BCNI 2015- Candidate Information Booklet

Boundary Commission for
Northern Ireland
Appointment of Member
Candidate Information Pack
September 2015
The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland
The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland is an advisory Non-Departmental Public
Body funded by the Northern Ireland Office and constituted under the Parliamentary
Constituencies Act 1986, as amended by the Parliamentary Voting System and
Constituencies Act 2011.
There are four Boundary Commissions in the United Kingdom: one each for England,
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Commissions are permanent bodies operating
independently of Government.
The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland’s role is to review the number, names,
designation and boundaries of parliamentary constituencies in Northern Ireland and to
submit reports with recommendations to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
The enactment of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 introduced
new rules and procedures to be followed in the delineation of parliamentary constituency
boundaries together with a new method of allocating constituencies. It also provided for a 5year cycle of reviews.
The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland commenced its first review under the new
legislation on 4 March 2011; however, the review was subsequently postponed by
Parliament. The next review, which will be based on the electoral register published at 1
December 2015, must complete before 1 October 2018.
Membership of the Commission
The Speaker of the House of Commons is the Chair of each of the four Boundary
Commissions. There are three other members of the Boundary Commission for Northern
Ireland. The Deputy Chair, who is to be a judge of the High Court appointed by the Lord
Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, presides over the Commission’s meetings and there are
two other members appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
In addition, the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland has a number of assessors who
include: the Registrar General in Northern Ireland; the Commissioner of Valuation for
Northern Ireland; the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland; and the Chief Executive of
Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.
The Commission is supported and advised by a small secretariat comprising of staff
seconded from the civil service that is headed by the Secretary.
If you would like more information on the Commission you can access its website at
The Role
A position of member is currently vacant. Members of the Commission need to work
together to balance statistical, demographic, and sociological factors within the framework
set out by statute. The Commission works in an environment in which political pressures are
significant, so it is therefore vital that commission members must be, and seen to be
politically impartial in the fulfilment of their duties.
The member role is a challenging but rewarding opportunity. It calls for someone with good
judgement, resilience and sensitivity.
Key Responsibilities
Members of the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland have collective responsibility.
As a general rule they must:
Attend regular meetings of the commission and be well prepared by reading relevant
papers in advance;
Contribute to discussions and decision making;
Undertake visits to areas as part of the review process, as required;
Formulate proposals according to the remit of the legislation governing the distribution
of seats;
Follow the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by the Committee on Standards in
Public Life;
Comply with the Code of Practice for members; and
Ensure they understand their duties, rights and responsibilities and that they are
familiar with the function and role of the Commission.
The Commissioners have no executive or managerial responsibility for the day-to–day work
of the secretariat.
Person Specification
An outstanding individual is sought to become a member of the Boundary Commission for
Northern Ireland: someone who has the ability to make reasoned judgements when conflicts
arise; good knowledge and appreciation of the work of the Commission and the statutory
constraints within which it must work; proven ability to communicate effectively; and an
understanding of how to be an effective board member.
Commissioners should not have any party political affiliations which could be seen to affect
their judgement and balance.
Essential Skills
Candidates for this role will need to demonstrate:
Strong intellect and sound judgement;
Excellent communication and relationship management skills;
Good understanding of the purpose of the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland
and its work; and
A reputation for personal integrity and professional conduct.
The Appointment Panel will assess your suitability for appointment by comparing the
information you give in your CV and personal statement against the essential skills. You
should therefore review the essential skills requirements before preparing your CV and
personal statement.
Terms of appointment
The position is based in Belfast.
The post is part-time. When a review is underway the Commission will usually meet
every 4-6 weeks. Each meeting may require up to 1-2 days of a member’s time. In
between reviews there will be a lesser commitment.
The position attracts a daily remuneration of £505.50
This position is not pensionable.
The term of office will be for a period of five years from the date of appointment.
Conflicts of interest
In the interests of transparency and openness, applicants are asked to consider whether
their appointment may give rise to a conflict of interest and state this clearly on the
application form. You should provide information regarding interests that you, or your
immediate family, have that might be construed as being in conflict with the role of member
of the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland.
An appointee to a public body could find that matters or incidents which previously attracted
no attention could become matters of legitimate public interest once the person concerned
holds a public appointment. Actual or perceived conflicts might include, for example, a
situation where a candidate has interests in an organisation that might benefit from a
contract with the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland.
A conflict of interest will not necessarily preclude an individual from appointment but
candidates must be prepared to have this explored at interview.
The Seven Principles of Public Life
It is important that all public appointees uphold the standards of conduct set out in the
Committee on Standards on Public Life’s Seven Principles of Public Life. A copy of the
principles is appended at Annex A.
How to apply
The appointment process will be conducted in accordance with the guidelines issued by the
Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) and will be independently assessed. Details
of OCPA, including the complaints process, can be found at the website:
The Northern Ireland Office is committed to the principle of public appointments on merit
with independent assessment, openness and transparency of process and to providing
equal opportunities for all, irrespective of race, age, disability, gender, marital status,
religion, sexual orientation, transgender and working patterns.
Those interested in applying for the post should download the application pack from the
Cabinet Office’s public appointments website at:
Application packs can also be obtained by telephoning 028 9076 5497 or email
Completed Applications should be sent by email to
Alternatively they may be sent by post to:
Competition Co-ordinator
Corporate Governance Unit
Northern Ireland Office
Room 42, Stormont House Annex
Stormont House
The closing date for applications is Friday 9th October 2015.
Please enclose with your application:
The completed application summary form, including your personal statement (of no
more than one side of A4 page) summarising your proven ability related to the person
and job specifications. Your supporting statement should provide specific and detailed
examples to demonstrate how you meet the essential criteria (including what you did
to achieve a specific result);
Political and Equality & Diversity Monitoring Questionnaires; and
A full CV (including education and professional qualifications, career history, and
relevant achievements and responsibilities).
Candidates selected at short listing stage will be interviewed by the Appointment Panel in
either late October or early November 2015. Interviews will take place in Belfast.
If you require any further information about the application process you should contact the
competition co-ordinator by email or telephone on 028 9076
Guaranteed Interview Scheme
The Northern Ireland Office operates a Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS) for disabled
people. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 defines a person as disabled if they have a
physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long term adverse
effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Under the GIS a disabled
candidate will be selected for interview if they meet the minimum criteria for the role decided
by the selection panel at the short listing stage. To ensure fairness, the panel will not be
informed of who has applied under the GIS until they have set the minimum criteria at the
start of the short listing meeting. If you wish to apply for consideration under the scheme,
please complete the Guaranteed Interview Scheme Declaration and send it with your
If you have a disability and require reasonable adjustments to help you attend interview then
you may wish to contact the competition co-ordinator about your requirements at the
interview stage should you proceed in the process
If you feel that you have any complaint about any aspect of the way your application has
been handled, we would like to hear from you. In the first instance please write, or e-mail,
the competition co-ordinator at the address above or e-mail
Complaints must be received by the competition co-ordinator within 1 calendar month from
the issue or after the campaign has closed, whichever is the later. Your complaint will be
acknowledged within 2 working days of receipt and answered as quickly and clearly as
possible; at the most within 20 working days of receipt. If this deadline cannot be met we will
inform you why this is the case and when you can expect a reply.
Use of your personal information
Your personal information will be held in accordance with the Data Protection Act
1998. You will not receive unsolicited paper or electronic mail as a result of sending us any
personal information. No personal information will be passed on to third parties for
commercial purposes.
When we ask you for personal information, we promise we will:
only ask for what we need, and not collect too much or irrelevant information
ensure you know why we need it
protect it and insofar as is possible, make sure nobody has access to it who shouldn't
ensure you know what choice you have about giving us information
make sure we don't keep it longer than necessary
only use your information for the purposes you have authorised
We ask that you:
give us accurate information
tell us as soon as possible of any changes
tell us as soon as possible if you notice mistakes in the information we hold about you
If you apply for this position, the manner in which we share information with the selection
panel is described above.
Our data protection policy is in line with the requirements of the Data Protection Act and the
requirements of the Commissioner’s Code of Practice. The Commissioner’s requirements
relating to the information we collect about applicants are set out below:
Your initial contact details, including your name and address will be held by the
Northern Ireland Office for a period of at least 2 years.
If you submit an application form, the form and any supporting documentation will be
retained for at least 2 years.
Information held electronically, including your contact details and the monitoring
information which you provide will also be held for at least 2 years.
If you would like these details to be removed from our records as soon as this recruitment
exercise is complete, please inform the competition co-ordinator via the email address or
postal address to which you sent your application.
Equal and diversity monitoring information
This information is not used in the selection process. It will be removed on receipt and is
not seen by the panel assessing your application. We use this information to monitor the
diversity of candidates we attract and those we appoint.
The principles of public life apply to anyone who works as a public office-holder. This
includes all those who are elected for appointment to public office, nationally and locally,
and all people appointed to work in the civil service, local government, the police, courts and
probation services, NDPBs and in the health, education, social and care services. All public
office-holders are both servants of the public and stewards of public services. The principles
also have application to all those in other sectors delivering public services.
Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the
public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other
material benefits for themselves, their family, or other friends.
Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial
or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might
influence them in the performance of their official duties.
In carrying out public business, including making public appointments,
awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and
benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions
to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is
appropriate to their office.
Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the
decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their
decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest
clearly demands.
Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests
relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts
arising in a way that protects the public interest.
Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by
leadership and example.