Student Loans Company Board Non-executive Director

Body: Student Loans Company
Appointing Department: Department for Education
Sectors: Business, Finance & Skills, Education
Location: UK
Number of Vacancies: 2
Remuneration: £12,000 per annum, rising to a maximum of £17,000 depending on participation in board sub-committees or other additional duties as agreed with SLC Chair. There is an expectation that all Board members will join one or more sub-committees.
Time Requirements: 2 days per month. The board meets 11 times a year, meetings are generally held in Glasgow and on occasion in London, Darlington and Llandudno. Non-executive directors will be expected to travel to these locations as necessary.


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

Rona Ruthen and Gary Page have been appointed as non-executive directors to the Student Loans Company (SLC) board. The appointments started on 19 October 2020 for a period of 3 years.

Remuneration will be £12,000 a year, rising to a maximum of £17,000 depending on participation in board sub-committees or other additional duties as agreed with the SLC Chair. Each appointment will involve an estimated time commitment of 2 days a month.

Rona has not declared any conflicts of interest or political activity.

Gary has not declared any conflicts of interest or political activity.

SLC is a non-departmental public body of the Department for Education. Appointments to the SLC board are made by the Secretary of State for Education.

Date: 19/10/2020

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    Competition Closing date extended by three days to midday on 22.05.20. Additional evidence from all applicants will be accepted until the new closing date

  • Panel Sift

    As of 5 June 2020 interview dates have been confirmed as 26 & 29 June

  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

  • Sinead O’Sullivan Added 08/04/2020

    Panel Chair

    Director, Career Learning, Analysis, Skills, and Student Choice Directorate • Departmental Official

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  • Peter Lauener Added 08/04/2020

    Chair of the SLC Board • Representative of Organisation

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  • Robin Lawther Added 08/04/2020

    UKGI Board Member and former Managing Director of JP Morgan • Independent Member

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  • Ian Ferguson Added 08/04/2020

    DfE Board Member • Other Panel Member

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  • Rt Hon Sir Patrick McLoughlin Added 08/04/2020

    Former politician • Other Panel Member

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Vacancy Description


View a message from Stephen Tetlow of the SLC board here



The Student Loans Company (SLC) provides finance which enables people to invest in their futures through higher and further education. It is a not-for-profit organisation that was set up in 1989 and has expanded significantly. Over the last 30 years it has incorporated a wide range of products and services and it is now one of Government’s highest-profile delivery bodies, managing a loan book worth more than £136.7 billion, processing more than 2 million new and returning applications each year and holding data on 8.5 million customers – as well as employing more than 3,500 people across five sites in the UK.


The scale of SLC is akin to that of a mid-tier UK financial services institution. It is incorporated as a company limited by shares under the Companies Act and is wholly in public ownership – with the UK Government being the majority shareholder and the remaining shares held by the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The SLC provides different functions for each of the devolved administrations.




As a non-executive director, you will play an active role on the board of SLC, supporting the SLC Executive Team and SLC Chair to deliver the company’s portfolio of priorities, overcome challenges and exploit opportunities, including the continued growth of its customer base, delivery of recommendations from the Tailored Review (Annex 3) and implementation of the Review of Post-18 Education.


A key element of the role will be to work with the board to ensure that the resources and skills available to the Company are commensurate with and focussed on its delivery obligations. The SLC administers the data underpinning one of Government’s major assets: the Student Loan book. This data supports the sale of tranches of loans to monetise that asset for the benefit of the exchequer and taxpayers (£3.6bn raised to date). There may be other opportunities to realise the value, in the widest sense, of the SLC’s data in the future.


SLC has recently commenced a major transformation programme which will radically overhaul its technology and working practices – allowing it to engage better with its digitally fluent user base and provide a consistently higher standard of customer service. This transformation is still in the early stages and will need careful oversight and scrutiny, as well as support from the board to ensure it achieves the necessary outcomes. Effective change management and supporting the executive to modernise the SLC over the next few years will be a key responsibility for the whole board.


Role of an SLC Non-executive Director


Candidates will support the Chair and CEO by bringing their unique skills and experience to the board, in ensuring effective oversight of the operations of SLC, as well as steering the organisation through the development and delivery of any organisational change. Specific responsibilities will include:

  • constructively challenging and contributing to the development of strategy and business planning, including the setting and development of key objectives and targets;
  • scrutinising the performance of the organisation in meeting agreed goals and objectives, overseeing performance against customer service standards, reviewing regular financial information concerning the management of SLC, and ensuring that effective arrangements are in place within SLC to ensure compliance with statutory or administrative requirements on the use of public funds;
  • ensuring that effective arrangements are in place within SLC to provide assurance on risk management, governance and internal control;
  • taking forward the strategic aims and objectives of SLC and ensuring these are consistent with its overall strategic direction and within the policy and resources framework determined by the Secretary of State; and
  • ensuring that SLC’s responsibilities towards its employees, such as pay, pension and development of staff, are satisfactorily discharged.



Person Specification


The successful candidates will have private sector experience or a previous significant public sector role, which will enable them to provide advice, guidance, support and effective challenge to the SLC Executive Leadership Team to ensure that the board’s responsibilities are properly discharged. Applicants will be assessed at application against the following criteria:



  • the ability to think strategically, and effectively shape organisational strategy.
  • possess excellent communication skills, including the ability to engage and influence senior stakeholders.
  • senior board-level experience (executive or non-executive), with a specific focus on the governance of large-scale retail or operational delivery organisations which provide excellent customer service;

And at least one of the two criteria below. Please clearly indicate in your application which of the criteria you are applying against. You may apply against either or both.

  • (i) experience of working in a regulated financial sector, managing substantial profit and loss accounts, or managing and maximising the value of financial assets in complex commercial ventures;


  • (ii) understanding of the people, culture and operational   requirements that lead to successful transformation in a     complex and high-profile organisation, ideally including experience of implementing a new operating and sourcing model.



Additionally, at interview candidates may also be assessed on the following desirable criteria:


  • Experience of managing, monitoring and improving organisational performance based on management information, corporate reporting and key performance indicators while also providing value for money for taxpayers.


Please also refer to the Nolan Principles as the basis of the ethical standards expected of public office holders.



Additional Information

Diversity and Inclusion 

The Department for Education is committed to being an inclusive employer. We encourage applications from people with the widest possible diversity of backgrounds, cultures and experiences. We particularly welcome applications from women, those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, and candidates with disabilities as they are underrepresented on the board.

We ask that all applicants complete an anonymised diversity monitoring form used for data gathering information in order to ensure departments are recruiting from the widest possible pool.

How to Apply


Please submit the following to:


  • Covering letter stating how you meet the criteria, restricted to two sides of A4 Arial font size 12
  • CV
  • Candidate Application Form
  • Diversity form


Please include the vacancy title in the subject box and submit each application document as a separate attachment. We are happy to accept applications in alternative formats from applicants who, for reasons of disability, may find it difficult to fill in our standard form. If you wish to have a chat with us about reasonable adjustments, please contact us at:


Please note the following:


  • we cannot accept applications submitted after the closing date;
  • applications will be assessed solely on the documentation provided; please refer to the advert and checklist above to ensure you have provided everything requested;
  • applications will be acknowledged upon receipt;
  • feedback will only be given to candidates unsuccessful following interview; and
  • due to the current government guidelines regarding COVID-19, advising against all but essential travel, we are currently working from home. Dependent on whether or not these guidelines are lifted by the date of interview, please note that we may be conducting interviews via video conferencing. If you wish to apply for the role but will have an issue conducting the interview over video conference, please contact the DfE Public Appointments Team.


Candidate Application Form April 2020
Public Appointments Privacy Notice
Diversity Monitoring Form - Accessible
SLC Candidate Information Pack 2020
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