Terms of reference

The Export Guarantees Advisory Council (the Council) is established under Section 13 of the Export and Investment Guarantees Act 1991 as amended by the Small Business enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

Purpose and objectives

The statutory purpose of the Council is to give advice to the Secretary of State, at his request, in respect of any matter relating to the exercise of his functions under the Act. It does not perform executive functions or take decisions on UK Export Finance’s activities.

Status

The Council is a non-Departmental Public Body.

Activities

The Council normally provides advice to the Secretary of State through UK Export Finance officials, usually at meetings attended by UK Export Finance’s Chief Executive. The Council addresses its views directly to the Ministers on any subject where it deems it appropriate to do so. It meets with the Minister once a year.

The main areas on which Ministers seek advice are on UK Export Finance’s policies relating to:

  • environmental, social and human rights
  • anti-bribery and corruption
  • sustainable lending
  • disclosure through its obligations under information legislation

The Council gives advice on other issues as requested by Ministers.

UK Export Finance informs the Council of developments related to relevant international agreements and policies set by Ministers which guide UK Export Finance’s operations so these can be taken into account by the Council in providing its advice.

The Council meets with interested parties i.e. exporters, banks, trade associations, special interest groups, to help inform its work.

The Council chairperson meets annually with the Chair of the UK Export Finance Board to report on the activities of the Council and discuss issues of mutual interest.

Members and Chairperson

Council members are appointed by Ministers, one of whom is appointed as Chairperson, in line with the recruitment policies and procedures of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Quorum

A quorum will be the Chairperson, or his nominee, and two other members.

Secretariat

The Council’s secretariat is provided by UK Export Finance. The Secretary is responsible for organising meetings, producing agendas, providing papers and producing minutes of meetings.

Reporting

Minutes of each meeting are produced and published. The Council produces an annual report of its activities which is published in the UK Export Finance annual review and accounts.

Public service values

Council members are expected to:

  • observe the highest standards of impartiality, integrity, and objectivity in relation to the advice they provide
  • be accountable to the Secretary of State for the Council’s activities and for the standard of advice they provide
  • follow the seven principles of public life set out by the Committee on Standards in Public Life

Declaration of interests

Council members declare directorships and executive appointments held, and any substantial shareholding or interest held including any held by immediate family members. A Register of Interests is held by the Secretary.

Although legal proceedings by a third party against individual board members or advisory bodies are very exceptional, a Council member may be personally liable if a fraudulent or negligent statement is made which results in a loss to a third party. If a Council member has provided advice honestly, reasonably, without negligence and in good faith UK Export Finance will provide an indemnity against personal civil liability.