News story

New team of Non-executive board members appointed at the Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice has announced the appointment of a new team of non-executive board members.

Ministry of Justice sign

Liz Doherty, Sir Martin Narey and Lizzie Noel have agreed to join the board following a public recruitment exercise that ended last month.

They will join Sir Theodore Agnew, who has accepted the role of lead non-executive board member following an open competition.

Non-executive board members are senior figures from outside government, appointed to provide challenge to government departments. As set out in the government’s Code of Practice, non-executive board members should be appointed directly by the Secretary of State and are not civil servants. Their role is to:

  • give advice to ministers and officials on the operational and delivery implications of policy proposals;
  • provide independent support, guidance and challenge on the progress and implementation of the department’s strategic direction;
  • advise on performance and support the development of Key Performance Indicators to monitor implementation of the department’s business plans.

Liz Doherty brings significant financial expertise to the board with 30 years’ international finance experience in a number of large multi-nationals, including Unilever and Tesco. Her significant financial and previous non-executive experience makes her well placed to chair the department’s Audit and Risk Committee.

Sir Martin Narey is a former prison governor and was the first Chief Executive of the National Offender Management Service. He has extensive knowledge of the criminal justice system and, as the former Chief Executive of Barnado’s, the UK’s largest children’s charity, he also brings considerable experience from outside the public sector.

Lizzie Noel has a wealth of experience in both the public and private sectors. As a former director of communications at government services and education business Tribal Group plc, an expert adviser at the Department for Education, and a former senior aide to the Mayor of London, she brings valued knowledge of working in business as well as public service reform and programme design.

Sir Theodore Agnew was appointed as a non-executive board member for the Ministry of Justice in June of this year, and has now accepted his appointment as lead non-executive. Sir Theodore previously served for 5 years as a non-executive board member at the Department for Education, where he helped drive efficiencies and improve departmental performance.

Additional information

A fair and open competition for the posts was conducted, with the recruitment and selection process overseen by Sir Ian Cheshire, the Government’s lead non-executive.

An advertisement for the vacant position of lead non-executive board member and additional non-executives was published on 4 June. The deadline for applications for the lead non-executive was 10 June. The deadline for the additional non-executive roles was 30 June. The lead non-executive was appointed on 16 July and the additional non-executives were appointed on 12 August and 19 August.

All shortlisted candidates were subject to a panel-based assessment. In accordance with the rules, the panel for the lead non-executive comprised the government’s lead non-executive, the Secretary of State and the Permanent Secretary. The panel for the additional non-executives comprised the new lead non-executive board member and the Permanent Secretary.

Recruitment of both the lead non-executive board member and the additional non-executive board members followed the procedures set out in the Government’s Code of Good Practice for Corporate Governance in Central Government Departments, and its supporting guidance.

The guidance makes clear:

  • Non-executive board members in Whitehall will be appointed by the Secretary of State. The appointment of lead non-executives will be on the approval of the Prime Minister.
  • It is recommended that the appointment panel includes the Secretary of State, the Permanent Secretary of the department and the government lead non-executive board member (for appointments to the role of lead NEBM) or lead non-executive board member (for all other NEBMs). The Secretary of State may wish to delegate the assessment of shortlisted candidates to the Permanent Secretary and a Lead Non-Executive Board Member, and to make their selection based on the recommendations of the panel.
  • Non-executives on departmental boards are not employees and they do not benefit from temporary civil service status.
  • Previous or current political activity should not be an automatic bar to appointment.

The new team of non-executive board members will attend their first board meeting next month.

Published 20 August 2015