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

Body: Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment
Appointing Department: Department of Health and Social Care
Sector: Health and Social Care
Location: London
Number of Vacancies: 2
Remuneration: No
Time Requirements: There are usually three meetings per year plus members are on occasion asked to comment on papers between meetings.


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

Dr George Johnson, Julia Kenny and Madeleine Wang have been appointed as members of the Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COM) for 3 years from 1 June 2020.

The appointments will involve a time commitment of 3 meetings or days per year. There is no remuneration for these posts. However, expenses will be paid in line with COM policy.

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’s a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public. None of the appointees has declared any political activity.

Date: 18/06/2020

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    16/10/2019 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

Ministers are seeking to make two appointments to the Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment: one Lay Member and one Expert Member.

Role and Responsibilities of a Member

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 humans from exposure to chemicals in food, consumer products and the environment (see terms of reference).  As a specialist in genetic toxicology or related area with a particular expertise in the role of mutations in cancer studies, members will:

  • 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.

The Department of Health and Social Care values and promotes diversity and encourages applications from all sections of the community. The boards of public bodies should reflect the population they are there to serve. Boards also benefit from fresh perspectives, and we are always keen to encourage candidates with private sector experience to consider applying for our roles.

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 and Expert Member

All applicants must possess the expertise to provide independent scrutiny and credible advice on the issues that fall within the remit of 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 COM
  • Have some experience of committee membership
  • Have contributed to national or international fora whose work is within the remit of COM

Expert member

In addition, for the expert member role applicants must have:

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

  • Regulatory aspects of genotoxicology
  • The development of novel in vitro (non-animal) methods for the assessment of genotoxic risks from chemicals
  • Expertise in reproductive toxicology
  • Expertise in epigenetics

We will consider candidates with track records in related areas.

Additional Information

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

Thank you for your interest in the appointment of a Member to the Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment.

To make an application please email your CV, a supporting letter and completed monitoring forms to: – please quote VAC-1647 in the subject field.

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

Sally Brough-Hirst, Department of Health and Social Care, Room 1N09, Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7UE

Applications must be received by midday on 16 October 2019.

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 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 on 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 (including any convictions or bankruptcy) 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 and blogs. Due Diligence may be carried out on any publicly available information and shared with the Advisory Assessment Panel.

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

If you wish to discuss any queries on conflicts, please see the contacts section.


Please ensure your CV includes:

  • Your full name, title, home address, personal contact telephone numbers (land line and mobile), personal email address and details of any Twitter accounts and LinkedIn accounts including your Twitter handle/username.
  • 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.

Political activity information is primarily for monitoring purposes only, however if you are shortlisted for interview, this information will be shared with the selection panel. The reason for this is that it is appreciated that such activities may have given you relevant skills, including experience gained from committee work, collective decision-making, resolving conflict and public speaking. If you have had such experience and you consider it relevant to your application for this post, you should also take the opportunity to include it separately in your supporting statement. If possible, you should not, however, identify the relevant political party in your statement.

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

The Department of Health and Social Care operates a Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS) for disabled people. The Equality Act 2010 defines a person as disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. Under the GIS a disabled candidate will be selected for interview if they meet the essential criteria for the post.

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

Sally Brough-Hirst

Appointments Team

Tel:  0113 2546138


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

Ovnair Sepai

Tel:  01235 825163


Please quote reference VAC-1647 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.

VAC-1647 COM Members Information Pack EXTENDED
Return to Search