Vacancy Description

The Government Legal Department (GLD), a Non-Ministerial Department, is seeking to appoint three Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) to its Board. GLD has been through a period of rapid expansion since its creation in 2015 and now provides high quality legal services to most Whitehall Departments and to more than a hundred other government and public bodies. It is now one of the largest legal organisations in the UK with around 1,600 solicitors and barristers, and 700 paralegals and other professionals and support staff.

The current organisational strategy comes to an end in April 2019 and we are looking for NEDs with the vision, commitment and experience to work alongside the Permanent Secretary/Treasury Solicitor, GLD Board and the Attorney General to define, communicate and deliver a clear strategic vision for the Department for the next 5 – 10 years as GLD supports the government meet unprecedented challenges and opportunities and govern well, within the rule of law.

The terms of appointment will be for an initial period of three years, which may be extended in further defined periods by agreement. The maximum total term of appointment is six years.

The successful candidates will be expected to take up their position between 1 August and 31 December 2018.

The Roles:

Non-Executive Directors complement the balance of experience, knowledge and skills of the Executive Members of the Board by bringing an external perspective.   The value of the NEDs lies in their constructive challenge and the fresh, objective viewpoint that they provide. The NEDs will:

  • Support the Board in defining, communicating and delivering a clear strategic direction for the Department including its vision, values, culture and setting high standard for ethics and the responsible conduct of public business;
    Ensure the Department is able to provide a resilient, responsive high quality legal service to meet the significant political, policy and operational delivery challenges faced by government against a background of a changing legal market and fiscal constraints.
    Actively challenge the Executive Member of the Board on key issues including the Business Plan, Strategic Risks, Structure and performance of the organisation;
    Provide counsel, advice and support to the Executive Members of the Board, acting as a sounding board and critical friend where necessary;
    Engage in annual budget panel review meetings; keep under review the current funding model and drive best value for money;
    Monitor and challenge the department’s performance in relation to its objectives, commitments and its strategy;
    Examine client satisfaction and performance reviews including meeting key departmental stakeholders;
    Support the Law Officers role as Ministers accountable to Parliament for the work of the GLD;
    Be an ex-officio member of Board Sub-Committees.
    And will meet the following person specification:
    Track record of significant achievement at a senior level in the commercial, private, public or not-for-profit sectors;
    Personal credibility and the ability to use their experience, knowledge and skills to benefit the work of the Department;
    Experience, knowledge and skills of managing a business
    Strong analytical skills, judgement and decision making;
    Knowledge of corporate governance;
    Knowledge of professional service delivery;
    Personal credibility and the ability to use their experience, knowledge and skills to benefit the work of the department;
    Excellent communication, negotiation and influencing skills.

The three positions are as follows:

Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee and Performance Lead

In addition to the general responsibilities set out above this NED will:

Ensure that the Board maintain appropriate governance and internal controls, and that sound risk and performance management regimes are in place;
Ensure that the Board regularly reviews the adequacy of the risk management framework by maintaining an active and effective approach to the identification and mitigation of Departmental risks;
Provide an objective assessment of year-end financial statements and related reports and provide advice to the Accounting Officer on the approval of the statements;
Facilitate discussion and challenge on internal and external audit related matters;
Provide assurance on the adequacy and reporting of fraud, security and whistleblowing arrangements.
Additional skills and experience required:
CCAB Qualified accountant and/or extensive experience of working in a relevant senior finance role.

Legal Quality Lead

In addition to the general responsibilities set out above, this NED will:

Ensure that the Board regularly reviews the quality of our legal service provision to make sure we are delivering the highest possible quality and value for money legal service to our clients
Sit on our Legal Quality Committee
Champion improvements in legal quality
Support and challenge GLD’s legal quality strategy and legal training programme
Chair the Pay Committee
Additional skills and experience required
This NED will have experience of leading and managing the effective delivery of high quality legal services at scale.

People and Change Lead

In addition to the general responsibilities set out above this NED will:

Sit on our People Committee
Support and challenge GLD’s People Strategy
Ensure that the Board regularly reviews arrangements in place to recruit, retain, develop, organise and deploy our people of all grades and roles to meet GLD’s objectives
Champion employee engagement, diversity and inclusion and health and wellbeing
Sit on our Change Committee
Support and challenge the design and delivery of transformation projects across GLD
Ensure the Change Committee and the Board maintain appropriate programme management governance and controls;
Additional skills and experience required
This NED will be able to demonstrate relevant extensive senior experience, e.g. in people and/or change management

About Government Legal Department

The Government Legal Department (GLD) is the largest provider of legal services across government, working with over 180 government departments and agencies.  From roads to rivers, and health to human rights, our work touches on most aspects of public life.

The department has more than 14 client-facing advisory teams who provide legal advice on the development, design and implementation of government policies and decisions, draft secondary legislation and work with Parliamentary Counsel on primary legislation. Our cross-cutting expert service groups for Litigation, Employment, Property and Commercial Law provide specialist legal services to a wide range of government departments and public bodies.

We are a non-ministerial government department and executive agency with more than 2,500 employees, around 1,800 of whom are solicitors or barristers.  The Department is based primarily in London, but has teams in Bristol and Leeds.

As an organisation, our vision is to be trusted by government to provide consistently excellent and value for money legal services so government departments want to come to us to meet their legal needs, to be known throughout the legal profession for the quality of our legal work, and to be the best employer for our people.

Further information about GLD is available on the website Government-Legal-Department