Terms of engagement
Conflicts of interest
Candidates for membership of the Board must indicate anything that might be, or might be perceived to be, a conflict of interest, if appointed. Conflicts could necessarily include inter alia any current interest in, or connection with, the food and related industries. A current potential conflict of interest (including a connection with the food industry) does not in itself preclude membership of the FSA Board: indeed, as envisaged by the Act, a number of current members of the Board have connections with different parts of the food industry.
Board members will need to ensure that the register of their relevant private interests, maintained and published by the FSA, is kept up to date. Board members will be compelled to declare any such interests before each and every occasion that the Board discusses a matter to which they are relevant and to then withdraw from the discussion if the Chair judges these to be disqualifying interests.
Possible conflicts of interest and their potential impact on the contribution the candidate might make to Board discussions therefore would need to be discussed as part of the appointments process.
Under statute, the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 or Orders made under the Government of Wales Act 2006 apply. Board members may be removed from office if they have been declared bankrupt, had their estate sequestered, or have made an arrangement with their creditors.
This appointment attracts an honorarium of £24,391 per annum in total for both roles, working approximately seven days per month. The honorarium, subject to deduction of National Insurance and tax, is paid monthly in arrears. Agreed additional days are remunerated pro-rata.
Meetings of the Board will generally be held over two days on up to ten occasions per year (there is no meeting in February and August). Some eight of these will be held in public, of which one will be held in each of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at least every two years. On very rare occasions, there may be a need for an unscheduled Board meeting to take place at short notice to address urgent food policy issues.
Currently for each of the open Board meetings, members convene at lunchtime, prior to the open meeting which is held during the afternoon; there is then an overnight stay, and the business session (which is not open to the public) takes place next morning. The detail of this format is under review; however the broad shape, of meetings over two days with an overnight stay, is likely to remain.
On this basis, the total time commitment for a board member is approximately three days per month. Some members may be asked by the FSA to contribute more time on an occasional or continuing basis, for example to represent the FSA at an external engagement or to serve on a sub-committee. In the first year there will be a requirement to participate in the structured induction and development programme and this will require a commitment of a further number of days (This will be somewhere between 5 and 10 days – induction is tailored to the requirements and interests of specific members). For commitment greater than that specified in the member’s contract, pro-rata payment may be made, subject to the agreement of the Agency.
The time commitment for the Chairmanship of the Food Advisory Committee (FAC) will be four days per month. The FAC meets eight times a year, a minimum of six of these meetings are held in public. During the course of each meeting there is an open question and answer session for members of the public. Some of these meetings will be held at the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland’s office in Belfast, however Committee meetings are held throughout Northern Ireland. Other meetings that deal with internal Committee business, such as organisational issues and future work plans, are held in closed session.
Board appointments are for variable terms of up to three years, renewable for a further term on the recommendation of the Chair and subject to satisfactory performance. Should a Board member wish to continue to serve for more than two terms, he or she would need to go through the full selection process again.
Equality & Diversity
The Agency is committed to providing equality of opportunity for all applicants. Applications are welcomed regardless of gender, disability, age, religion, ethnic origin, political opinion, sexual orientation or whether or not you have dependents.
You are entitled to travel and subsistence expenses necessarily incurred on FSA business in accordance with the rates and rules, which apply within the FSA.