Non-Executive Director – House of Commons Audit Committees
Date Posted: 01/06/2020
Closing Date: 15/06/2020
The House of Commons has two audit committees, with identical membership, covering the House’s two Estimates (budgets). Both Committees provide support to the Clerk of the House in discharging his responsibilities as the Accounting Officer, and advise him on the maintenance of an effective system of internal controls. The Administration Estimate Audit Committee covers the Administration Estimate which meets the costs of the House of Commons service and supports the House of Commons, its Committees and its Members. The Members Estimate Audit Committee covers the Members Estimate, which concerns only a limited amount of expenditure directly relating to Members. Neither Committee is responsible for Members’ pay or expenses, which are the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
The audit committee is chaired by an external member, who is also a member of the House of Commons Commission; the Commission is responsible for the administration and services of the House of Commons, including the maintenance of the Palace of Westminster and the rest of the Parliamentary Estate. Other audit committee members include two other external members and four Members of Parliament. Further information on the Audit Committees, including their Terms of Reference and their membership is available here on the Parliament website.
The Audit Committee is looking to recruit a new external member from July 2020. The successful candidate will have a professional background in accountancy or a related discipline, with experience of audit and an excellent understanding of public sector management and governance in a large and complex organisation.
Person Specification - Skills and Experience
- Essential criteria
Please give examples in your application as to how you have demonstrated these qualities in your current or previous roles
- Board or Board-level experience within a complex organisation in the public, private or not-for-profit sectors.
- Experience as a non-executive director, external member, trustee or equivalent in the public, public, private or not-for-profit sectors, or have extensive experience of working with non-executive Board members.
- Extensive experience of successfully managing relationships in a complex, multi-stakeholder environment.
- Skills and attributes
- Analysis: excellent analytical skills that have been proven on complex and sensitive issues.
- Financial: recent and relevant expertise in finance, accounting and/or audit process, particularly for public sector organisations.
- Interpersonal: the ability to contribute constructively and collaboratively with Committee members, inspiring confidence and respect.
- Risk: ability to provide constructive advice based on experience of risk management and the control environment.
- The highest levels of personal integrity, fairness and impartiality.
- Desirable criteria
- Understanding of the role of the House of Commons Service and the House of Commons governance structure.
- Financial or accounting qualification.
- Experience as an audit committee member.
Candidates will come from a range of backgrounds and areas of the United Kingdom. All candidates will be required to demonstrate in their written applications and at interview how their experience has equipped them to meet the requirements of the role. The criteria that will be used to assess whether candidates have the required knowledge, experience, skills and qualities as set out in this document. Please ensure you provide evidence, metrics where relevant, and examples (as far as you are able) in response to these when writing your application. Should you be selected for interview, these areas will be assessed in more depth at interview.
Personal Qualities and Skills
- Absolute integrity.
- The communication skills to get your view across in meetings or in writing.
- Confidence and strength of character to manage situations both assertively and sensitively.
- Respect for the sensitivity and confidential nature of some of the evidence and knowledge that will arise during the course of the work.
- The ability to forge relationships of trust while retaining independence of thought.
- The resilience required to work in an environment of close parliamentary, media and public scrutiny.
- Proven commitment to diversity and inclusivity.
Time Commitment and Remuneration
The successful candidate will need to be willing to dedicate around 10 to 15 days per year to the role. This will include approximately two days per quarter to attend Audit Committees meetings in Westminster, as well as additional meetings to coincide with the end of the financial year (early summer) and other meetings / familiarization visits by arrangement.
This is a remunerated non-executive position currently paying £9,000 per annum. All reasonable out-of-pocket expenses wholly, exclusively and properly incurred will be reimbursed (subject to providing vouchers, receipts or other evidence of actual payment of such expenses and subject to the arrangement being specifically agreed in advance).
Appointment will be for three years, with the possibility of extension for a further three years.
Candidates have to demonstrate complete impartiality during their time on the Committee and should not during their term of office undertake any party political activity. See also the section on registration of interests on the next page. Party political activity includes:
- holding office in a party political organisation;
- speaking in public on matters of national or local political controversy;
- expressing views on political matters in the media, or in books, articles or leaflets or on social media site such as Twitter or Facebook;
- being a candidate for election to the Westminster Parliament, Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales, Northern Ireland Assembly or local authority;
- canvassing on behalf of a candidate for election to the Westminster Parliament, Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales, Northern Ireland Assembly, local authority or a political party;
- attending, in a member or delegate capacity, conferences or functions arranged by party political organisations; being involved in campaigning in a national referendum campaign.
Some candidates may well have undertaken party political activity in earlier periods. The Political Activity Declaration will be kept separate from your application and will only be seen by the Panel prior to interview – the Panel may at that stage explore with candidates any potential for conflict of interests.
Party political activities may have given you relevant skills, including experience gained from committee work, collective decision making and resolving conflict. If, therefore, you have had such experience and you consider it relevant to your application for this post, you may if you choose include it in the main body of your application.
Valuing diversity, equality & fairness
The House of Commons Service recognises and values the diversity of its staff and is committed to developing working practices which will allow everyone to contribute his or her best, regardless of race, sex, marital status, religion or belief, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment or any other irrelevant factor.
You will also be required to comply with the Behaviour Code for Parliament and will be subject to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.
In order to help the House monitor the success of its commitment to diversity and inclusion, all applicants are requested to complete the online Diversity Monitoring Form.
This form is used for monitoring purposes only and will not be made available to the selection panel. The House reserves the right to disclose details of successful applicants to meet legal, regulatory and public policy requirements, and also any other duty it may have, to provide information to Parliament.
Successful candidates will be required to complete pre-employment checks. This includes security vetting to Counter Terrorist Check (CTC) level unless otherwise specified. All successful candidates are required to pass these checks before an offer can be confirmed. Applicants should be aware that if they have resided outside of the UK for a total of more than two of the last five years they are not eligible for vetting.
Please visit: https://www.parliament.uk/documents/PSD-Security-Vetting-booklet.pdf for further information.
Standards in public life
Although the appointment does not come within the remit of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, it is being made using a process which reflects the Commissioner’s Code of Practice. The Seven Principles of Public Life, the ‘Nolan’ Principles to be upheld by all those taking up Public Appointments, are included at Annex A for convenience.
Registration of interests
The purpose of these provisions is to avoid any danger of member being influenced, or appearing to be influenced, by their private interests in the exercise of their public duties.
The appointment require the highest standards of propriety, involving impartiality, integrity and objectivity, in relation to the stewardship of public funds and the oversight and management of all related activities. This means that any private, voluntary, charitable, or political interest which might be material and relevant to the work of the body concerned should be declared. It is important, therefore, that you consider your circumstances when applying for this appointment and identify any potential conflicts of interest, whether real or perceived.
How to Apply
External members of the Committee will be selected on the basis of a written application and interview.
Applicants are asked to provide the following:
- A CV (maximum three sides of A4) with your full employment history as well as any unpaid or community achievements.
- A covering supporting statement (maximum two sides of A4) giving evidence of the strength and depth of your ability to meet the criteria for the role. Please provide specific examples to demonstrate how you meet each of the essential experience criteria as well as showing how you meet the qualities and skills listed and any of the desirable criteria.
- The names and contact details for two referees should be provided as an appendix to your CV. These must be people who know you in a professional capacity who are able to comment on your suitability for the role and who will be expected to have authoritative and personal knowledge of your achievements.
Guaranteed Interview Scheme
The House of Commons is a committed Disability Confident employer and as such, operates a Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS) for candidates with a disability. We are committed to interviewing all applicants with a disability who provide evidence of meeting the minimum requirements necessary for the post, as set out in this applicant pack.
To be eligible, your disability must be within the definition laid down in the Equality Act 2010. A disabled person is defined by the Equality Act 2010 as someone who has a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities. For the purposes of this policy, these words have the following meanings:
- Substantial’ means more than minor or trivial.
- Long-term’ means that the effect of the impairment has lasted, or is likely to last, 12 months (there are special rules covering recurring or fluctuating conditions).
- Normal day-to-day activities’ include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping.
Should you consider yourself eligible to apply for this post under the GIS, please complete the form available website when you submit your application.
CV and letters should be submitted via the House of Commons careers website – https://housesofparliament.tal.net/vx/lang-en-GB/appcentre-11/candidate/postings/2016
This post is NOT regulated by The Commissioner for Public Appointments.