Vacancy -- Appointment of Member - Welsh Food Advisory Committee

Vacancy details

Welsh Food Advisory Committee
Committee meetings are usually held in Cardiff; however, there may be occasions when meetings are held throughout Wales.

Members of the Welsh Food Advisory Committee are contracted for two/three days per month, at an honorarium of £5,319.00 per annum, paid monthly in arrears at one twelfth of the annual rate by bank credit.  The honorarium is non-pensionable, is subject to the deduction of National Insurance and is taxable.  The Agency will determine any variation in the level of annual remuneration.  The right to this remuneration under the Act ends on the expiry of your term of office or its earlier termination.

While we welcome applications from Civil Servants and other public sector workers, Executive Office Public Appointments Guidance states: “Applicants who already work in the public sector need to be aware that no one should be paid twice from the public purse for the same period of time.  As a result, applicants who already work in the public sector may not be entitled to claim remuneration for a public appointment if the duties are undertaken during a period of time for which they are already paid by the public sector.”  These principles will apply in appointing members to the Committee.

3
month

Function of body

The Welsh Food Advisory Committee (WFAC) acts as an advisory body to the Food Standards Agency.  Members of the WFAC are appointed by the Minister responsible for the Department of Health in accordance with the Food Standards Act 1999.  The statutory role is defined as follows:

 "There shall be an advisory committee for Wales for the purpose of giving advice or information to the Agency about matters connected with its functions (including, in particular, matters affecting or otherwise relating to Wales)."


Members appointed to WFAC should comply at all times with the Seven Guiding Principles of Public Life, laid down by the Nolan Committee on Standards in Public Life (Annex C). 


What is the Food Standards Agency?

The Food Standards Agency is an independent UK non-Ministerial Government Department set up by Act of Parliament in April 2000 as a food safety watchdog to protect the public’s health and consumer interests in relation to food.  Its sphere of influence ranges across the entire food chain, from pesticides and veterinary medicines to food safety and hygiene standards in shops, restaurants and takeaways.  The FSA works closely with other bodies such as local authorities, other Government Departments and Executive Agencies to ensure that regulations on food safety and standards are enforced to protect consumers.  Research and survey work is commissioned from a variety of sources (including independent Advisory Committees, individual experts and interested bodies) to ensure that policies are based on the latest and best-available evidence.  This is particularly important as the FSA often has to manage food risks in the face of incomplete knowledge or disagreement amongst experts.

The FSA is equally accountable to the Westminster Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Wales Assembly through their relevant Health Ministers.  In addition to its London headquarters, the FSA has offices in Cardiff, Belfast and supporting its functions in Wales and Northern Ireland respectively with an additional regional office in York.

The FSA is a Government Department, but is led by a Board rather than directly by a Minister.  This enables it to work at “arm’s length” from Government.  The legislation which established the FSA (the Food Standards Act 1999) reinforced the FSA’s position by giving it powers to publish any advice it issues, including advice to Ministers.  One Wales Member, Dr Ruth Hussey, is appointed to the UK Board and Chairs the Welsh Food Advisory Committee.

Recognising the range of often conflicting and confusing advice on food, the FSA aims to ensure that it is the UK’s most reliable source of advice and information about food, in which the consumer can have confidence.  The FSA’s guiding principles are: 

  • putting the consumer first
  • openness and transparency
  • science- and evidence-based
  • acting independently
  • enforcing food law fairly

In putting the consumer first, the FSA has made food safety its top priority.  It aims to provide consumers with understandable, accurate and reliable information on which they can base their decisions about food and which will help them understand all the issues surrounding food, food safety and diet and nutrition.  The FSA is committed to supporting all consumers in food matters, including the most socially and economically disadvantaged.

The FSA bases its decisions and advice on the best evidence available, aiming to ensure that the decision-making process is as open and transparent as possible, seeking the views of interested parties before reaching conclusions and always explaining the reasons for its decisions and advice in a straightforward manner.  It has made a commitment to decide on policy issues in public and after open debate.


Role description

WFAC was established in 2000 to provide advice and information to the FSA.  Such advice and information will be on food safety, food standards and allied subjects, particularly as they relate to Wales. Candidates will wish to note that the FSA in Wales is not responsible for nutritional advice since this function transferred to Welsh Government in 2010.  The Agency is required to take account of such advice or information that is reasonable or practical, whether or not given at the Agency's request.  WFAC members are appointed by the Minister of Social Service and Public Health in accordance with the Food Standards Act 1999, to provide a wide range of expertise, experience and practical knowledge. 

The Committee: 

  • acts as a sounding board for Agency officials and its Board on specific issues
  • acts collectively in the public interest
  • advises on the development of policy and legislation undertaken by the Agency
  • helps to establish priorities for the Agency taking account of:
    -        consumer concerns
    -        surveillance or research data
    -        topical issues                      
    -        committee members’ judgement

 
WFAC is committed to working in an open and transparent way by

  • holding public meetings in a variety of locations across Wales;
  • listening to the views of Wales stakeholders;
  • supporting the FSA at public events;
  • identifying issues that are important to Wales; and
  • producing thorough and well considered advice.

 

In the last year the Committee has

  • held four open meetings in Wales and 2 development day/briefing meetings; and
  • provided advice to the Agency on a variety of topics including: the review of the National Food Crime Unit; FSA Science; food and feed Surveillance; developing proportionate controls for “risky foods”; animal welfare; the Regulating Our Future programme; EU Exit; the consumer interest in the food system; antimicrobial resistance; the Incidents and Resilience Annual Report 2017/18; Raw Drinking milk; the sustainable funding model project; and campylobacter reduction.

 

General responsibilities of WFAC members 

WFAC acts as an advisory body to the FSA.  The Committee’s term of reference is: 

  • to give advice or information to the Agency about matters connected with its functions including in particular matters affecting or otherwise relating to Wales.

Welsh language skills

The Welsh Government acknowledges the importance of developing and growing bilingual capabilities in public appointments in Wales, and welcomes applications from candidates who demonstrate their capability to work in both English and Welsh.  The following list of language requirements represents an objective assessment by the recruiting body of the Welsh language skills required to undertake the duties of this particular post.
Desirable

Person specification

The Committee is looking for individuals who meet the following criteria: 

Essential skills and knowledge: 

  • Ability to think and act both strategically and analytically; 
  • Have good judgement, a high level of integrity and public responsibility, coupled with the ability to participate in making difficult decisions; 
  • Ability to interpret and communicate information effectively orally, in writing and through a variety of media channels; 
  • The ability to serve either without conflict of interest or to demonstrate how they would deal with any potential real or perceived conflict; 
  • Experience of considering and understanding scientific advice, evidence and argument; 
  • Candidates would be expected to have substantial background experience in 1 or more of the following disciplines:
    Science (e.g.  Microbiology, Medical, Epidemiology, Veterinary or Social Science particularly behaviour change)
    Education/Academia (Preferably agri-food or food systems and safety)
    Communications (e.g. Engagement with consumers through various channels, especially social media)
    Food Production (Food production background)
    Other (e.g. Food fraud, feed industry or catering/restaurant hotel sector, policy making in related areas, community food initiatives, consumer
    protection, consumer research)

 

*Please note that the FSA’s remit in Wales does not cover Nutrition.

 

Essential/Desirable skills and knowledge:

  • Commitment to food or consumer issues/consumer insight within the Wales context;
  • Understanding of the role of a Committee member of a major public organisation and the associated collective responsibilities;
  • Ability to speak Welsh is essential for one post and desirable for the second post.

In all of these, preference will be given to those most able to help deliver the Agency’s Strategic plan as part of a collegiate structure.  The appointment will take into account the balance of skills on the Committee.  The FSA Strategy and Strategic Plan 2015-2020 as well as the Wales Annex and Science, Evidence and Information Strategy 2015-2020 Delivery Plan can be found on the FSA’s website at: www.food.gov.uk/about-us/about-the-fsa

 

Interview dates

12 June 2018
12 June 2018

Closing date

04/05/2018, 23:55

Additional information

Meetings held in public
As part of its commitment to openness, a minimum of six meetings per year are held in public, and any interested member of the public or press can attend.  During the course of each meeting there is an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions of speakers and Committee members.  These meetings may be held at the Food Standards Agency Wales’s office in Cardiff, however Committee meetings may also be held throughout Wales, and members must be willing to travel accordingly.  Because these meetings are held in public, and to a tight timescale, Committee members need to be able to speak clearly and confidently in public and be able to make their contributions succinctly.  Discussions that deal with internal Committee business such as organisational issues and future work plans, are generally held at the Committee’s planning sessions and are conducted in closed session.

Time commitment

The role involves a time commitment of approximately 2/3 days per month, including Committee meetings and preparation time.  You may also be required to undertake other Committee duties elsewhere as the need arises, for example contributing to a WFAC sub-committee established to consider a particular subject area, or representing WFAC at another event.  All reasonable expenses for travel and subsistence will be reimbursed.

The appointment will be for 2 or 3 years initially, renewable for a further term on the recommendation of the Chair and subject to satisfactory performance during the initial period of office.  The final decisions on appointments and re-appointments are made by the Minister of Social Services and Public Health.  There is no automatic presumption of reappointment and there is a strong presumption that no individual should serve more than two terms or serve in any one post for more than 10 years.

Please note that the Food Advisory Committees in Wales and Northern Ireland are currently being reviewed in terms of the way they operate and the general responsibilities as outlined in the above paragraphs may be subject to change because of this.

Equal Opportunities
Public appointments are based on the principles of merit and equal opportunities, with independent assessment, openness and transparency of process.  WFAC is committed to achieving diversity amongst its members.  Applications are welcomed from suitably qualified people, regardless of race, religion, ethnic origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age or disability, who are able to represent the interests of the public in Wales.


Eligibility
Applicants should be persons who conduct themselves at all times in a manner which will maintain public confidence.

In particular applicants are required to declare whether they are aware of anything in their private or professional life that would be an embarrassment to themselves or to the Welsh Government if it became known in the event of appointment.

Members will be required to declare all their personal or business interests which may, or may not be perceived by a reasonable member of the public to influence their judgement.  These will be published annually in a register of interests.  Commercial, professional or financial involvement or service as an employee in food or agriculture related industries will not automatically represent a conflict of interest which could exclude appointment to the Advisory Committee (although any current or past connection of the applicant or his or her partner should be disclosed in the application).

You should particularly note the requirement for you to declare any private interests which may, or may be perceived to, conflict with the role and responsibilities as a Member of the Welsh Food Advisory Committee, including any business interests and positions of authority outside of the role in the Welsh Food Advisory Committee.

If appointed, you will also be required to declare these interests on appointment which will be entered into a register which is available to the public.


Standards in public life 

You will be expected to demonstrate high standards of corporate and personal conduct. All successful candidates will be asked to subscribe to the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies, you can access this document at: http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/governance/blboard/Board%20Code%20of%20Practice%202011.pdf

 

How to apply

To apply for this role, click on the ‘Apply’ button below. The first time you apply for a post, you will need to complete a registration form for the Welsh Government’s online application system.  You will only need to register once, and you will be able to keep yourself updated on the progress of your application, and any other applications you make, via your registered account.

Once you’ve registered, you’ll be able to access the application form.  To apply you will need to submit two supporting documents. The first, a document outlining how your knowledge, skills and experiences meet the criteria for the role as outlined in the information for candidates.  This document should be no more than 2 sides of A4.  Your application may be rejected if you exceed this limit.  The second document is a full, up to date CV.  The two documents should be uploaded to the ‘Reasons for applying’ section of the online application form.

In your application, you will also be asked to provide details of any activities which have helped you to develop skills that would be useful in a public appointment role, and list the organisations for which you undertook these activities.  We also need to know about any political activity that you’ve undertaken over the last 5 years. 

It is recommended that you register for an account and access the application form as soon as possible so that you see how the application form is structured, before starting to prepare your evidence.  You don’t have to complete the application form all in one go.  You can save your responses, and log in and out as required, until you’re ready to submit – just follow the guidance in the application form.

If you’d like to apply for this opportunity in Welsh, please use the ‘Newid Iaith / Change Language’ link at the top of this page, to take you to the Welsh version of this advert, from which you can apply in Welsh.

If you need any further assistance in applying for this role, please contact the Welsh Government’s Corporate Shared Service Centre Helpdesk on 03000 255454 or PublicAppointments@gov.wales

For further information about Public Appointments in Wales, please visit www.gov.wales/publicappointments

This vacancy is closed to applications.