Chair to the Poverty and Inequality Commission

  • Management Board
  • Sessional
  • Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • Closing 11th December 2023

  • Advertised from 21st November 2023
  • Remuneration is £306 for every day, of not less than 7.5 hours


The Scottish Government aims to build a fairer and more equal Scotland, where everyone has equal opportunities to thrive and reach their potential. In achieving this, it is vital that we remove the barriers standing in people’s way, none more so than those faced by people living in poverty. With the cost of living crisis continuing to put additional pressure on household budgets, it is crucial that we do everything that we can to focus our resources where they matter most, and help those most in need. This is why tackling poverty and protecting people from harm is one of three critical and interdependent missions for the Scottish Government, alongside our focus on the economy and strengthening public services.

The Poverty and Inequality Commission (the Commission) plays an important role in this by providing independent expert advice to Scottish Ministers on how to reduce poverty and inequality.

Scottish Ministers wish to appoint a Chair to lead the Commission, to make sure it provides a strong independent voice to positively inform and shape our approach to tackling poverty and inequality in Scotland.

This appointment therefore, offers an exciting opportunity to anyone who is interested in leading a high profile public body and driving change to help tackle poverty and inequalities, making a lasting difference to the lives of people and communities across Scotland.

About the Poverty and Inequality Commission

The Commission was established in 2019 as an independent advisory non-departmental public body.

The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 sets out the Commission’s legal functions, which are to provide independent advice to Scottish Ministers on poverty and inequality and monitor progress and propose solutions to reduce poverty and inequality in Scotland.

More detail on the work of the Commission is included in the Applicant Information Pack and on its website.

Role of the Chair

The Commission’s Chair is appointed by the Scottish Ministers, with the appointment approved by the Scottish Parliament. The Chair ensures that the Commission carries out its statutory functions as set out in the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017.

In doing so, the Chair leads the Commission, overseeing its running, governance, adherence to the Commission’s Code of Conduct and the development of the Commission’s strategic documents, to set its vision and priorities. To ensure the Commission runs effectively, the Chair provides leadership, ensures positive relationships are built and that the strengths of Commissioners and the lived experience of the Commission’s Experts by Experience Panel, are all drawn upon, to provide the best quality advice to Ministers.

Working with a range of external stakeholders to influence thinking and reach informed positions, the role of the Chair is key in building and maintaining effective networks and partnerships with external stakeholders to establish the Commission as an authoritative voice on poverty and inequality in Scotland.

As the public face of the Commission the Chair is also often called upon to speak at public events, including giving evidence to the relevant Scottish Parliament Committee(s), and undertake media work as needed to promote the Commission’s work.

The Chair reports directly to the Chief Social Policy Adviser in the Scottish Government.

Further detail on the Chair’s role can be found in the Applicant Information Pack.

Skills and Experience Required

We are looking for applicants who have a wide knowledge and understanding of the issues relating to poverty and inequality in Scotland and can offer creative and deliverable advice based on evidence, including those with lived experience of poverty.

We also welcome applicants who have experience in the delivery of services or support to people most likely to experience poverty and inequality or who have knowledge of equality issues and how they apply to poverty and inequality.

Previous experience of being a member, or Chair, on a public body board is not required, as long as applicants can demonstrate to the capabilities to do so and the passion to lead change on this important issue.

Applicants must demonstrate evidence of all of the following –

  • an ability to provide strategic, collaborative and adaptive leadership to effectively deliver on set objectives
  • the ability to constructively challenge others and be open to scrutiny
  • the ability to communicate effectively and influence others
  • the ability to work collaboratively and co-operatively with others
  • an understanding of poverty and inequality issues in Scotland
  • an understanding of the corporate governance processes that underpin the successful leadership of a public body

Applicants must demonstrate evidence of only one of the following -

  • experience in, and knowledge of, the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policy relating to poverty and inequality
  • experience of poverty or inequality (or both) and the ability to reflect on your lived experience of poverty or inequality in order to inform solutions
  • experience in, and knowledge of, developing and using research and analysis in connection with poverty and inequality
  • experience in, and knowledge of, working with persons experiencing poverty or inequality (or both), including children and families

We particularly welcome applications from people with lived experience of poverty or inequality, women, LGBT+ people, young people, disabled people and those from minority ethnic communities.

Applicants will wish to be aware that we are operating a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled applicants. For further information, please see the applicant information pack.

Remuneration and time commitment

Remuneration is £306 for every day, of not less than 7.5 hours, for time devoted to the role.

While your time commitment may vary, it is likely that you will spend up to four days per month, that is 48 days per year, in the role.

Reasonable expenses incurred will be reimbursed. The appointment is non-pensionable.

Length of Term

The appointments are initially for up to five years, with the possibility of reappointment subject to evidence of effective performance and satisfying the skills and knowledge required at the time of reappointment and beyond. Any appointment and subsequent reappointment will not extend beyond a maximum of eight years in total.

Application notes

To apply for this role please visit the Scottish Government’s public appointments website.

Applications will be accepted from 21 November 2023 until 5 pm on 11 December 2023.

Commissioner vacancies

A separate public appointment round to recruit up to eight Commissioners is taking place alongside the recruitment of a Chair. Applicants can apply for both roles and simultaneous applications will be fully considered without prejudice. However, if successful, an applicant can only be appointed to one of the roles.

Information on the role of a Commissioner and advert can be found at Member Appointments to the Poverty and Inequality Commission.

Further Information

  • FAQ’s about the application process is available at Public Appointments - Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Guidance to support applicants applying for public appointments is available at Public appointments - (
  • Information on the Commission and role of a Commissioner can be viewed through our video recorded with Katie Schmuecker, a Commissioner with the Poverty and Inequality Commission
  • A video, to support applicants when applying for this appointment, is available at Tips for Applicants presentation.
  • For more general information on the experience of being a Board member of a public body please access our videos from
    • Amanda Bryan, former Chair of Crown Estate Scotland, on what it is like chairing a Board in the public sector
    • Neil Stevenson, former Council Member of the Advertising Standards Authority, on what it is like being a Board member and the skills required
    • Karon Phillips, a Board Member of various charities, on the valuable contribution that people with lived experience of poverty can make to a Board

Appointments to the Poverty and Inequality Commission are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.