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Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland (OSSS) and the Office of the Advocate General for Scotland (OAG) are seeking to fill a Non-Executive Director position

Posted: 24th April 2020

Vacancy Description

Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland (OSSS) and the Office of the Advocate General for Scotland (OAG) are seeking to fill a Non-Executive Director position on the department’s Joint Management Board.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland is the UK Government’s Office for Scotland. The OSSS ensures the effective working of the devolution settlement in Scotland. The OSSS represents Scottish interests within the UK Government and represents the UK Government in Scotland.

The Office of the Advocate General (OAG) are the UK Government’s Scottish legal advisers. OAG provides legal advice, drafting and litigation services to the UK Government in relation to Scotland. OAG also supports the Advocate General in his role as a UK Government Law Officer.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Office of the Advocate General occupy a unique place at the heart of the UK Government as the UK moves forward on an evolving constitutional journey. OSSS and OAG have a critical role in representing and promoting Scottish interests and the Union at the centre of the UK Government as the UK continues its negotiations with the EU. In recent years the Offices’ have been at the centre of the transfer of further powers to the Scottish Parliament and our constitutional work will continue as well as ensuring that Scotland’s views and interests are fully represented in the UK’s new relationship with the EU.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland is responsible for not only the £11.611m  administration cost of the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and Office of the Advocate General but also the £0.3m sponsorship of the Boundary Commission for Scotland and the transfer of £29.993 billion funding to the Scottish Consolidated Fund which funds the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament.

The strategic objectives of the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland are:

  1. Strengthen and sustain the Union and Scotland’s role in it
  2. Champion the UK government in Scotland
  3. Support economic growth in Scotland

The Office of the Advocate General’s Five Strategic Objectives are:

  • Providing Advice on Policy and Legislation;
  • Protecting the UK Government’s Interests in the Courts;
  • Strengthening and Sustaining the Union;
  • Helping to Ensure that Devolution Works; and
  • Supporting Ministers.

More information may be found at:

Non-Executive Board Members (NEBMs) are appointed by the Secretary of State of each Department. The role of the NEBMs is to contribute to the strategic debate on the key issues and priorities facing the running of the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and OAG. The NEBMs exercise their role through influence and advice, supporting as well as challenging, the Executive team and Ministers.

NEBM’s give advice and support on the operational implications and effectiveness of policy proposals, focussing on getting policy translated into results. NEBMs will deal with high level and strategic issues and their impact in the short and longer-term.  Policy will be decided by Ministers alone, with advice from officials.

Corporate Governance in Central Government advises that each department should appoint a Lead Non-Executive Director who is part of a wider cross Government network. This will encourage greater cross departmental work on shared cross Government priorities such as: better workforce planning, talent management and business planning.

For more information on Departmental boards and Government Non-Executive Directors please see:

The Non-Executive Board Director will, amongst other things:

  • Sit on the Departmental Board, chaired by the Secretary of State;
  • Meet other NEBMs regularly, ensuring their views are given due weight on the board and the Secretary of State is aware of any concerns
  • Advise on performance and transformation, operational issues and the effective management of the Department;
  • Provide independent scrutiny for the Department upon request; and

Person Specification

The successful candidates will demonstrate the following qualities or skills:

  • Experience of the Scottish food and drink industry, including experience of export markets and awareness of issues relating to immigration in these sectors;
  • Proven senior leadership in large and complex organisations in the private, public or voluntary sectors, with main board-level experience as an Executive or Non-Executive;
  • Experience of risk, performance and financial management;
  • Experience of leading major projects from initiation, through development and to delivery, using sound evidence to inform decisions;
  • Understanding of devolution in Scotland;
  • An understanding of the key challenges faced by the public sector, particularly around the efficiency agenda, and the ability to bring their experience to bear on these challenges;
  • A genuine interest in contributing to the effective running of the Department, at the Board, elsewhere in the Department and (as appropriate) across Government with an understanding of the current political environment in which the Offices’ operate;
  • Sound judgement, clear capacity for strategic thinking and excellent communication and interpersonal skills  and a high level of integrity (including when dealing with confidential or sensitive issues) and a commitment to the seven principles of conduct in public life:; and
  • The ability to contribute and inspire confidence with a wide range of stakeholders both in formal environments (such as Board meetings) and in less formal environments (such as one-to-one meetings with Executives).

Additional Information

In addition the successful candidate will have more detailed expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Financial scrutiny
  • Risk management
  • Delivering change
  • Operational delivery
  • Major Projects
  • IT transformation
  • Talent Management
  • Audit

How to Apply

In order for us to progress your application please submit the following completed documentation:

  1. A current Curriculum Vitae including an employment history showing the more significant positions and responsibilities held. The CV should provide evidence to demonstrate the skills and experience in the areas identified for this post.
  2. A short covering letter, with information about experience considered most relevant to the work of the Offices’ and recent activities as a member of a Board or its equivalent – or evidence of having worked closely with a Board.
  3. The names and contact details of two referees who are in a position to comment professionally about you and your likely suitability for the post, with a brief indication of how long, and in what capacity, they have known you. Referees will not be contacted unless a candidate is selected for interview.

Please send this information to:

This post is NOT regulated by The Commissioner for Public Appointments.

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