Non-Executive Member of the Food Standards Agency (VAC-1724)

Body: Food Standards Agency
Appointing Department: Department of Health and Social Care
Sector: Health and Social Care
Location: London/Various
Number of Vacancies: 3
Remuneration: Members are remunerated at a standard rate of £8,000 per annum
Time Requirements: 20 days per annum.


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

Lord Blencathra and Fiona Gately have been appointed as members of the Food Standards Agency for 3 years from 1 June 2021.

The appointments will involve a time commitment of 20 days per year. Remuneration for the roles will be at a rate of £8,000 per year.

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. Lord Blencathra takes the Conservative Whip in the House of Lords. Fiona Gately has not declared any political activity.

Date: 21/05/2021

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    22/01/2021 at midday

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    21/05/2021 at 12:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description


Ministers are seeking to make three Non-Executive Member appointments to the board of the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Role and Responsibilities of a Non-Executive Member

  • To ensure the FSA discharges its statutory duties in line with the requirement to protect public health and consumer interests in relation to food
  • To set and to reinforce the FSA’s core values through the development and monitoring of strategic objectives, plans and policies
  • To represent the FSA and its values in communications with key stakeholders
  • To monitor the performance of the Executive in meeting agreed objectives and targets, including: the delivery of services; continuous improvement; financial performance, and risk management
  • To assist with the appointment of the Chief Executive
  • To play an effective part in Board meetings, discussions and decisions, and work towards shared success
  • To participate as a member or chair of one or more of the Board Committees: Business, and Audit and Risk Assurance
  • To act in the public interest at all times, not as a representative of the interests of any particular sector, and without regard to any personal interests
  • To give approximately 20 days per annum to the FSA and to travel to meetings across the country. In addition, Board members are expected to read widely to develop personal skill and ensure effectiveness in the role.

Board members receive advice and support from the Executive in respect of their duties and are provided with background information in order to carry out their responsibilities. There is a dedicated secretariat to support the Board. The FSA Board operates on a paperless basis.

Person Specification

Qualities required for the role of a Non-Executive Member

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.

Board members do not represent a particular industry or sector and it is not essential for Board members to have specialist or scientific knowledge of any part of the food chain.


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.

Essential Criteria

  • Awareness of consumer interests in relation to food and how the global food system is changing, with a demonstrable commitment to putting the consumer first
  • Strong decision-making skills, able to assess complex evidence of different kinds, consider risks and benefits and explain the basis for a decision
  • Strong strategic thinker, able to help shape the FSA’s strategic direction, and link specific decision making to the strategy and bigger picture
  • Understanding of how to achieve significant change, operate across complex networks. Able to translate relevant insight into new situations, and anticipate future challenges and opportunities
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills – able to work as part of a team; champion diversity and difference within the FSA; accept collective responsibility and challenge appropriately; and confidently deal with difficult situations sensitively.


Desirable Criteria

In order to achieve a balanced Board, new members will ideally be able to bring skills and experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Expertise in innovation which is relevant to food products/processes or delivery routes to the consumer
  • Experience in supporting and delivering a reduction in regulatory burden
  • Expertise in data analytics or technological innovation
  • Understanding of large and small business needs and issues
  • Experience in complex international business or governmental issues
  • Insight into public health in relation to food
  • A senior scientist
  • Veterinary experience

Additional Information

The FSA is an independent non-ministerial government department, set up by an Act of Parliament in 2000 to protect the public’s health and consumer interests in relation to food.

We are concerned with the safety of food right along the food supply chain, from when it is produced, to when it is served on the plate. As the national authority responsible for food safety, we set the regulations that food businesses are obliged to follow, and work with delivery partners across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to make sure those regulations are enforced. We want the public to have trust in the food they eat, and that is why we work in an open and transparent way, making sure that consumer health and interests are at the heart of everything we do.

The FSA is accountable to the UK parliament and assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland. We work closely with colleagues in Food Standards Scotland to provide a robust and coherent regulatory regime, to make sure that consumers across the UK can have confidence that the highest level of food standards are being set and maintained. To help achieve this aim, the department has offices in London, Cardiff, Belfast, York and Birmingham, and employs over 1,300 staff. We not only work with a range of other government partners, which includes providing advice to Ministers across three governments, but also actively engage internationally. We make sure that we play an important role in supranational standard setting and sharing best practice with other national competent authorities.

As the central authority for food and feed safety in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we face a large range of complex and time-dependent challenges. Food and Drink is the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector and the Agri-food sector as a whole contributed almost £122bn to national Gross Value Added in 2017. Furthermore, the national and global context in which the FSA operates is changing at great speed, and the FSA needs to continue to evolve in order to meet changing public demands. With dynamic global trade bringing greater choice to UK consumers than ever before, the advent of new purchasing practices and changing dietary preferences, and the need for holistic approaches to health, wellbeing and the environment, the FSA must keep pace with societal expectations. In doing so, the FSA must take advantage of new technologies and data-driven processes to support a risk-based approach to both standard setting and enforcement of over 600,000 businesses.

A major challenge facing the Agri-food sector is an increased potential for illegal and illicit activity through food crime due to the rapidly changing regulatory landscape. The FSA is fully committed to ensuring the authenticity and provenance of food right along the supply chain, with the establishment of the National Food Crime Unit. The department also has a rapid and resilient response to food incidents, investigating 2,323 food, feed and environmental contamination incidents in 2018/19 alone.

The FSA’s ambition is to be recognised at home, and abroad as an Excellent Accountable Modern Regulator. The FSA’s statutory purpose is protecting public health, and the consumers’ wider interests, in relation to food.

To deliver this the FSA applies three core principles:

  • Operating in the consumer interest;
  • With openness and transparency; and
  • Taking decisions and providing advice on the basis of science and evidence.

The FSA’s strategic priorities for 2020/21 are:

  • EU exit
  • Regulatory reform
  • Operations Transformation
  • Hypersensitivities

In all our work the FSA is committed to:

  • Developing scientific capability to ensure that our work is based upon rigorous and up-to-date scientific advice, including continuous assurance of our risk analysis programme
  • Ensure that food safety regulatory activity in the UK is modernised so that it is risk-based, data-driven, and fit-for-purpose
  • Becoming a global leader in food safety regulation, through collaboration and information sharing with likeminded organisations across the globe
  • Persuading UK trading partners as to the quality and effectiveness of the UK’s food safety regulatory regime.

A wide range of information about the FSA’s work can be found on our website at:   and the ‘About us’ brochure:

(English Version)                                                               

(Welsh Version)​

How to Apply

To make an application please email your CV, a supporting letter and completed monitoring forms to: – please quote VAC-1724 in the subject field.

If you are unable to apply by email please contact Daniel Clemence on 0113 254 5335

Applications must be received by midday on 22 January 2021.

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 specific 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 the FSA, 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 FSA 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 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: Disqualification from Appointment and 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.

Diversity Monitoring form

Please complete the Diversity 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 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.

Disability Confident Scheme

The Department of Health and Social Care values and promotes diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity for all and to the appointment of disabled people. As part of the Disability Confident Scheme, we guarantee an interview to anyone with a disability who applies under the Scheme and whose application meets the essential criteria for the post.

What do we mean by a disability?

To be eligible for the Disability Confident Scheme you must have a disability or long-term health condition, which could be physical, sensory or mental and must be expected to last for at least 12 months. You do not have to be registered as a disabled person to apply under this scheme.

If you wish to apply under the DCS please complete section E of the Diversity and Monitoring form and return it with your application.

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


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

Name:  David Self

Tel:  07984 883451 or Email:

For further information regarding the selection process, please contact:

Daniel Clemence

Appointments Team

Tel:  0113 2545335


If you choose to apply, we would like to thank you in advance for your time and effort in making an application. Please quote reference VAC-1724 on all correspondence.

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