Oct 142020

Lead Non-Executive Board Member of the Joint Management Board – Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and Office of the Advocate General for Scotland

Body: Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and Office of the Advocate General for Scotland
Appointing Department: Scotland Office and Office of the Advocate General
Sectors: Business, Finance & Skills, Charity & Public Sector
Location: London/Scotland (occasional travel to Scotland/London)
Skills required: Accountancy, Audit and Risk, Business / Commercial, Change Management, Communication / Media / Marketing, IT / Digital, Legal / Judicial, Major Projects, Transformation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The Lead NEBM will be eligible to claim £300 remuneration per meeting of the Board and other meetings on business as a Board member. All reasonable expenses (including standard rate travel, subsistence and other related expenses, in line with the arrangements for OSSS and OAG staff) properly and necessarily incurred in respect of your appointment, will be reimbursed.
Time Requirements: Approximately 15-20 days per annum, including up to 5 Board meetings per annum. The appointment will be on the basis of a 3 year fixed-term contract.
Closing Date: 15/11/2020

Vacancy Description

The Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland (OSSS) and the Office of the Advocate General for Scotland (OAG) are seeking to appoint a Lead Non-Executive Director on the department’s Joint Management Board. As Lead Non-Executive Director, the successful candidate will provide external advice and expertise, which informs the department’s decision-making process

The Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland is the UK Government’s Office for Scotland. The OSSS ensures the effective working of the devolution settlement in Scotland. The OSSS represents Scottish interests within the UK Government and represents and promotes the work of the UK Government in Scotland.

The Office of the Advocate General (OAG) are the UK Government’s Scottish legal advisers. OAG provides legal advice, drafting and litigation services to the UK Government in relation to Scotland. OAG also supports the Advocate General in their role as a UK Government Law Officer.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Office of the Advocate General occupy a unique place at the heart of the UK Government as the UK moves forward on an evolving constitutional journey. OSSS and OAG have a critical role in representing and promoting Scottish interests and the Union at the centre of the UK Government as the UK Government and the European Union work towards the end of the EU transition period. In recent years the department’s have been at the centre of the transfer of further powers to the Scottish Parliament and our constitutional work will continue as we implement the Scotland Act 2016 as well as ensuring that Scotland’s views are fully represented in the negotiations on EU transitional arrangements and the UK’s future relationship with the European Union.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland is responsible for not only the £8.9m administration cost of the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and Office of the Advocate General but also the £0.4m sponsorship of the Boundary Commission for Scotland and the transfer of £28 billion funding to the Scottish Consolidated Fund which funds the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament.

The strategic objectives of the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland are:

  • To strengthen and sustain the Union and Scotland’s role in it: to act as custodians of the devolution settlement;
  • To champion the UK Government in Scotland: to represent and advocate the UK Government’s policies and achievements in Scotland.
  • Support economic growth in Scotland

The Office of the Advocate General’s Five Strategic Objectives are:

  • Providing Advice on Policy and Legislation;
  • Protecting the UK Government’s Interests in the Courts;
  • Strengthening and Sustaining the Union;
  • Helping to Ensure that Devolution Works; and
  • Supporting Ministers.

More information may be found at:



Non-Executive Board Members (NEBMs) are appointed by the Secretary of State of each Department. The role of the NEBMs is to contribute to the strategic debate on the key issues and priorities facing the running of the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and OAG. The NEBMs exercise their role through influence and advice, supporting as well as challenging, the Executive team and Ministers.

NEBM’s give advice and support on the operational implications and effectiveness of policy proposals, focussing on getting policy translated into results. NEBMs will deal with high level and strategic issues and their impact in the short and longer-term. Policy will be decided by Ministers alone, with advice from officials.

Corporate Governance in Central Government advises that each department should appoint a Lead Non-Executive Director who is part of a wider cross Government network. This will encourage greater cross departmental work and collaboration on shared cross Government priorities such as: better workforce planning, talent management and business planning.

For more information on Departmental boards and Government Non-Executive Directors please see:


The Lead Non-Executive Board Director will, amongst other things:

  • Sit on the Departmental Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for Scotland;
  • Support the Secretary of State as Chair of the Board;
  • Meet other NEBMs regularly, ensuring their views are given due weight on the board and the
  • Secretary of State is aware of any concerns;
  • Liaise with the Government Lead NEBM; and
  • Play an active role in the cross-Government work of Lead NEBM’s.

As part of their role on the Board, the Lead Non-Executive Director will also, amongst other things:

  • Advise on performance and transformation, operational issues and the effective management of the Department;
  • Provide independent scrutiny for the Department upon request; and
  • Work with executives and their offices to continue to improve the performance of the Department.
  • Advise on all aspects of departmental policy, strategy, commercial and financial management, people resourcing, delivery and risk, performance management, and its delivery portfolio;
  • Undertake (or assist on) specific project work by agreement with Ministers to assess and enhance the Department’s performance;
  • Bring external experience and expertise to the role and be able to challenge the Board, Ministers and officials; providing an important scrutiny function for the Department;
  • Have the professional credibility and authority to challenge and hold to account OSSS & OAG leaders;
  • Support the Secretary of State for Scotland in their role as Chair of the Board and take on some tasks normally fulfilled by the Chair outside of meetings;
  • Meet regularly with other OSSS and OAG Non-Executive Board Members to ensure their views are understood and that the Minister is made aware of any concerns;
  • Meet regularly with the OSSS Director and Accounting Officer;
  • Regularly liaise with other UK Government departmental Lead Non-Executive Directors and the UK Government Lead Non-Executive Director on behalf the department’s Non-Executives; and
  • Lead an annual review of the Board’s effectiveness.

Person Specification

Successful candidates will have a track record of work in Government, the wider public sector, business, the voluntary sector or trade union movements. She/he should/will demonstrate the following:

  • Record of working with Ministers, senior officials or other relevant public sector stakeholders;
  • Proven senior leadership in large and complex organisations in the private, public or voluntary sectors, with main board-level experience as an Executive or Non-Executive;
  • Experience of risk, performance and financial management;
  • Experience of leading major projects from initiation, through development and to delivery, using sound evidence to inform decisions;
  • An understanding of devolution in Scotland and an ability to influence and shape the challenges;
  • An understanding of the key challenges faced by the public sector, particularly around the efficiency agenda, and the ability to bring their experience to bear on these challenges;
  • A genuine interest in contributing to the effective running of the Department, at the Board, elsewhere in the Department and (as appropriate) across Government with an understanding of the current political environment in which the Offices’ operate;
  • Sound judgement, clear capacity for strategic thinking and excellent communication and interpersonal skills and a high level of integrity (including when dealing with confidential or sensitive issues) and a commitment to the seven principles of conduct in public life: http://www.public-standards.gov.uk/about-us/what-we-do/the-seven-principles;
  • The ability to contribute and inspire confidence with a wide range of stakeholders both in formal environments (such as Board meetings) and in less formal environments (such as one-to-one meetings with NEBMs); and
  • The ability to challenge received wisdom, by scrutinising advice and decision making, is the single most important attribute for any candidate.

Additional Information

In addition the successful candidate will have more detailed expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Financial scrutiny
  • Risk management
  • Delivering change
  • Operational delivery
  • Major Projects
  • IT transformation
  • Talent Management
  • Audit

Particular knowledge or experience is sought in one or more of the following areas:

  • Communications (and in particular digital communications);
  • Government efficiency programmes and/or public sector reform;
  • Workforce issues (terms and conditions, change management) and diversity;
  • Leading major projects;
  • The Union and devolution policy or constitutional law.

How to Apply

In order for us to progress your application please submit the following completed documentation:

  1. A current Curriculum Vitae including an employment history showing the more significant positions and responsibilities held. The CV should provide evidence to demonstrate the skills and experience in the areas identified for this post.
  2. A short covering letter, with information about experience considered most relevant to the work of the Offices’ and recent activities as a member of a Board or its equivalent – or evidence of having worked closely with a Board.
  3. The names and contact details of two referees who are in a position to comment professionally about you and your likely suitability for the post, with a brief indication of how long, and in what capacity, they have known you. Referees will not be contacted unless a candidate is selected for interview.

Please send this information to:

Megan-Rose Duffy
Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland

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

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