Applications open for the new Chair

The Scottish Parliament is now recruiting for a new Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission.

Could you be the right person?

The part-time Chair will lead this high-profile public body, through a team of up to four members of the Commission who guide the strategic direction of its work, and its Executive Director, who is responsible for the day to day running of the Commission.

This high profile and demanding role will lead the Commission to independently scrutinise how human rights are being experienced by the people of Scotland, and to lead transformative work to improve accountability, speaking up for human rights at home and abroad.

It’s an exciting time for the Commission, as it moves into its next four-year Strategic Plan with an ambitious vision to increase its mandate and resources to uphold human rights, and build stronger engagement with communities across Scotland.

About the role

The Parliament is looking for a talented individual to promote widespread awareness, understanding of and respect for human rights.

The candidate will have energy, credibility, integrity and sound judgement to lead, in collaboration with the other members, the strategic direction of the Commission.

This is a part-time appointment. The time commitment is 10 days a month, 120 days a year.

Find out more about how to apply on the Scottish Parliament’s website.

About the Commission

The Commission is Scotland’s human rights watchdog; an independent public body tasked with promoting and protecting the human rights of everyone in Scotland. It is also a National Human Rights Institution, working within the international human rights system and reporting to the United Nations on human rights concerns.

Our mandate – established in the Scottish Commission for Human Rights Act 2006 – includes duties:

  • To promote awareness, understanding and respect for all human rights to everyone, everywhere in Scotland, and to encourage best practice in relation to human rights.
  • To recommend changes to law, policy and practice.
  • To promote human rights through education, training and publishing research.
  • To intervene in relevant civil court cases
  • To conduct inquiries into the policies and practices of Scottish public authorities.
  • To promote and protect the human rights guaranteed by the ECHR.

Jan Savage, Executive Director of the Commission, said:

“The Commission’s new Chair will join an organisation which has recently undertaken a major programme of strategic and operational transformation, to support the realisation of a Scotland where everyone can name and claim their rights, and where there is justice where things go wrong. You can read about this in our latest Annual Report to the Scottish Parliament and recent research on Attitudes to Human Rights in Scotland.

“Members of the Commission have overseen work to strengthen the Commission’s capacity to deliver more direct monitoring work which engages directly with people and communities to show us where internationally protected human rights aren’t being met, on our doorsteps. This currently focuses on human rights in prisons; economic, social and cultural rights in the Highlands and Islands; the rights of people held in long term institutions; and access to justice.

“The Chair will join us at a time when the Scottish Parliament is preparing to consider the upcoming Human Rights Bill, presenting a significant opportunity to strengthen the legal framework around human rights in Scotland.  This includes the mandate of the Commission itself.  Our new Chair will play a key role in ensuring that the Commission is enabled with the mandate and resource to play an even stronger role in protecting and promoting all of our human rights.”


Media enquiries about recruitment via Eric MacLeod at Scottish Parliament Communications or mobile 0771 471 3332. Duty Media Officer on 07879 253 130 for daytime and out of hours media calls to the office.

Media enquiries for the Scottish Human Rights Commission via Judy Fladmark or mobile 07880 398530.

Notes to editors:

  1. The closing date for applications is 12 noon on Monday 26 February 2024.
  2. For information on recruitment email or call 0131 348 6851.
  3. The Commission is an independent public body with a duty to promote awareness, understanding and respect for all human rights – economic, social, cultural, civil and political – to everyone, everywhere in Scotland. Our full duties and powers are set out in the Scottish Commission for Human Rights Act 2006.
  4. You can read the Commission’s Annual Reportand Accounts for the year 2022-23.
  5. Read the full report ' Attitudes to Human Rights in Scotland’ published in December 2023 (Accessible PDF)