Written evidence from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (NED014)


Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee

The Role of Non-Executive Directors in Government inquiry


Written evidence from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the activities, recruitment and experiences of non-executive board members both inside and outside individual departmental boards, and cross-government.


  1. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport is pleased to respond to the Committee’s call for written evidence on the activities, recruitment and experiences of non-executive board members (NEBMs) both inside and outside individual departmental boards, and cross-government. 


  1.                DCMS NEBMs provide advice on performance, operational issues and the effective management of the Department. They are appointed to provide independent scrutiny for the Department upon request of Ministers and Officials. They also have a role in advising on cross-government initiatives and policies. DCMS uses the Corporate governance code for central government departments 2017 and engages regularly with the Cabinet Office Civil Service Governance Team. 


  1.                DCMS has up to five NEBM positions and appointments are made in line with Cabinet Office and Number 10 appointments team guidance. Terms are usually made on a three year basis with the possibility of extending by one further term. DCMS NEBMs are: 





  1.                Following Baroness Laura Wyld’s resignation and Sherry Coutu’s term coming to an end the department has up to two vacancies. A recruitment process is ongoing, although there had been a temporary pause whilst the new Prime Minister was announced.   


DCMS NEBM activity

Departmental Board 

  1.                The DCMS Departmental Board is the most senior Board in the department. It is not a decision making body but provides collective strategic and operational leadership of the Department, bringing together the Ministerial and Civil Service leaders with the NEBMs. It meets formally twice per year and its agenda’s focus on the key strategic issues faced by the department. It also acts as a forum to ensure Ministers can engage NEBM expertise, experience and advice for current and future departmental priorities. 


Executive Board / NEBM engagement 

  1.                To ensure NEBM engagement is maintained outside of the Departmental Board, the Department has set up a quarterly Executive Board meeting with NEBMs. This forum acts as a space to engage NEBM expertise but also for NEBMs to challenge and scrutinise senior officials on the delivery and performance of departmental priorities.  


  1.                In addition to this forum NEBMs have been paired with Executive Board members to build on work within the department to align their expertise with specific DCMS areas and sectors, be that corporate or policy focused. Regular 1-1 meetings between NEBMs and Executive Board members are in place to maintain rigour on this and plan the input of NEBMs and receive direct feedback on their views of work they have been involved in.  


Audit and Risk 

  1.                In addition to the above forums the Audit and Risk Committee, chaired by Hemant Patel and also attended by Claudia Arney (in addition to additional independent members) supports the Departmental Board and Accounting Officer by providing independent scrutiny, support and challenge of DCMS's arrangements for governance, risk management and control.





Internal engagement on the use of NEBMs. 


  1.                In addition to the above forums, the central Governance team, who are responsible for all aspects of management for the department’s NEBMs provide regular learning sessions with teams across the department on the use of NEBMs, and how teams can seek their advice and challenge to support their work.  



  1.            The department aims to run open and transparent recruitment processes for NEBM appointments, which aligns to the approach taken for wider public appointments, although the appointments are not subject to the same rules stipulated within the Governance Code for Public Appointments. The department works closely with both the Cabinet Office and Number 10 appointments team. On occasions where a candidate is identified as outstanding and a recruitment exercise would not result in a better outcome for the department, direct appointments are considered. However the default position is that an open and fair recruitment process is run. 

Out of the three current candidates, two were directly appointed and one was appointed following a recruitment process. As mentioned above, to fill the two vacancies the department has within the NEBM team a recruitment process has been launched. A longlist of candidates has been compiled and the department aims to complete this process as swiftly as possible. 

Experiences of DCMS NEBMs 

  1.            Claudia Arney: 



  1.            Hemant Patel: 


  1.            Priya Lakhani: 



September 2022