Non Executive Directorships

Boundary Commission for Scotland –Member

Location: Edinburgh

Date Posted: 07/09/2020

Closing Date: 05/10/2020

Vacancy Description

The Boundary Commission for Scotland is one of four Parliamentary Boundary Commissions, covering each part of the United Kingdom, first established by the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1944.

The Boundary Commission for Scotland is an Advisory Non-Departmental Public Body that is sponsored and wholly funded by the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland.  It is an independent body constituted by the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986.  The Commission’s duties and powers are detailed in that Act, and in Schedule 1 of the Scotland Act 1998.  The Commission is responsible for reviews of UK Parliament constituencies in Scotland.

Applicants should note that the Parliamentary Constituencies Bill currently in the UK Parliament will make provision regarding:

  • the number of parliamentary constituencies;
  • the rules governing the setting of the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies;
  • the conduct of boundary reviews by the Boundary Commissions; and
  • the process for bringing the Boundary Commissions’ recommendations into effect.

Pending these provisions, preparatory work on the next review of constituencies in Scotland for the UK Parliament is expected to begin in early 2021.

The Commission is an independent body and as such is politically impartial.  It emphasises very strongly that the results of previous elections do not and should not enter its considerations when it is deciding its recommendations.  Nor does the Commission consider the effects of its recommendations on future voting patterns.

The ex-officio Chairman of the Commission is the Speaker of the House of Commons, although the Speaker takes no part in the proceedings of the Commission.  The Commission’s work is led by the Deputy Chairman who is a Court of Session judge appointed by the Lord President of the Court of Session.  The two other members of the Commission are appointed by the Secretary of State for Scotland through a public appointments process.  In addition, the Director General of Ordnance Survey and the Registrar General for Scotland are ex-officio Assessors to the Commission.

Commissioners have the support of a small unit of seven staff led by the Secretary to the Commission.  All staff also support the work of the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland.

Further information about the Boundary Commission for Scotland can be obtained from the Boundary Commission for Scotland’s website, at:

https://www.bcomm-scotland.independent.gov.uk/

Person Specification

The role of a member will involve:

  • attending meetings of the Boundary Commission for Scotland, having studied papers supplied in advance;
  • participating in the Commission’s discussions and decision making;
  • formulating proposals in line with the relevant legislation;
  • following the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by the Committee on Standards in Public Life;
  • complying with the Code of Practice for Commissioners, and ensuring you understand your duties, rights and responsibilities and that you are familiar with the function and role of the Boundary Commission for Scotland; and
  • undertaking visits to areas as part of the review process, as required.

The successful candidate will hold office subject to compliance with the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (see Appendix), the Code of Practice for Commissioners, and any guidance issued by the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Additional Information

It is essential that candidates must:

  • be able to assimilate and interpret large amounts of evidence, including map-based and numerical information, and reach reasoned and practicable conclusions;
  • demonstrate knowledge of political and public life of Scotland, and its government, parliamentary and electoral structures;
  • be able to think strategically, to communicate and to work successfully in a small team;
  • demonstrate knowledge of Scotland’s geography and demography;
  • demonstrate political neutrality while being aware of political sensitivities and stances; and
  • have a clear understanding of and commitment to “the Seven Principles of Public Life”.

In addition, it is desirable that candidates may:

  • have relevant knowledge of geography, government or the law;
  • be familiar with the scope and potential of geographical information systems; and
  • have experience of maximising the role of public consultation, including the use of social media, to support evidence-based decisions informed by as wide a range of people as possible.

Eligibility

Applicants should consider whether any other roles they hold – or political associations they have – might present a conflict of interest when working in a context that is particularly sensitive politically.

In accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments, all applicants are asked to complete a conflict of interest form that includes a declaration about any political activity in the past five years. The questions do not ask for personal or private information such as voting preferences, but prospective applicants should consider carefully any association they may have had with a political party, and whether that would be compatible with the critical political independence of the Boundary Commission for Scotland.

An appointee to a public body could find that matters or incidents which previously attracted no attention could become matters of legitimate public interest once the person concerned holds a public appointment.  Actual or perceived conflicts might include, for example, a situation where a candidate has interests in an organisation that might benefit from a contract with the Boundary Commission for Scotland. A conflict of interest will not necessarily preclude an individual from appointment but candidates must be prepared to have this explored at interview.

How to Apply

Application packs can also be obtained by emailing bcs-appointments@scotlandoffice.gov.uk

or by telephoning  0207 270 6705.

Applications should be sent by email to bcs-appointments@scotlandoffice.gov.uk.

Alternatively you may send by post to: BCS Appointment, Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland, Dover House, Whitehall, SW1A 2AU.

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