Chair Forestry Commission

Body: Forestry Commission
Appointing Department: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Sector: Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Location: Bristol (and National)
Skills required: Business / Commercial, Change Management
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The total remuneration will be £39,200 (based on a daily rate of £490)
Time Requirements: 80 days a year


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Sir William Worsley appointed as Forestry Commission Chair.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers has today confirmed Sir William Worsley as the new Chair of Forestry Commission.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said:

“With his great expertise in forestry and passion for nature and trees, Sir William will play a pivotal role in leading the Forestry Commission at a critical time as it moves into its second century.

“Tree planting will play a crucial part in the government’s bold action to combat climate change, and the Forestry Commission has a vital role in delivering our ambitious plans for England’s forests and woodlands.

“I also want to thank Sir Harry for his dedication in leading the organisation for the past seven years and wish him all the best in future endeavours.”

Date: 03/02/2020

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    13/09/2019 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    January 2020


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Forestry Commission (FC) is a non-Ministerial Government department that has a vital role to play in helping the Government achieve its objectives. It is headed by a Board of Commissioners, comprising a Chair and up to 10 other Forestry Commissioners, made up of non-executive and executive appointments.

The FC was established a century ago as a body serving Great Britain (GB), but the departure of Wales from the Commission in 2013 and Scotland in 2019, means that the FC’s work will be primarily in England.

Forestry England manages England’s national forests, which are a treasured natural, economic and social resource held in trust for the nation. Covering more than 250,000 hectares, England’s national forests make up almost a fifth of the total forest resource, and with 1,500 forest areas dispersed throughout the country almost everyone in England is within a one-hour drive of a forest. Forestry England manages the land placed at its disposal for much more than timber. Forests capture carbon, clean our air and water and control flood risk. They also provide places for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and business to grow.

Forest Services are the government’s forestry experts. Forest Services contributes to the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan objective of being the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it, by encouraging and supporting landowners and the sector to protect, improve and expand England’s woodlands. Forest Services will continue to do a wide range of important work, including regulating felling, protecting England’s woodlands against pests and diseases, promoting good woodland management, and delivering the government’s commitment to plant 11 million trees by 2022.

Forest Research is the research agency of the Forestry Commission and GB’s principal organisation for forestry and tree-related research. Forest Research is internationally renowned for the provision of science, research, evidence, data and services in support of sustainable forestry. Forest Research will continue to work for many Government departments, all the Devolved Administrations, forestry and land management stakeholders, environmental non-Governmental organisations and the European Union, amongst others.

The Role

As Chair you will provide visible leadership and strategic vision for the Board of Forestry Commissioners in line with its statutory objectives, set the overall strategic and operational direction of the FC, ensure good governance and, together with the Board, hold the executive to account. You will understand and promote the role of the FC in implementing Government policy for English forestry, in both the public and private sectors, and in contributing to a range of other Government policies. You will be able to balance priorities and command confidence and respect at the highest level with Ministers across Government and with partners across the country.

We are seeking a Chair who can maintain a positive and constructive relationship with the forestry sector and the devolved administrations, shape the delivery arrangements for forestry policy in the future and promote a positive and constructive relationship with everyone that works with the FC including other Defra bodies, Other Government Departments, regulators, local government, local communities, business and industry and other interest groups.

Key Responsibilities and duties:

  • Responsibility for the leadership of the FC; setting the direction, and driving increased efficiency and effectiveness in line with Government’s strategic priorities;
  • Implementing Government policy for forestry in England whilst maintaining a positive and constructive relationship with the sector; representing the FC and promoting and maintaining effective customer, stakeholder and partner relationships;
  • Working collaboratively with other parts of the Defra Group,  across government and the devolved administrations; building relationships and helping remove barriers to joint working to make the best use of resources available and maximise outcomes and benefits;
  • Chair the FC Board and maintain oversight of the functions delegated to Forestry England, Forest Services and Forest Research through membership of the sub-boards.  Building and maintaining effective, cohesive and focussed Boards, including annually assessing performance. Providing support and constructively challenging the senior executive team when necessary;
  • Line management responsibility for the Chief Executive; and promoting a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion across FC.


Person Specification

Candidates must be able to demonstrate all of the following essential criteria:

  • an enthusiasm for and genuine interest in the work delivered by the Forestry Commission and support of its purpose, values and strategic direction;
  • an ambassador with an ability to lead and represent the Forestry Commission who can persuade senior stakeholders to support its mission and set an overall strategic direction;
  • significant business acumen and experience in working with complex organisations and driving change, including a proven track record at Board or equivalent level in the private, public or voluntary sector in a comparable organisation;
  • a strategic and creative thinker with a proven ability to build an effective executive and non-executive team culture, bring constructive challenge and create consensus around practical solutions both within the Board and wider organisation.

The successful candidate must abide by the Nolan principles of public service.

How to Apply

All candidates are required to complete the following forms:

  • Monitoring form 1 (Conflicts of Interest, Conduct and Political Activity Questionnaire)
  • Monitoring form 2 (Diversity Monitoring Questionnaire)

Candidates should submit their CV with education, professional qualifications and employment history and the names and contact details for two referees, together with their statement of suitability.

The statement of suitability should give evidence of the strength and depth of your ability to meet the essential criteria for this role. Please provide specific examples to demonstrate how you meet each of the criteria (2 A4 pages/max 1000 words please).

Your CV and statement should be returned to the following address by the closing date: 12.00 (midday) on 13 September 2019 Email to quoting reference APPT04-19.

For further information please email: Charlie Coombs,

Monitoring-form-2-Diversity (1)
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