Skills Reform Board Independent Chair

Body: Skills Reform Board
Appointing Department: Department for Education
Sector: Education
Location: Board meetings are currently taking place virtually however this will be reviewed and travel to London may be required to attend future Board meetings.
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The Board Chair will receive ‘per meeting’ expenses payment of £400 which should cover all costs in relation to both preparation for and attendance of meetings. No other expenses will be paid.
Time Requirements: The normal expectation of commitment for a DfE independent Chair will be up to 12 days per year. The DfE Skills Reform Boards will take place up to 12 times per year, this Board lasts approximately 90 minutes and preparatory work and actions arising will be required. Where possible members are expected to attend each meeting in person. The position of independent Chair will be appointed for a period of three years. The appointment may be reviewed at any time.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift

    Week commencing 17 May 2021

  • Final Interview Date

    Weeks commencing 24 / 31 May 2021

  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

Skills Reform is a top delivery priority within the DfE following the publication of the Skills for Jobs White Paper in January 2021. The Skills Reform Board has been recently formed and will provide oversight over the delivery of the commitments within the White Paper.

The DfE is offering the exciting opportunity to Chair the newly formed Skills Reform Board. This is a great opportunity to use your skills and experience to make a difference to the Skills Reform delivery portfolio. We are seeking someone who is confident and constructive in their approach, and who can think both broadly and independently. It is essential that they are able to consider issues from a strategic perspective, in order to support and challenge the Board in its planning and risk management.

We welcome diversity at this newly formed Board and therefore we warmly invite applicants from all backgrounds to apply.

The Chair will be expected to participate fully in the DfE Skills Reform Board, by:

  • Leading the Board so that it plays a full role in the governance arrangements for Skills Reform.
  • Running the Skills Reform Board meetings efficiently and effectively.
  • Managing relationships and communications with Board members.
  • Ensuring as Chair, they have the sufficient understanding of the strategy and objectives of Skills Reform to be able to assist in effective and efficient decision making.
  • Considering reports from across the portfolio from senior DfE officials to provide the Board with assurance on top risks and progress across the portfolio.
  • Managing relations with external stakeholders within and outside government as necessary.

They will ensure they comply with the code of practice for Board members, and the Cabinet Office Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies

Please refer to applicant pack for further information.


Person Specification

Candidates will be asked to present evidence of the following essential criteria throughout the selection process:

  • Experience operating at a senior level in a business or other organisation (at scale including high-level management and/or board experience in the public, voluntary or private sectors).
  • Extensive expertise in both change and risk management.
  • An understanding of delivering complex and board programmes/ portfolios and the ability to think strategically, contributing to strategic development in different contexts.
  • Impartiality and the ability to assist effective and efficient decision-making using effective communication and relationship building skills, including the ability to negotiate, influence, challenge and listen sensitively to the views of others.
  • An ability to identify critical issues, question intelligently, challenging senior leaders and bringing them together to solve problems collaboratively.
  • A commitment to the seven principles of public life (Annex A), together with the willingness and availability to devote the necessary time to understand the business dynamics and context for the DfE’s work.

Prior experience of the education and skills sector is not essential, but the successful candidate will have a commitment to promoting education and skills for young people and adults.

Desirable skills and experience include:

  • Knowledge/awareness of the DfE and post-16 skills.
  • A general understanding and appreciation of the values and role of the public sector.


How to Apply

Suitably qualified candidates are asked to submit:

  • A competed personal details form including a completed Diversity Monitoring form, contact details (including email address) for two professional referees available, details of any conflict of interest and political activity.
  • A comprehensive CV and a separate statement of suitability, of not more than two sides of A4, which outlines how you meet the requirements of the role.

Applications should be sent to:


Skills Reform Board Chair Applicant Pack

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

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