FCO Services are a Trading Fund of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). We provide a range of integrated, secure services worldwide to the FCO and other UK government departments, supporting the delivery of government agendas. We also provide services to foreign governments and international organisations closely linked to the UK.
Operating and delivering worldwide, we design, build and provide secure services in more than 250 embassies, high commissions and other critical government facilities across 160 countries. We aim to exceed customer expectations and in doing so, build a deep understanding of our customers’ requirements, interpret their security needs and deliver services that produce effective public value.
We are seeking to appoint a high calibre individual with a professional background in accountancy and strong commercial experience to the dual role of Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) and Non-Executive Director on the FCO Services Board.
The Chair of the FCO Services Audit and Risk Assurance Committee provides a unique opportunity to contribute to protecting and promoting British international interests. The Chair of the ARAC will need to help shape FCO Services in an increasingly competitive commercial environment, while achieving the balance between external market growth and continued sustainable delivery to the FCO and other customers.
The Chair of the ARAC will be expected to:
• Chair meetings of the Committee: maintaining a high standard of discussion and debate, ensuring sufficient time for the discussion of complex or contentious issues and ensuring all members’ contributions are encouraged and valued;
• Set an agenda for the Committee: focussing on strategic matters, mapping forward, evaluating and overseeing current business;
• Support and work closely with other members of the ARAC: dealing effectively with dissent and working constructively to make decisions;
• Oversee the strategic processes for control & governance: including the annual governance statement.
• Advise on accounting policies and financial accounts: including the process for their review prior to submission for audit. They will be responsible for approving the annual accounts;
• Work closely with NAO and IAD to ensure FCO Services compliance;
• Review anti-fraud policies and raise any matters of concern.
• Assure the adequacy of corporate governance requirements and responses to issues identified by audit activity including the NAO management letter;
• Bring an external perspective to the work of the Committee: providing independent challenge and insight;
• Report to the FCO Services Board: on the work of the ARAC in a timely and comprehensive manner, and to act as the ARAC’s spokesperson as required;
• Commit approximately 10 days per year, including attendance at ARAC meetings and preparation time.
The individual will also be a Non-Executive Director on the FCO Services Board. The role of an Independent Non-Executive Director involves:
• Providing robust commercial challenge and advice to the Chief Executive and Executive Team;
• Agreeing FCO Services’ strategic aims and objectives;
• Providing specialist knowledge and advice on the operation of the business to enhance FCO Services’ capacity to deliver;
• Acting as an advocate for FCO Services;
Provision of approximately an additional 21 days Non-Executive support.
For these appointments, the qualities and competencies FCO Services are looking for will need to include:
• Strong commercial acumen and financial experience at a senior leadership level;
• An accounting qualification recognised by the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB);
• Accountancy experience sufficient to undertake an independent scrutiny role around Financial matters, including Annual Accounts;
• Previous experience on an Audit Committee;
• An understanding of the strategic challenges of operating in the security and technology markets in Government;
• An understanding of our customer base, government experience or experience working with Whitehall customers;
• Robust analytical skills, with a straight-forward, open approach;
• The ability to absorb complex information and to provide constructive support and challenge in the process of guiding assessment and performance;
• The ability to work on an advisory basis with Executive Directors and senior staff of the organisation, the FCO and other FCO Services Non-Executive Directors;
• An understanding of the operation of Executive Agencies/Trading Funds;
• An understanding of the role of FCO Services and a commitment to supporting its priorities.