News story

Non-executive Steering Board Member vacancy at the IPO

The Intellectual Property Office is seeking to recruit a Non-executive Steering Board Member.

IPO sign

Vacancy details

  • time commitment: 6 meetings per year plus preparation time, with an expectation that there will be involvement in other corporate activities which will equate to approximately 18 days
  • duration: 3 years
  • location: Newport, South Wales
  • remuneration: £6,000 per annum
  • closing date: 9 July, midnight 2015

Background

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is the official government body responsible for Intellectual Property (IP) rights in the United Kingdom. These rights include:

  • Patents
  • Designs
  • Trade marks
  • Copyright

The IPO is an Executive Agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). It is a self-funding agency, with income flowing from fees for patent and trade mark registration and renewal.

The IPO is responsible for UK IP policy, granting UK patents, trade marks and design rights, IP awareness and education, and supporting effective IP enforcement. It has a strong international reputation for the quality of the services delivered and the contribution made to international thinking on global and European IP policy challenges.

The IPO promotes growth and innovation by providing a clear, accessible and widely understood IP system, which enables the economy and society to benefit from knowledge and ideas.

The use of patents and trade marks is associated with better creation, transfer and use of knowledge and higher firm productivity. By targeting efforts so they are more closely aligned with the growth agenda, the IPO can make sure the benefits of the IP system are maximised and shared more widely, supporting economic growth and enriching society.

Strategic goals

Our five year Corporate Strategy published in 2011, is being updated and will be published later in 2015. The Strategy, which replaces the document we published in 2011, will provide the strategic framework for IP to support the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) as the ‘Department for Growth’.

The work on the strategy has yielded 6 draft strategic goals which are consistent with our current direction, as reflected in our current Corporate Plan

  • promoting UK growth through IP policy
  • delivering high quality rights granting services
  • ensuring IP rights are respected and appropriately enforced
  • educating and enabling business to understand, manage and protect their IP
  • improving the skills and capability of our people
  • increasing efficiency and delivering value for money

Organisational structure

The IPO is headed by the Chief Executive, who is Accounting Officer, and is supported by a team of directors. The Chief Executive has executive responsibility for the day to day operations and administration of the IPO.

As an Executive Agency of BIS, the IPO is directed and controlled by corporate governance rules to ensure that it supplies public services of the highest quality, shares good ideas, controls costs and above all delivers what it is supposed to.

To ensure the IPO acts within these rules, Ministers appoint independent members to sit on a Steering Board. This Steering Board has no executive functions; its role is to advise Ministers, through the Director General, on the strategies that the IPO must adopt. They provide support and challenge to the IPO Executive as part of BIS governance.

The Steering Board has established an Audit Committee to assist and advise on governance, risk, control and associated issues. The Committee acts in a non-executive capacity, therefore, applications from fully qualified accountant/finance professionals in accordance with CCAB criteria are desirable but not essential for this role.

The Role of the non executive Director

The non executive Directors provide a valuable external perspective to the IPO. They can provide influence and access to networks which the organisation would otherwise not have. While the Non Executive Director would not have a role in policy making they would be able to bring an external challenge.

The IPO is looking for individuals of exceptional quality who have the vision and experience to help shape the overall strategy and ensure quality and governance are of the highest standards.

To deliver this the IPO are seeking applications from individuals with senior strategic level experience from the public or private sector with insight into and/or experience of some or all of the following areas:

  • IP issues and challenges facing SMEs and ways of addressing these
  • research and development activity within academia
  • the experience of businesses working with universities and research institutions.
  • commercialising innovation and of public sector business and innovation support infrastructure

The key responsibilities include:

  • the ability to quickly assimilate sufficient knowledge about relevant matters in order to contribute to board discussions, including:
    • scrutinising and evaluating board papers and supporting material,
    • focusing on key issues,
    • providing guidance on new initiatives
    • leading and/or contributing positively to discussions
  • the ability to demonstrate high standards of propriety and to encourage efficient and effective use of staff and resources
  • the ability to provide authoritative advice to the Board in areas where the member has special expertise
  • to act an ambassador for IP and the IPO, providing an external perspective and access to networks

Person specification

In particular, the IPO are seeking applications from individuals with senior strategic level experience from the public or private sector with insight into and/or experience of some or all of the following:

  • IP issues and challenges facing SMEs and ways of addressing these
  • research and development activity within academia
  • the experience of businesses working with universities and research institutions.
  • commercialising innovation and of public sector business and innovation support infrastructure

As well as the above points, the IPO are seeking the following skills and experiences from applicants:

  • an understanding of, or a willingness to develop, knowledge of IP and its role in innovation
  • an understanding and appreciation of the values and role of the IPO and of the public sector
  • board level experience gained in either an executive or non-executive capacity
  • experience of risk management and governance at a strategic level
  • an ability to build relationships with executive colleagues and a clear understanding of the role of the executive versus that of the non-executive
  • a good communicator with the ability to challenge constructively
  • strong analytical skills and judgement ability

In addition, an accountancy/finance qualification (in accordance with CCAB criteria) would be desirable, but is not an essential criterion for the role.

The Board Member will be required to demonstrate a clear commitment to the seven principles of public life, as drawn up by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Interviews will be held on 12 August 2015

Successful candidates will be expected, where reasonably possible, to attend the IPO’s Steering Board Awayday, which is being held on 21 & 22 October at The Celtic Manor Hotel, Newport. This will require an overnight stay.

Application process

Submission of an application form, CV and Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form to The Whitehall and Industry Group (WIG). To upload your documents online, please visit The Whitehall and Industry Group

If you have any questions about this opportunity, please contact Tasneem Aboobaker at WIG on 020 7222 1166 or email nonexecutive.

Published 12 June 2015