The Board

The members of Food Standards Scotland are informally known as ‘the Board’. They are appointed by Scottish Ministers through an open and public process.

The Board provides Food Standards Scotland with strategic direction, oversight and governance. Our Board consists of a Chair and seven members. The Board meets regularly, in public. See our Board Meetings page for information on future and previous meetings, or search for Board agendas and papers.

The Chair’s post is part-time for eight days per month, and is paid at £302.92 per day. The members’ posts are also part-time, for four days per month, and are paid at £228.92 per day.

Board Members must adhere to the FSS Code of Conduct. You can read more of the Board Members Register of Interests and Gifts and Hospitality Register.

Read the 2020/21 report on the Gender Representation Objective, set out in the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018..

Chair of the Board

Heather Kelman

Heather Kelman has been Chair of Food Standards Scotland (FSS) since April 2022 and a member of the FSS Board since it was established in April 2015. Heather was a member of the FSS Audit and Risk Committee from April 2020 to March 2022 and has been a member of the Nutrition Programme Board since July 2018. 

Heather has 40 years’ experience of working in the public sector, the first 10 years as a dietitian, then as a strategic planner and senior manager within the NHS. Heather worked closely with Scottish Government and other Stakeholders on several health policy issues including the development of the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014 and Healthcare Associated Infection.

Health protection, promoting positive health and wellbeing and addressing health inequalities were a particular focus throughout her career. 

Heather’s childhood in Scotland was closely associated with food manufacture, retail and agriculture and she continues to have a strong interest in these, alongside protecting the environment and doing conservation work.

Board members

Christina Bichan

Christina Bichan has over 20 years’ experience within the public sector, working both in a remote and rural island location and at a national level. With a Masters degree in Public Health and experience of leading performance, planning, quality improvement and governance functions within the NHS, Christina is based in Orkney and involved in a family owned food business.  Her interest lies in protecting and improving people’s health and wellbeing, and in the sustainability of remote and rural communities.

Aileen Brown

Aileen Brown has held Finance Director positions in a diverse range of sectors working with multi-disciplinary leadership teams. She had executive oversight of other disciplines such as HR, IT, legal, risk, compliance, and a detailed understanding of governance from working in regulated businesses, and as an auditor and risk management consultant at Ernst & Young.


Phillip Couser

Phillip Couser MBE has worked at senior levels in the NHS in Scotland since 2013 and is currently a non-executive director on the Board of NHS Lanarkshire. Until July 2021 he was the Director of Data Driven Innovation in Public Health Scotland (PHS) and prior to this he was Director for Public Health and Intelligence in NHS National Services Scotland. From both of these roles he brings a strong interest in public health and a passion for data driven and digitally enabled transformation. Phillip’s NHS career started in 2008, gaining experience working in the Northeast of England and London. Prior to this, Phillip had an Army career, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Highlights included regimental command and the award of an MBE for leadership in national logistic planning for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Dr Paula Charlesworth

Dr Paula Charlesworth is a registered dietitian with a PhD in nutrition and physiology. She has worked in frontline NHS services, research and academia and brings regulatory experience, having served terms as a professional partner for the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service, sitting on their Fitness to Practise, Investigatory Committee and Appeals Panels. Dr Charlesworth is currently a lay member and director of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal and Lead Visitor for the Health and Care Professions Council, Education and Training Committee, reviewing academic programmes for education providers.

Alban Denton

Alban Denton was appointed as Deputy Chair of the Board in April 2023. He has been involved in many of Scotland’s food businesses over the past 30 years and has held a range of Director and Managing Director roles in Kettle Produce, Grampian Food Group, Eden Esk Group, Warburton’s and, until he recently retired, he was the Managing Director of Loch Duart, one of Scotland’s salmon farmers. Alban was also a Director of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation and Chair of Scottish Quality Salmon.

Dr Carol Evans

Dr. Carol Evans has over 20 years’ experience of strategic leadership, organisational development, leading and driving transformational change. She worked at a strategic level in AstraZeneca, Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, Reckitt Benckiser, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, a national start up and currently Bield Housing and Care.

Within her senior European roles in PepsiCo and Kellogg’s she was instrumental in improving food quality and re-design across Europe. With her combined chemistry/biochemistry PhD, food industry experience and 10 years' pharmaceutical experience and personal research, she understands food components, additives, and their effect on the body.

Her present commitments include non-executive roles at Skills Development Scotland and Accounts Commission for Scotland, along with her chairmanship at Friends of Cedarbank Charity. Previously she was a member of pharmacy and health related boards and government advisory groups and supported the development of regulations, policies, and procedures nationally. As a member of global executive teams, she has been responsible for audit, risk, finance and ensuring the highest standards of corporate governance, compliance, and performance improvement.

Kate Richards

Kate Richards has breadth and depth of experience of agriculture and food production in the public and private sectors. A farm vet in Aberdeenshire, she was also an Official Veterinarian to the Grampian Country Food Group and other commercial businesses. Leaving clinical practice, Kate provided advice on livestock health to the UK subsidiary of a global pharmaceutical company before joining Defra as a farm animal welfare veterinary advisor where she was promoted to Scientific Secretary to SEAC, the scientific advisory committee formed in response to the growing BSE crisis. As well as veterinary expertise, Kate has extensive experience of communications and stakeholder engagement through her work in five Whitehall departments and as a Council member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), the veterinary regulator, and elected RCVS President 2021/22. Kate is a Non-Executive Director of the Scottish Agriculture College (SAC), Commercial and the Moredun Research Institute Boards and has a passion for building connections and disseminating veterinary expertise for the benefit of public, as well as animal, health and welfare. 

Audit and Risk Committee

The Board has established an Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) as a Committee of the Board to support them in their assurance responsibilities by providing independent advice. The ARC is responsible for reviewing in a non-executive capacity, the comprehensiveness of the executive’s assurances on governance, risk management and the control environment. It is also responsible for reviewing the integrity of financial statements and the annual report.

The ARC will meet at least four times per year.

Non-Executive Members are:

  • Aileen Brown, Chair
  • Carol Evans
  • Phillip Couser
  • Kate Richards

Finance and Business Committee

The Board has established Finance and Business Committee (FBC) as a Committee of the Board to give appropriate high-level oversight of financial and operational matters at Board level and support the translation of policy into effective results through a process of constructive challenge.

The FBC will meet at least four times per year.

Non-Executive Members are:

  • Alban Denton
  • Dr Paula Charlesworth
  • Christina Bichan