Aug 062020

Chair - British Film Institute (BFI)

Body: British Film Institute (BFI)
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: London
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: This position is not remunerated.Except for administrative support, travel, and accommodation costs in relation to Board members’ duties.
Time Requirements: The Chair will be expected to be available for up to two days per month, and as required in consultation with the CEO. The ideal candidate will also be able to operate with flexibility and responsiveness when required, as occasionally decisions will be needed with tight timescales (especially when external to the BFI).

Vacancy Description

The screen sectors promote the UK’s cultural capital and values around the world, encourage greater understanding and sense of community across the UK, and are of huge economic importance. The sectors employ over 137,000 people, attract more than £3bn of investment and were worth £7.9bn in GVA in 2016. The BFI sits at the heart of this economic and cultural success story, having both a leading industrial role and a continued focus on the cultural and societal impact of the screen sectors, including being one of the UK’s national collections and a programme operator in its own right. However, this is a moment of unprecedented change and challenge for the organisation, and the wider sector, particularly in managing the impact of Covid-19.

This role is therefore an extraordinary opportunity for an individual who is passionate about the success of the BFI and the wider British film/screen industry, and who has a track record of board leadership, to support the next chapter of British film and the continued success of the screen sectors. The selected Board Chair will be expected to work alongside the recently appointed CEO in shaping and delivering an emerging vision for the sectors’ recovery from Covid-19, and long-term success thereafter. To do so, the selected Board Chair must have achieved leadership stature in the film industry, business, a major charitable or cultural  institution, or government.

The BFI is the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and the moving image

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered cultural and education charity governed by Royal Charter that:

  • Curates and presents the greatest international public programme of World Cinema for audiences; in cinemas, at festivals and online;
  • Cares for the BFI National Archive – the most significant film and television archive in the world;
  • Actively seeks out, nurtures, educates and supports the next generation of filmmakers;
  • Works with Government and industry to make the UK the most creatively exciting and prosperous place to make film internationally.
  • Acts as the distributor of National Lottery funds for film.

Looking ahead, the BFI is now over half way through BFI2022, its five-year plan to shape the next chapter for film, television, animation and the moving image, embracing the fast-evolving technological creative arena and post-EU exit world. The BFI2022 strategy is arranged in four sections:

  • Future audiences
  • Future learning and skills
  • Future talent
  • Leadership

It is also underpinned by a wider interpretation of “film” to embrace new forms, a sustained commitment to diversity and inclusion, and a focus on creating more opportunity for everyone across the UK.

In carrying out its duties, the BFI undertakes to:

  • Consider the views of the industry, its audiences and partners;
  • Be efficient, effective and accessible;
  • Be honest, open and accountable for its actions;
  • Provide clear and appropriate information, guidance and feedback;
  • Share and learn best practice.

The Role 


  • Providing leadership to the BFI and its Board, ensuring that it has the maximum impact possible and supporting the Chief Executive to deliver the aims and objectives of the BFI;
  • Providing leadership to the organisation as it develops its remit, and particularly during a period of change caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and the UK’s departure from the EU.
  • Supporting the Board and Executive to formulate a vision for the BFI and deliver against this;
  • Ensuring that Board members fulfil their duties and responsibilities for the effective governance of the BFI;
  • Ensuring that the Board operates within its charitable objectives, and provides a clear strategic, economic, and cultural direction for the BFI;
  • As Chair, approving the BFIs annual budget and material business decisions; being informed of, and meeting all, legal and fiduciary responsibilities; and,
  • Reviewing outcomes and key performance indicators created by the BFI for evaluating its impact, and regularly measuring its performance and effectiveness using those indicators.

External Relations 

  • Acting as an ambassador for the organisation;
  • Maintaining close relationships with the Government and with key influencers;
  • Developing, managing and nurturing relationships and communicating with partners and other stakeholders, both across the UK and internationally.


  • In collaboration with the Chief Executive, generating substantial annual revenue and fostering the BFI’s overall financial health;
  • Ensuring that all of the BFI’s Board members are fully involved in fundraising activity;
  • Identifying and stewarding major individual donors, corporate, and/or foundation gifts.


  • Ensure that any statutory or administrative requirements for the use of public funds are complied with, that all expenditure is in accordance with Treasury rules for the management of public money and that the BFI maintains high standards of corporate governance at all times;
  • Ensuring that the governance arrangements are working in the most effective way for the BFI and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS);
  • Assisting DCMS with the recruitment of Board members through the OCPA regulated process;
  • Supporting and developing BFI Board members and assessment of their performance through annual appraisals;
  • Planning, presiding over, and facilitating Board and committee meetings;
  • Championing the BFI’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, and its reach to all regions of the United Kingdom.

Relationship with the Chief Executive 

  • Building a strong, effective and supportive working relationship with the Chief Executive, ensuring they are held to account for achieving agreed strategic objectives;
  • Liaising with the Chief Executive to maintain an overview of the BFIs affairs, providing support as necessary;
  • Conducting an annual appraisal and remuneration review for the Chief Executive as Chair of the Remuneration Committee.

Person Specification

Prospective candidates for the role need to be able to demonstrate a commitment to the independence, mission and public purposes of the BFI, as well as demonstrating that they meet a majority of the following criteria to a high degree:

  • Professional experience and accomplishments in the film/screen industry, business, major cultural or charitable institutions, or government;
  • A commitment to and understanding of the BFI’s partners and mission. This will include supporting the work of the BFI2022 five-year plan and looking forward to the next chapter;
  • The ability to lead a Board of Governors and support the leadership of a high-profile organisation by providing strategic guidance and effective challenge;
  • An outstanding track record at senior level, including partnership working, the management of organisations through periods of change and maintaining the highest standards of governance;
  • Excellent diplomatic skills and an affinity for cultivating relationships and persuading, convening, facilitating, and building consensus among diverse individuals;
  • The ability to be an effective public ambassador for BFI;
  • Personal qualities of integrity and credibility, and a passion for film, television and the moving image.

In addition, for those currently employed in the industry, candidates will need to be clear about any potential conflicts of interest between this role and their other professional activities and be able to propose ways to manage conflicts should they arise.

Additional Information

Length of Appointment

The appointment is for up to 4 years.  Re-appointment for a second term may be made, at the discretion of the Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Start Date

It is expected that the new Chair will take up the appointment in Winter 2020.

Type of Appointment

The Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has formal responsibility for the appointment of the members of the Board.

In line with the ‘The Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies’ the Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will be kept informed of the progress of the public appointments process and will be responsible for the public appointment as the appointing authority.

How to Apply

To apply, please send:

  • a CV;
  • a supporting statement of not more than three sides of A4, providing examples and setting out how you meet the criteria; and,
  • the two Monitoring Forms concerning your personal information and political activity, and the Declaration of Interests Form.

Completed applications should be emailed to: [email protected].

Please put ‘BFI Chair’ in the Subject line.

If you have any questions about the appointment process please contact the DCMS Public Appointments Team at [email protected].

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy. If you have any complaints about the way your application has been handled, please contact [email protected].

This process is regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ (OCPA’s) Code of Practice. All applicants are expected to have adhered to the Seven Principles of Public Life.

Disability Confident 

We guarantee to interview anyone with a disability whose application meets the minimum criteria for the role. By ‘minimum criteria,’ we mean that you must provide evidence in your application, which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria.

If you want to apply under this scheme, simply state this in the covering email or letter when submitting your application.

Reasonable Adjustments

If you would like a confidential discussion regarding any reasonable adjustments during the process, please also indicate this in the covering email or letter.

About DCMS

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) helps to drive growth, enrich lives, and promote Britain abroad.

We protect and promote our cultural and artistic heritage and help businesses and communities to grow by investing in innovation and highlighting Britain as a fantastic place to visit. We help to give the UK a unique advantage on the global stage, striving for economic success. DCMS is a ministerial department, supported by 45 agencies and public bodies.

If you are not completely satisfied

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy. If you have any complaints about the way your application has been handled, please contact [email protected].

Regulated by OCPA

This process is regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ (OCPA‘s) Code of Practice. All applicants are expected to have adhered to the Seven Principles of Public Life.

Eligibility Criteria

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  • you become bankrupt or make an arrangement with a creditor
  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors;
  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986;
  • you have been convicted of a criminal offence, the conviction not being spent for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (c. 53);
  • you become subject to a debt relief order or a bankruptcy restrictions order;
  • you fail to declare any conflict of interest.

Conflicts of Interest and Due Diligence

If you have any interests that might be relevant to the work of the British Film Institute, and which could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest if you were to be appointed, please provide details in your application. If you have queries about this and would like to discuss further please contact the Public Appointments Team.

Given the nature of public appointments, it is important that those appointed as members of public bodies maintain the confidence of Parliament and the public. If there are any issues in your personal or professional history that could, if you were appointed, be misconstrued, cause embarrassment, or cause public confidence in the appointment to be jeopardised, it is important that you bring them to the attention of the Advisory Assessment Panel and provide details of the issue(s) in your application. In considering whether you wish to declare any issues, you should also reflect on any public statements you have made, including through social media.

As part of our due diligence checks we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This will include us undertaking searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. This information may be made available to the Advisory Assessment Panel and they may wish to explore issues with you should you be invited to interview. The information may also be shared with ministers and the Cabinet Office.

Declaration-of-Conflicts-of-Interest-Form (2)
Public-Appointments-Privacy-Notice-2020 (2)
BFI Chair 2020 - Role and Person Specification.docx

This post is regulated by The Commissioner for Public Appointments

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