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Senior Independent Panel Members (SIPMs) – Guide for candidates – Transcript

I’m Cindy butts and I’m a Senior Independent Panel Member.

So in terms of the recruitment process and what to expect, I’m afraid the first thing to say is expect it to be long, they invariably are which is not necessarily a bad thing because it actually demonstrates that the process is thorough and that it’s robust, but they do tend to be a bit long .but don’t let that put you off.

The key thing is, well there are a number of key things, but one of the things is to expect a competency-based process so that means being prepared both in your application form and hopefully if you get through to the other stages is to really be able to demonstrate what you have achieved.

What we’re not looking for is a list of roles that you’ve performed but actually what have you been able to accomplish through your various roles. Candidates can also expect the process to be fair we’re not looking for any one type of person, it really just depends on the role that you’re going for, so some roles will advertise for very specific types of skills that they are looking for that might be in relation to finance or strategic engagement for instance, so it’s really important that you consider what the body is looking for and how you’re able to meet that criteria, and I would say focus on the essential criteria and don’t be too concerned about wanting to tick every single box, but as long as you feel that you can meet most of the essential criteria I would encourage you to apply.

So the fact that we have independent panel members and in some appointments senior independent panel members, they are an important guarantee that the process has been fair and based on merit, and there is no bias in the system so they are an important part of that, guaranteeing fairness in addition to that the office of the Commissioner of Public Appointments who oversees the appointments process and have a very clear set of principles and a code that panel members have to abide by, but also that ministers have to abide by to – so there is accountability within the system itself.

It may be that you would go straight for a you know, sort of big national body but it might be that you want to start more smaller and perhaps think about a more local body or a regional body and get that experience and be able to really get a feel for what it is and whether it’s right for you of course and then perhaps you know you know apply for something bigger later on.

So I’ve held public appointments now for, gosh nearly almost 20 years. My first public appointment was as the Deputy Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority overseeing the Metropolitan Police all of its 44,000 staff at the time with a budget of 3.4 billion and it was honestly the best thing I have ever done being able to really feel like you’re making a difference, bringing your views your perspectives to the table and really being able to impact on what is, you know, crucial area of for the public which is policing, fighting crime, and protecting the public so for me that was just the most amazing experience, and since then I’ve carried out a number of different public appointments and for me it really is about being able to contribute, to bring my skills to the table as well as to learn as well as all of the roles I’ve had have been really quite stretching and have been really quite difficult and I’ve learned so much through that process, so I’m a huge fan of public appointments and I really would encourage you all to just look out, see what’s out there think about what you can contribute and just go for it.