Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom

Vacancies: Chair and Commissioners

The Secretary of State for International Development is looking to appoint a Chair and up to four new members of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK. In the event that the successful applicant for the position of Chair comes from the current membership, then five new Commissioners may be appointed.

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission is a non-departmental public body, responsible for delivering the UK’s contribution to the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan. It achieves this through the provision of (mainly postgraduate) scholarships and mid-career fellowships to some 800 individuals from throughout the Commonwealth each year. The Commission also nominates UK candidates to take up awards made by other Commonwealth countries. The Commission receives funding from the Department for International Development, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Scottish Executive, and most UK universities.

The role of Chair

The Chair of the Commission is responsible for a range of functions which help to ensure that the United Kingdom delivers a high quality and relevant contribution to the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, and in doing so meet its obligations to government, Commonwealth Scholars travelling to and from the United Kingdom, and other stakeholders. In particular, the Chair is responsible for ensuring that the Commission:

  • Has policies and actions that support the wider policies of the UK
  • Has in place an appropriate Strategy and/or Corporate Plan
  • In reaching decisions, takes proper advice of guidance provided by the Secretary of State or her/his Department
  • Makes efficient use of staff, Commissioner expertise and other resources
  • Operates within the highest standards of propriety
  • Effectively communicates its work to the UK Government and the Department for International Development (DFID), other stakeholders and the general public.

The role of the Chair will require approximately three working days per month, over and above the time commitment of individual Commissioners (12-15 days per annum). In respect of this, the Chair currently receives an honorarium of £6000 per year. In addition, the Chair is entitled to receive other allowances for participation in selection committee meetings and out of pocket expenses in line with Commission policies. Successful applicants should be willing to travel within the Commonwealth to represent the Commission and to travel to London to attend Commission meetings.

The role of Commissioner

There are 15 Commissioners, drawn from a range of academic, development, diplomatic,and private sector backgrounds. Their main roles are to:

  • Provide policy direction and oversight
  • Monitor the effectiveness of awards
  • Ensure appropriate structures for governance and accountability
  • Select recipients of awards through selection committees held in February and March of each year

Commissioners are expected to devote a minimum time commitment of 12-15 days per annum to the role, and this may be higher in the case of those who chair Committees. The role of Commissioner is un-remunerated, although out of pocket expenses are reimbursed in line with Commission policies Members also receive an honorarium, currently £250, in respect of each selection committee meeting in which they participate. Successful applicants should be willing to travel to London to attend Commission meetings.

How to apply

Applicants should read the Information Pack, which includes detailed job descriptions and person specifications for the roles of Chair and Commissioner, plus full details of how to apply:

Applicants may apply for either or both positions, and should make clear in the first question on the application form which position(s) they wish to be considered for.

All forms should be completed and returned to the following address:

Dr John Kirkland
Executive Secretary
Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom
Woburn House
20-24 Tavistock Square
London WC1H 9HF

Applications should be timed to arrive by no later than 17.00 (GMT) on 18 September 2014.

Applications may be sent to to arrive by the deadline. Where applications are submitted by email, hard copies must also be sent to arrive by no later than 17.00 (GMT) on 25 September 2014.

Appointments to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK are made in line with the Code of Practice of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA).

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