Non Executive Directorships

Non-Executive Departmental Board Member(s) – Department for Work and Pensions

Location: London

Date Posted: 21/11/2020

Closing Date: 04/12/2020

£5 – 15,000 pa

Vacancy Description

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is seeking applications for one or two Non-Executive Departmental Board Members (NEDBM), one of which will also be expected to be Chair of the Nominations Committee. The department is particularly keen to hear from applicants with backgrounds particularly in HR/people. Experience in customer service and pensions with a trustee focus would also be welcome.

Background

The Department for Work and Pensions is the largest department in government, providing services and support to over 22 million people and responsible for over 730 million benefit payments each year, totalling over £190 billion in 2019/2020. It currently employs over 82,000 people rising to 100,000 in over 800 locations nationwide, approximately a quarter of the civil service. We are representative of the economically active population and strive to be an exemplar employer in all respects.

It has a number of arm’s-length bodies, including the Health and Safety Executive and The Pension Regulator and the Money and Pensions Service. At the same time, DWP is engaged in delivering an ambitious programme of welfare reform, involving fundamental changes to policy, processes, IT, people and working practices, to ensure that we have the right people in the right place to provide critical support to those who are in need, during this pandemic and beyond.

Having a customer-focused effective operation recognising all our customers and claimants whether they be people seeking work to people in work to to people with health and disability needs to current and future pensioners, the organisation relies on its dedicated civil servants and contractors, augmented by effective support for their effectiveness and wellbeing. The People Strategy for DWP is to be “More Flexible, More Inclusive, More Continuously Learning”. The People and Capability Group also leads on Enterprise Resource Planning system transformation, the maintenance of good employee relations, changes in organisation design, and ongoing diversity and inclusion work.

The key activities of the department are to:

  • Run an effective welfare system that enables individuals, families and households to achieve financial security and independence;
  • Promote high levels of employment, through our network of over 640 Jobcentre Plus offices by working with people who are out of work, including people in disadvantaged groups to enable them to move into, and progress within, employment;
  • Support pensioners and prepare people for retirement through their pensions, including the regulation of an effective pensions framework;
  • Support disabled people to enjoy opportunity, choice and independence to help them have, and play, an equal role in society;
  • Support children with separated parents to ensure they are provided for through effective child maintenance arrangements;
  • Lead cross-government work on labour market strategy and play a key role in the economic recovery post-Covid 19; and
  • Work across government to support people’s ambitions for employment, such as skills and housing.

The role of a Non-Executive Departmental Board Member:

This is a critical time for the Department as it continues to face challenges during the Covid-19 outbreak. Managing the doubling of Universal Credit claimants with increasing unemployment, while helping people to be ready to get back into work. At the same time, work is ongoing on continuous improvement of other existing operations.

NEDBMs provide advice and bring an external perspective to the business of government.  They sit on the Departmental Board chaired by the Secretary of State and bring independent oversight, support and constructive challenge to the Executive Team and Departmental Board, through expert influence and advice. Non-Executives may also be involved in working groups or offer advice and support to individual Directors General and senior officials in addition to ad hoc pieces of work across the Department.

It is intended that a Non-Executive appointee in this recruitment process will chair the Nominations Committee, which usually meets up to four times a year. The Nominations Committee is established by the Accounting Officer as a formal Sub-Committee of the Departmental Board, and is in line with the Code of Corporate Governance. The Committee, in an advisory role, will:

• support the Board in its responsibilities in relation to identifying and developing leadership and high potential;
• scrutinise the incentive structure and succession planning arrangements.

The Nominations Committee Chair will formally report in writing to the Departmental Board after each meeting by way of a summary note

Key Responsibilities

  • To provide independent views and challenge to Secretary of State, Ministers and the Executive Team and senior officials;
  • To provide independent views and challenge of the People Strategy;
  • To share best practice and provide advice to executive board members on managing a large, diverse workforce whilst building capability and delivering transformed services;
  • Advise on cross-government initiatives and policies;
  • To work with executives and their offices to continue to improve the performance of the Department;
  • In particular, to work closely with the Director General, People and Capabilities as a source of different perspective.

Person Specification

Essential Skills and Experience for these Non-Executive roles:

  • Proven senior leadership in the private, public or voluntary sectors, with main board-level experience as an executive or non-executive;
  • Experience at Executive Team level in a large complex organisation with transferable knowledge relevant to the scale and functions of DWP, particularly in functions covering HR / People, Customer Service functions; experience regarding pensions and relationships with trustees would be desirable
  • Sound judgement and a high level of integrity (including when dealing with confidential or sensitive issues)
  • The ability to bring a fresh view to influence decision making at board level;
  • An understanding of the key challenges faced by the public sector and the ability to bring personal experience to bear on these challenges;
  • The ability to contribute and inspire confidence with a wide range of stakeholders both in formal and informal environments;
  • An engaging, collaborative working style, able to adapt to a wide range of political and non-political partners;

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