Non Executive Directors Wanted:

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills invites applications for appointment to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

HEFCE has a key role to play in regulating the current Higher Education system. The Government’s recent Higher Education White Paper sets out plans to streamline the number of organisations that have a funding and regulatory role in the sector and HEFCE’s functions will be transferred to one of two new organisations, the Office for Students and UK Research and Innovation. We are looking for strong corporate leadership of HEFCE during this period, to ensure that current statutory functions are successfully undertaken alongside preparations for transition to a new system, with the potential for continuing service on the board of the Office for Students.

There may be an opportunity for board members to continue to serve on the successor body to HEFCE, the Office for Students, which will, subject to Parliamentary approval, come into existence in April 2018. Such a continuation would be subject to the terms outlined below, and to satisfactory performance and to the requirement that public appointments be made on the basis of fair and open competition.  

Board members will need to be proactive and reactive in helping manage the organisation during a period of transition and work positively with the Government on preparations for implementing reforms.

Board members will be involved in, and responsible for, developing policies and ensuring that the projects, programmes and activities undertaken by HEFCE are consistent with the overall provisions of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 and any succeeding statutory provision, following guidance or directions issued by the Secretary of State.

We are particularly interested in hearing from applicants who have knowledge of or experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • employing graduates
  • promoting the experience of students
  • understanding of the needs of consumers
  • market regulation and competition (across all sectors, not limited to HE)
  • the Higher Education sector

We welcome all applicants with the capabilities outlined below.

Board members are formally responsible, through the Chair, to the Secretary of State. With the Chair and Chief Executive the Board members will be responsible for;

  • providing high level strategic thinking, advice, challenge and leadership on the implementation of higher education policy initiatives and programmes.
  • monitoring the forward work programme and effective execution of the Board’s decisions through the Chief Executive;
  • ensuring effective overall operation and governance,
  • supporting and driving forward the Government’s reforms of higher Education;
  • representing views to the general public and at various events.

Board members currently take an active part in other Board activities and sub-groups such as the Audit Committee as well as acting as chair or members of the Board strategic advisory committees as follows:

  • Teaching Excellence and Student Opportunity
  • Research and Knowledge Exchange
  • Leadership, Governance and Management
  • Quality, Accountability and Regulation

Person Specification


  • ability to demonstrate strategic leadership.
  • strong intellectual capability
  • ability to manage corporate change and complex problem solving
  • ability to drive forward reform
  • ability to demonstrate a good understanding of financial and corporate governance standards, including an appreciation of equality and diversity good practice and standards of conduct in public life
  • enthusiasm to contribute to the delivery of the Government’s priorities for higher education.


  • ability to work in a non-executive role
  • ability to bring fresh ideas and innovative thinking to enable development and growth

Skills and personal qualities (To be tested at interview)

Candidates will demonstrate

  • good strategic thinking and sound judgement
  • excellent communication, relationship building and influencing skills
  • deep interest in the development of Government policy relating to students and higher education

We particularly welcome applications from women and people with disabilities, and from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to improve the representation of these groups on the Board.

Additional Information


distributes public money to universities and colleges in England, incentivising excellence in research, learning and teaching and knowledge exchange.

  • collects, synthesises and benchmarks data to provide a unique authoritative voice on higher education.
  • is the lead regulator for higher education in England. It respects the autonomy of providers and protects the interest of students.
  • informs, develops and implements government policy to benefit the sector, students, and society.

In 2016-17, HEFCE will distribute approximately £4 billion in Government funding to over 300 universities and colleges.

HEFCE Board members are normally appointed for a fixed term of three years with the possibility of renewal for a further three years. The reforms set out in the Government’s HE White Paper and Higher Education and Research Bill propose that many of HEFCE’s functions will transfer to one of two new organisations, the Office for Students or UK Research and Innovation. HEFCE Board appointments will be reviewed in the light of those changes.

The Department for Business Innovation & Skills is committed to making appointments on merit by fair and open process, taking account of equal opportunities. This application form is available in alternative formats if required.

Information about the potential successor body to HEFCE, the Office for Students, can be found through the following links:

White Paper –

Bill –

Explanatory Notes –

Number of Vacancies: up to 4
Remuneration: This is a part time non-executive appointment for which an honorarium of £5,000 per year is paid through PAYE. Travel and other reasonable expenses will be paid in accordance with HEFCE’s Conditions of Employment. There is no entitlement to pension, holiday pay etc.
Time Requirements: We estimate the role will require a commitment of 20 days per year, comprising some seven or eight meetings (both Board meetings and planning events) and preparation time.
Closing Date: 04/07/2016
Interviews: Early August

How to Apply

Please submit you application by email in the first instance

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV (including nationality, education and professional qualifications, career history, and relevant achievements and responsibilities)
  • A covering letter demonstrating evidence of your ability to meet the criteria for this role. Please provide specific examples to demonstrate how you meet each of the criteria.
  • The completed Political Activity, Conflict of Interest and Diversity Monitoring questionnaire
HEFCE applicant pack – June 2016