UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) Chair

Body: UK Hydrographic Office
Appointing Department: Ministry of Defence
Sectors: Business, Finance & Skills, Defence, Science & Technology
Location: Meetings are usually held at United Kingdom Hydrographic Office HQ in Taunton or at the Ministry of Defence, Main Building, London SW1A 2HB. Occasional travel to other locations may be required.
Skills required: Business / Commercial, Change Management, IT / Digital, Transformation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The annual remuneration is £28,000.
Time Requirements: 30 days per annum

This is not a ministerial appointment.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date

    03/03/2022 and 04/03/2022

  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Chair is the lead independent Non-Executive Director and accountable to the responsible minister for leading the UKHO Board and ensuring its effectiveness in all aspects of its role. They will be expected to work closely with senior MOD officials, particularly with the MOD Chief Operating Officer and the MOD Director for Sponsorship & Organisational Policy (the MOD ‘sponsors’).


UKHO is driving forward a pivotal commercial and digital transformation programme, in response to significant change in the international market for high quality hydrographic data. The Chair will use their previous experience of organisational, commercial and digital development and their personal vision to provide inspirational leadership and expertise. Working closely with the UKHO CEO, the Chair will offer support and challenge to ensure that there is a clear focus on transformation, increasing revenues, building partnerships, exploring new markets and continuous improvement. The Chair will act as an important advocate for UKHO with its key stakeholders. They will also be a positive and energetic leader within UKHO and promote its continuing transformation into a high-performing and innovative organisation that can deliver its long-term strategy.


The Chair sets the Board agenda and ensures that adequate time is available on all agenda items, promoting a culture of openness and debate. They also have the personal role of advising the MOD about high-level business issues affecting the UKHO.


The MOD takes a close and proactive interest in the performance of all its enabling organisations and formally manages its relationship with the UKHO through regular Performance and Risk Review meetings between the Chair, CEO, MOD Sponsor and other stakeholders.


The UKHO Chair is specifically responsible for:


  • Ensuring that the Board as a whole is effective, including assessing the performance of the Board and of individual NEDs, and making recommendations on areas of development.
  • Fundamentally acting in the interests of the ‘shareholder’ (ultimately ministers) by providing advice to and representing the views of the MOD Chief Operating Officer (COO) on UKHO strategic direction, performance, risk and governance.
  • Encouraging all Board members to express their views frankly and challenge constructively in order to improve the standard of discussion in board meetings.
  • Managing the frequency, content and conduct of Board meetings, ensuring that systems are in place to provide members with accurate and timely information of good quality, to allow the Board to consider properly all matters before it.
  • Determining, in consultation with the CEO and MOD Sponsor, the composition of the UKHO Board, considering its diversity and ensuring a balance of relevant experience and expertise,
  • Leading the process for appointing new independent NEDs and seeking the MOD Sponsor’s approval.
  • Ensuring the Board is supported by effective and properly constituted sub-committees: Remuneration and Nominations Committee; Audit and Risk Assurance Committee; and Safety of Navigation Advisory Committee.
  • Advising on the appointment of the UKHO CEO, including sitting on the selection panel.
  • Acting as a source of advice and challenge to the CEO.
  • Ensuring there is a Board Charter (or Board Operating Framework) in place setting out the role and responsibilities of the Board consistent with the government’s corporate governance code of good practice.


If the Chair, with the agreement of the Board, believes that the CEO may not be delivering on his or her Accounting Officer responsibilities, the Chair will seek to remedy this in discussion with the MOD.

This appointment is made in accordance with 2016 Governance Code for Public Appointments. The successful candidate must abide by the Seven Principles of Public Life and the Code of Conduct for Board Members[1].

In the New Year, UKHO will be launching a campaign for a new non-executive director on the HM Government Public Appointments website. Candidates for the Chair role may also wish to apply for the NED role.



Person Specification

Essential criteria

Candidates must demonstrate all the following essential criteria.


  • An outstanding record of achievement throughout their professional career; with strong personal credibility and strategic leadership experience, and evidence of sound judgment, analysis and decision-making skills.
  • Change management experience of one or more complex organisations undergoing substantial evolutionary change and business development.
  • The ability to use previous commercial experience and expertise to support and guide organisations undergoing digitisation of their services.

Board-level experience

  • Board-level experience, including experience of supporting, challenging and holding to account a strong executive team on organisational performance, continued improvement and risk management.
  • The ability to harness the knowledge and experience of a strong board, and to complement the skills and experience of the CEO and other non-executives.

Stakeholder management

  • Highly developed interpersonal and influencing skills; able to influence a wide range of internal and external stakeholders, including at the most senior levels of government.
  • The ability to look beyond the horizon, plan ahead and cope with ambiguity. As well as the energy and resilience to champion long-term programmes through inevitable challenges.

Commercial / finance

  • Commercial ability and financial acumen exercised at board level, for example around business models, managing costs, and the legal and contractual framework in which an organisation operates and delivers.
  • Demonstrable ability to assist development of strategic (e.g. five-year) plans, as well as current tactical business plans in support of UKHO’s agenda in both Defence and the commercial world.
  • Experience of leveraging advances in technology, data and digital to transform business models and create new commercial opportunities and innovative products or services.

Customer focus

  • A strong focus on the needs and interests of customers, together with an understanding of customer behaviour, and communication and engagement techniques.


Desirable criteria

  • Demonstrable understanding of effective corporate governance;
  • Knowledge of the workings of Arm’s Length Bodies;
  • Knowledge of Managing Public Money;


Additional Information

We expect the successful candidate to spend typically two to three days per month on Board and sub-committee business.  The appointment is not pensionable.



How to Apply

If you wish to apply for this appointment, please submit the following documents by email to  quoting reference  46866_UKHO_CHAIR_NED:

  • A CV (maximum two sides A4, minimum font 12) setting out your career history and including details of any professional qualifications.
  • A short supporting statement in the Expression of Interest form (see below) (maximum two sides A4, minimum font 12) explaining how you meet the essential and desirable criteria. Make sure you refer to the contents of this information pack and provide specific examples which demonstrate proven and demonstrable expertise or ability.  Please ensure your full name and the reference number are clearly stated at the top of your CV and additional papers.
  • Complete the Expression of Interest form including your supporting statement; contact details for two referees (by providing their details you are giving consent for us to contact them should you be successful at the shortlisting stage) and any conflict of interest.
  • Complete and return via email the Diversity Monitoring form, including stating any political activity.
  • If you are applying under the Disability Confident Scheme you will need to meet the minimum criteria for the role as determined by the AAP at sift. This will guarantee an invite to an interview.  To ensure fairness, the AAP will not be informed of who has applied under the GIS until they have set the minimum criteria at the start of the sift meeting. Please complete the Disability Confident scheme declaration form.

Please note: Defence Business Services is currently operating with minimal staff in their offices, if you unable to apply online please contact Defence Business Services ( or telephone 0300 1566377)



46866_UKHO_CHAIR_NED_Campaign information pack_OSP
46866_UKHO_CHAIR_NED_Disable Confident Scheme Declaration_OSP
46866_UKHO_CHAIR_NED_Diversity Monitoring Form_OSP
46866_UKHO_CHAIR_NED_Expression of Interest_OSP

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

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