Chief Executive Officer

Veterinary Medicines Directorate

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 27th June 2021


Reference number



Up to Ł125,000 per annum Existing civil servants will be appointed in line with the Civil Service pay rules in place on the date of their appointment.


SCS Pay Band 2

Contract type


Business area

DEFRA - Food Farming and Biosecurity (FFaB)

Type of role

Risk Management
Senior leadership
Veterinary Services

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share

Number of posts



The head office is at Weybridge. The role will require some travel to London and significant time in Weybridge.

About the job


“Come and lead the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) through the challenges and opportunities of a post-EU world”

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) is a regulatory and policy lead body responsible for issues concerning the use and manufacture of veterinary medicines in the UK. The VMD’s aim is to protect public health, animal health and the environment and promote animal welfare by assuring the safety, quality and effectiveness of veterinary medicines. The UK’s exit from the EU has led to opportunities to change the way we regulate medicines here and allows for new relationships to be established with countries across the world.

We are looking for an outstanding senior leader with a proven track record heading up a science based delivery function within a complex environment, you will be able to motivate and inspire diverse teams, communicating a vision for the future. It is essential that you are an effective decision maker and influencer with the ability to engage with internal and external stakeholders.

You will report directly to the Director General for Food, Farming and Biosecurity, leading an organisation of approximately 190 staff. Key tasks include: ensuring veterinary medicines in the UK are subjected to effective scientific assessment and subject to proportionate and effective regulatory controls; leading work on Anti-Microbial Resistance; and leading VMD’s international work, including working with regulators in other countries and participation in international fora.

The VMD is an outward-facing, globally focussed organisation with one of the highest Civil Service engagement scores, it is a great organisation to lead and we are looking for an exceptional person to take up this role.
Defra Group values and promotes diversity and is committed to equality for all.

Job description

The Chief Executive (CEO) is responsible to the Defra Minister for the performance of the Agency and the delivery of objectives set by the Defra Minister. The current Agency targets focus on Value for Money (VfM), proportionate regulatory effectiveness, surveillance, international partnerships and influence, improving medicines regulation overseas, and sustainability. The CEO is required to ensure the Minister is informed on policy issues involving veterinary medicines use, maintaining the veterinary medicines regulations, and ensuring effective implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol for veterinary medicines issues.

The post holder therefore plays a significant leading role in ensuring the UK is represented in international fora affecting the regulation of veterinary medicinal products.

The CEO leads, directs and manages the functions of the VMD, establishing proper systems and procedures to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and economic conduct of business (VfM), continually seeking new ways for the Agency to deliver business at lower cost. The Agency’s people are critical to its success and whilst delivering change the CEO must maintain their capability, engagement, and morale. A strong outside focus on service to UK customers and interested parties is necessary to ensure compliance with the regulatory requirements and external acceptance of VfM activities.

The science of veterinary medicines is constantly evolving, requiring adaptive and active change in the regulatory environment. Delivery of proportionate regulation requires an active and responsive attitude to change, and knowledge of other medicines regulation regimes. The CEO should be prepared to actively encourage innovation and take a leading role in developing an international strategic approach to medicines regulation.

The CEO should also be expected to take a leading/supporting role for Defra initiatives as a Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for programmes.


Key responsibilities include:

• Lead an organisation of approximately 190 staff to ensure veterinary medicines in the UK are subjected to effective scientific assessment and subject to proportionate and effective regulatory controls and thereby assure the safety of human health, animal health and the environment where this relates to the use of veterinary medicines

• Ensure that the Agency operates as a fully integrated part of the Defra network as appropriate, especially within the Food Farming and Biosecurity system, and work collaboratively to identify and deliver partnership or collaborative approaches that deliver best VfM for Defra as a whole, as well as the VMD

• Ensure the VMD establishes liaison and working relationships with other national animal medicines regulators, with the specific aim of improving the regulation of veterinary medicines

• Use advice and challenge of the VMD’s Non-executives, Management Board and Audit Committee to maximise the benefit of this input for the VMD

• Agree and ensure implementation of clear operational standards and measures to deliver effective performance management of the VMD, supported by a system of quality management assurance.

• Ensure that the VMD strategy is clear, understood and implemented

• Ensure that the VMD is recognised worldwide as a leader in the regulation of veterinary medicines

• As the accounting officer for the Directorate, the CEO carries personal responsibilities to manage the organisation in line with ‘Managing Public Money’. The CEO needs to ensure the VMD works efficiently and effectively and reports to parliament accurately, meaningfully and without misleading

For further information and person specification, please download the candidate information pack at the bottom of this page.


• Learning and development tailored to your role
• An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is security check.

See our vetting charter.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

To apply for this post, you will need to complete the online application process accessed via the advertisement listed for this role. This should be completed no later than 23:55 on Sunday 27th June 2021 and will involve uploading the two documents outlined below:

1. A CV setting out your career history, with key responsibilities and achievements. Please ensure you have provided reasons for any gaps within the last two years

Please include details of two referees that can be contacted prior to interview should you be selected.

2. A Statement of Suitability (no longer than two pages) using examples to explain how you consider your personal skills, qualities and experience provide evidence of your suitability for the role, with particular reference to the criteria in the person specification

Failure to submit both documents will mean the panel only have limited information on which to assess your application against the criteria in the person specification.

Please ensure that both documents contain your full name.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with (or eligible for) status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals
Further information on nationality requirements

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :
Name :  Rachel Whyte
Email :
Recruitment team :
Email :

Further information

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles, and you wish to make a complaint, you should contact Lawrence Fellows via in the first instance.


Defra VMD CEO CIP Opens in new window (pdf, 678kB)

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