and person specification
Part A: details of post
Division Chief Executive, Chair and Deputy Branch / unit Private Office
Chair’s Private Office
Job title Board Secretary Grade G7
Salary range £ 43,511 to £ 56,048 p.a. Location London
Reports to: Job title Head of Private Office Grade G6
Reports on: (number of staff by grade) Board Support x 2 (HEO)
Conditions (e.g. full time, secondment) Permanent
Reference number (to be completed by HR Recruitment) G7/822
Part B: job description
Insert organisational chart showing where vacancy sits
Private Office Vacancy
Head of PO Team
AA AO EO HEO SEO G7 G6 SCS1 SCS2 SCS3
Private Secretary Private Secretary Veronica Martell Vacancy
Head of Branch
to Chair and to the Chief Briefing Manager Board Secretariat
Deputy Chair Executive
Vacancy Suzanne Dalton Chrissie Tsampazi Debbie Coles Firth Piracha Rosalie Ashtiani Rosemary Cairns
Diary Manager Diary Manager Board Support Board Support
Tessa Virtue Gabrielle Sanders Hassan Ayoola Usha Fatania
Correspondence Team Parliamentary Team
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Provide an overview of current challenges impacting on the role, upcoming issues / events that the branch is likely to
experience, divisional objectives
Provide a brief overview of the main purpose of the post
To support the FSA and its subcommittees, including the MHS Board, so as to enable it to effectively discharge
its core governance functions:
i. making policy decisions on the action needed to protect the interests of consumers in relation to
ii. determining the FSA’s strategic priorities, aims and objectives within the broad remit set by the
Food Standards Act;
iii. holding the organisation to account, through the Chief Executive, for delivering the strategic
objectives set by the Board.
The Board Secretary’s prime responsibility is thus to ensure that the Board gets what it needs, when it needs it,
and in the right form to enable it to fulfil its responsibilities.
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List duties and responsibilities
(i) Planning the Board’s business to enable it to balance its time effectively between the major policy issues
of the day, longer-term strategic thinking, oversight of strategic “engine room” issues (IT, HR, legal, and
financial concerns) critical to the FSA’s ability to deliver, and its accountability role;
(ii) Proactively ensuring that the right issues are brought to the Board at the right time, including:
policy issues where the Board needs to decide – in public – on what action the FSA should take
itself, or should advise Ministers to take, to protect consumers;
decisions on overall direction and strategy (both external and internal);
performance information to enable the Board to undertake its “holding to account” role.
(iii) Ensuring that Board meetings including its sub committees, both open and business, run smoothly and
efficiently, and that papers are of a high quality with timely and appropriate information;
(iv) Following up responses to requests/instructions from the Board and advising the Board of outcomes as
(v) Advising the Board (taking internal and/or independent legal advice as necessary) on key governance
issues and on the proper exercise of its responsibilities including risk and the management of risk; and
providing or facilitating confidential advice to individual Board members, for example on the appropriate
handling of potential conflicts of interest or on possible legal vulnerabilities or liabilities;
(vi) Ensuring that the Board’s Code of Conduct, Standing Orders etc remain consistent with current good
Ensure effective co-ordination of all the Board’s sub-committees (the MHS Board, Audit Committee, Risk
Committee and Succession and Development (S & D) Committee), secretariat to the S & D committee, and any
temporary Board subgroups.
Ensure that Board agendas and those of the FSA’s statutory Advisory Committees for Scotland, Wales, and
Northern Ireland are properly co-ordinated, and that staff developing papers for the Board involve the Advisory
Committees at the earliest possible stage. An early task for the appointee will be to improve this process and
develop improvements to the recruitment and development of the Committees, and how they communicate with
each other and the FSA. .
Work with the Chair and Deputy Chair to develop Board effectiveness, to build and develop the skills of new and
existing Board Members, and support the Chair in recruitment of new Members and in the review of performance.
Initiate development programmes as necessary to support both individual Members and the Board as a whole.
Proactively support the Chair, Deputy Chair and Board members in their governance role through developing a
wide knowledge of the organisation’s activities and an understanding of the risks inherent in them.
Manage their team to provide an excellent secretariat to the Board and its subcommittees.
Part C: person specification
• For posts from AA to Grade 6 level, the Agency’s Core Competency Framework applies. This can be viewed at
• For posts at Grade 7 and above, the Professional Skills for Government also apply. These can be viewed at:
HR 29 (Rev. 5/09)
Highlight any aspects of these competency frameworks that are particularly important to the post
• Experience of providing a secretariat to a Board, Committee, Council or equivalent, and an excellent
understanding of corporate governance.
A high level of intellect in order to assimilate and understand the work of the FSA, its policy context,
operational issues and challenges. An ability to think quickly and respond to situations, identifying risks,
proposing solutions and strategies.
Able to identify significant issues, using lateral and analytical thinking skills; being astute at identifying
“political” sensitivities (in the broadest sense) and emerging threats or opportunities.
• Relationship management
An ability to build excellent relations with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders and partners,
engendering trust and confidence in them as an individual and the organisation as a whole. Ability to act as
the confidante of the Board and the personal qualities to earn – and deserve - the trust and confidence of
An ability to communicate well both orally and in writing. The Board upholds the FSA principle of openness
and transparency. The Board Secretary will have to be comfortable in operating publicly.
• Management and Leadership
The ability to make things happen. An ability to lead, manage and direct a team of staff to deliver optimum
results; to model appropriate behaviours and promote the organisation’s core values both internally and
Ability to prioritise, schedule and co-ordinate activity and meet deadlines while ensuring business processes
are effective and efficient. Ability to pay attention to detail without losing sight of the big picture.
• Experience of acting as Clerk, Company Secretary, or equivalent to a Board (of Members, Governors or
Trustees) Council or Senate of a complex organisation with a clear vision of best practice in this field.
• ICSA Qualification
• Technical Knowledge
Knowledge of the legal responsibilities of the Board or demonstrable ability to acquire such knowledge
Please provide any notes or conditions relating to the post
For further information on the role and the work of the branch, please contact:
Line manager: Philip Clarke on 020 7276 8337
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