Vacancy -- Chair - Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)

Vacancy details

Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)
Meetings are generally held at HEFCW’s offices in Bedwas, Caerphilly, South Wales, although will occasionally be held at other locations throughout Wales.
£24,264 pa plus reasonable travel and other reasonable expenses.

Function of body

The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (“HEFCW” or “the Council”) is a Welsh Government sponsored body established in May 1992 under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (“the 1992 Act”).

It is the body responsible for the regulation of higher education in Wales, under powers contained in the Higher Education (Wales) Act 2015, and administers funds made available by the Welsh Government to support education, research and associated activities at nine universities in Wales, including the Open University in Wales. It also provides funds for prescribed higher education courses at further education colleges.

In 2019-20 HEFCW will manage a budget in excess of £152m.

HEFCW is also subject to the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015.

HEFCW’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2018-19, its Corporate Strategy for 2017-2020 and a copy of the Minister for Education’s Remit letter for 2019-20 are available on HEFCW’s website


Council’s Role

HEFCW’s principal tasks currently are twofold:

  • to regulate higher education in Wales through the approval and monitoring of institutions’ fee and access plans; assessing the quality of HE in regulated institutions; and scrutinising the performance of HE through a framework for the organisation and management of the financial affairs of regulated institutions; and 
  • to distribute funds made available by the Welsh Government for the provision of education, supporting research and other eligible activities by higher education providers in Wales.


HEFCW also provides expert advice to the Welsh Government and the sector. Its Chief Executive is the designated Accounting Officer, having a specific responsibility relating to the use of public funds made available by the Welsh Government.

HEFCW’s Corporate Strategy 2017-20 sets out the priorities HEFCW will consider in pursuing its vision for a sustainable, accessible and internationally excellent higher education sector in Wales.

HEFCW’s vision is to sustain internationally excellent higher education in Wales, for the benefit of individuals, society and the economy in Wales, and more widely.

Its mission is to:

 • Fund higher education in Wales

• Regulate higher education providers in Wales

• Influence higher education with evidence-based advice and strong partnership working

• Work in partnership with students

• Operate effectively as an organisation.

Role description

The Further and Higher Education Act 1992 provides for the Council to have a membership of between 8 and 12 members, including the Chair and the CEO.

The Chair is expected to work closely with HEFCW Members, the Chief Executive and other HEFCW officials in providing strategic direction and giving advice and encouragement to the HEFCW in the fulfilment of its statutory responsibilities and in the initiation, development and implementation of policy. They will be party to key decisions concerning the Council’s strategy.

The Chair will ensure that authoritative and timely advice is provided to the Welsh Government Ministers and officials and will provide feedback to the sector itself.

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.
Can read simple material on everyday topics with understanding
Can write simple work-related correspondence
Can understand basic conversations about everyday topics
Can hold simple work-related conversations

Person specification

The Chair will provide strong and effective leadership and demonstrate an ability to work in partnership and build consensus. They will have the ability to test opinion and challenge current thinking. The Chair must also be able to deal confidently with Welsh Government Ministers and officials and the Heads and Chairs of Higher Education Institutions. The Chair must uphold, and will be widely perceived to uphold, the highest standards of integrity and impartiality, and be able to maintain respect for the work of the Council. 

In appointing members of the Council, the Welsh Ministers are required by section 62(4) of the 1992 Act to:

(a) have regard to the desirability of including persons who appear to have experience of, and to have shown capacity in, the provision of higher education or to have held, and to have shown capacity in, any position carrying responsibility for the provision of higher education and, in appointing such persons, have regard to the desirability of their currently being engaged in the provision of higher education or in carrying responsibility for such provision, and

(b) have regard to the desirability of including persons who appear to have experience of, and to have shown capacity in, industrial, commercial or financial matters or the practice of any profession’.

The Minister will take account of these requirements in making the Chair appointment. The Welsh Government would therefore welcome applications from candidates with a successful track record in industry, commerce, employer representation, or the practice of a profession. Whilst desirable these qualities are not essential to the post. 

Essential Criteria 

In addition to the above person specification, the following criteria are considered essential to the post: 

  • knowledge and understanding of higher education and of the challenges it faces in the UK and international context;
  • knowledge and understanding of the wider post-16 education and training sector and an understanding of the interaction with higher education;
  • empathy for students, their experience and life chances;
  • political awareness and an ability to develop political networks;
  • a clear understanding and commitment to equality and diversity and a willingness to challenge discriminatory practices; and
  • a good understanding of governance; and
  • ability to manage relationships with senior executives to deliver organisational goals

A successful candidate who has formerly worked for one of the Welsh higher education institutions will not represent the interests of that institution whilst on the Council, but will be expected to take an impartial and holistic view of the challenges facing the whole of the Welsh HE sector.

To be considered, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the qualities, skills and experience to meet all the essential criteria for appointment.

Interview dates

6 May 2020
6 May 2020

Closing date

21/02/2020, 16:00

Additional information


For further information regarding the selection process, please contact:


Public Appointments

Public Bodies Unit



For further information regarding the role of HEFCW and the role of Chair please contact Colette Eley in the WG sponsor team:


Tel: 03000 250523



or Dale Hall, HEFCW Council Secretary:


Tel: 029 2085 9665


If you need any further assistance in applying for this role, please contact:


For further information about Public Appointments in Wales, please visit

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 Public Appointments Team on

For further information about Public Appointments in Wales, please visit

Commissioner for Public Appointments logo

This vacancy is closed to applications.