Social Care
Location: London
Number of Vacancies: 2
Remuneration: No
Time Requirements: 3 meetings/days a year


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

Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COM) Members
Dr Ruth Morse and Mr Amit Bhagwat have been appointed as Members of the Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment for 3 years from 1 September 2018.
The appointments will involve a time commitment of around 3 meetings/days per year. Members are not remunerated.
These appointments are made in accordance with the Cabinet Office Code of Governance for Public Appointments. The regulation of public appointments against the requirements of this Code is carried out by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.
The appointments are made on merit, and political activity played no part in the decision process. However, in accordance with the Code, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public. Dr Ruth Morse and Mr Amit Bhagwat have not declared any political activity.

Date: 10/08/2018

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

Role and Responsibilities of a Member

The COM is an important committee reporting to the Chief Medical Officer, and the Chair of the Food Standards Agency on all aspects of mutagenic risks to man from exposure to chemicals in food, consumer products and the environment. As a specialist in toxicology or related area with a particular expertise in cancer studies, members:

  • Contribute to discussions of the Committee working alongside recognised experts who assess other aspects of the detailed technical data on genotoxins under consideration (e.g. mode of action/mechanism studies, traditional and novel toxicity testing strategies, statistics).
  • Are expected to contribute to the Committee’s discussions and to the consideration of detailed statements and conclusions from the Committee.
  • May be asked to contribute to other discussions (such as in working groups) or to draft text within your specialism if the need arises.


Lay member of this committee will be expected to work effectively with scientific members of the committee to ensure the committee’s advice addresses the concerns of, and can be understood by, the UK population as a whole.


Person Specification

To be considered, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the qualities, skills and experience to meet all the essential criteria for appointment.

Lay members are expected to contribute to the discussions and to the consideration of statements and conclusions of the Committee. Where necessary lay members may be asked to input into non-expert summaries.

Essential Criteria

All applicants must also possess the expertise to provide independent scrutiny and credible advice on the issues that fall within the remit of the COM and must:

• Be able to provide specific advice independent of government or industry

• Be a good communicator with sound judgement

• Be able to demonstrate an ability to contribute to the work of the COM

• Have some experience of committee membership

• Have contributed to national or international fora whose work is within the remit of the COM

Expert member

In addition applicants for the expert member role must have:

A sound understanding of genotoxicology and be able to show a track record of achievement in one or more of the following areas of expertise:

  • Development of in vitro (non-animal) methods for the assessment of genotoxic risks from exposure to environmental chemicals.
  • Regulatory expertise – an understanding of the advances in genotoxicity tests and testing strategies used in regulatory settings.
  • Genetic toxicology: experience in the conduct and interpretation of in silico methods, and in vitro, and in vivo tests. An interest in molecular epidemiology would also be of value.
  • Carcinogenesis: able to demonstrate expertise in cancer risk assessment and in the mechanisms of carcinogenesis both genotoxic and non–genotoxic mechanisms.
  • Toxicokinetics and metabolism: expertise in interpretation of data on the disposition, metabolism and toxicokinetics of chemicals and low dose effects especially in relation to genotoxicity testing.
  • Computational toxicology and Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships (QSARs): expertise in the application of computational toxicology and QSARs and their application to genotoxicity.
  • Epigenetics and trans-generational effects: expertise in epigenetics with relevance to genotoxicity endpoints.
  • Reproductive or developmental toxicology: expertise in developmental toxicology and adverse reproductive effects of mutagenic and genotoxic chemicals.



Additional Information

COM role and responsibilities

COM advises government on the mutagenicity of chemicals used in pesticides, pharmaceuticals and other products.

COM provides independent advice to government departments and agencies on the potential mutagenicity and genotoxicity of chemicals (whether they are likely to cause mutation in cells), from natural products to new synthetic chemicals used in pesticides or pharmaceuticals. It also advises on strategies and research for genotoxicity testing.

The committee also advises on important general hazards (the inherent property of the substance) or risk (the likelihood of mutagenetic or genotoxic effects occurring after a given exposure) and gives recommendations for genotoxicity testing.

COM is an advisory body and has no regulatory status. However, it may provide advice to agencies that have a regulatory role.


How to Apply

Making an application

Thank you for your interest in the appointment of a Member to the COM.

To make an application please email your CV, a supporting letter and completed monitoring forms to: – please quote ref: A17-11 in the subject field.

If you are unable to apply by email you may send your application by post to:

Julia Peters Department of Health and Social Care, Room 1N09, Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7UE


Applications must be received by midday on 11th May 2018.


In making an application please note the following:

Supporting letter

The supporting letter is your opportunity to demonstrate how you meet each of the criteria set out in the person specification. It will benefit the Advisory Assessment Panel if you can be clear which particular evidence you provide relates to which criteria. Providing separate paragraphs in relation to each criterion is common practice. Please write all acronyms in full first.

Please ensure your full name, the role to which you are applying and the corresponding reference number for the post are clearly noted at the top of your letter.

Please limit your letter to two pages, and type or write clearly in black ink.

Conflicts of interest

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

If appointed, you will also be required to declare these interests on appointment and they will be entered into a register which is available to the public.

Standards in public life and ensuring public confidence

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

The panel may explore any issues you declare with you before they make a recommendation on the appointment.

Failure to disclose such information could result in an appointment being terminated, as those who hold public appointments are expected to demonstrate the highest standards of corporate and personal conduct, and are required to subscribe to the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies, as part of agreeing to the terms and conditions of appointment. You can access this document at:

There are also circumstances in which individuals may not be considered for appointment, due to them not meeting certain eligibility criteria for appointment. For further information, please refer to Section 2.3: Eligibility Criteria.


Please ensure your CV includes:

  • your full name, title, home address, personal contact telephone numbers (land line and mobile) and personal email address
  • similar contact details for two referees who will support your application. One referee should be the person to whom you are/were accountable in your current/most recent appointment or position of employment. Please indicate the relationship of each referee to you. References will be requested for short-listed candidates prior to interview
  •  brief details of your current or most recent post and the dates you occupied this role. Please identify any past or present Ministerial appointments.  

Monitoring form

Please complete the monitoring form. Diversity monitoring information will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel assessing your application.

If you are appointed to this role, please note that any political activity you declare will be published in accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

If you wish to apply under the GIS please complete the GIS form and return it with your application.

All applications will be acknowledged by email after the closing date.



For further information regarding the selection process, please contact:

Julia Peters

Appointments Team

Tel: 0113 2545350



For further information regarding the role of the COM and the role of a member please contact:

Name: Jonathan Graves

Tel: 0207 210 3839



Please quote reference A17-11 on all correspondence.

If you choose to apply, we would like to thank you in advance for your time and effort in making an application.

Monitoring Form
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