Chair of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Body: Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)
Appointing Department: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Sector: Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Location: Various
Skills required: Transformation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £40,059 per annum
Time Requirements: 2.5 days per week, which will include four committee meetings per calendar year (in March, June, September and November/December).


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

Defra Ministers have appointed Professor Colin Galbraith as Chair of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

Professor Colin Galbraith is the Director of his own environmental consultancy, which deals with a range of environmental issues in the UK and at the global level. Colin has been Deputy Chairman of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) from 2017 and Independent member of the Committee since 2014. Until early 2010, Colin was the Director of Policy and Advice in Scottish Natural Heritage (now NatureScot). In this capacity he was the principal adviser on policy, scientific and technical matters for the organisation for over 12 years.

Colin has been involved with the United Nations for a number of years and has made contributions through the Convention on Migratory Species and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in particular. This work involved Colin in high profile nature conservation issues, including the development of international agreements on the conservation of birds of prey across Europe and the Middle East and separately, on the conservation of Albatross. More recently, his work has focussed on reviewing the impact of global climate change on protected areas and on the ecology of threatened species. Colin has been the Chairman and the Vice Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and is presently the Appointed Councillor on Climate Change issues for the Convention


Professor Melanie Austen, Charles Banner QC and Professor Marian Scott OBE have all been reappointed as Independent Members for second terms of two years and ten months. Their second terms will run from 15 February 2021 until 14 December 2023.

The new appointment and reappointments have all been made in accordance with the Ministerial Governance Code on Public Appointments published by the Cabinet Office. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.

There is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if significant) to be declared. The appointees have declared that they have not taken part in any significant political activity in the past five years. The JNCC was established in 1991 and reconstituted in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (2006) as a non-departmental public body. The JNCC advises the UK Government and Devolved Administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales on UK-wide and international nature conservation.

Date: 29/01/2021

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    03/09/2020 at 13:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    29/01/2021 at 12:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) Framework Document provides the legal, administrative and financial framework within which the Joint Committee operates and the specific functions of the Committee and the Chair.

As Chair you will be responsible to the Defra Secretary of State for the leadership, direction and effectiveness of JNCC in line with strategies and plans agreed with Defra and the Devolved Administrations. You will be the primary contact with Ministers for the Committee.

You will provide visible leadership and vision for JNCC, setting strategic and operational direction, ensuring good governance and, together with the Joint Committee, holding the executive to account.

In addition, you will have the following responsibilities:


• ensuring that the Committee has the right balance of skills to deliver its functions and JNCC’s business;

• reviewing the work of the Committee and its members’ performance annually, and driving forward any necessary change;

• ensuring that the Committee, in reaching decisions, takes account of guidance provided by Ministers, Defra or Devolved Administrations;

• ensuring collaborative working between JNCC, the country conservation bodies, Defra and Devolved Administration bodies, and with other government departments, to make the best use of resources and maximise outcomes and benefits.


• Appointing a Chief Executive should the post become vacant;

• setting the Chief Executive’s performance objectives;

• setting the direction for the executive team and the tone and pace needed to deliver agreed strategies and plans, and responding to changes in the policy landscape; and

• promoting the efficient and effective use of staff and other resources to deliver priorities.

Person Specification

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

• Knowledge and expertise in a field relevant to the work of JNCC such as international or domestic environmental science, policy or operations and the ability to relate this to the wider social and economic context and to the ambitions of the four governments of the UK.

• The ability to provide strategic leadership of a complex organisation. This includes providing impartial advice and constructive challenge, alone and with Committee members, to ensure that JNCC provides high-quality, cost-effective evidence and advice to government and other customers; achieving reforms in response to a changing policy landscape; steering a strategy that extends funding opportunities; and visibly leading and representing JNCC, clearly communicating its strategic direction and purpose.

• The ability to provide strong engagement, partnership and relationship management, especially in an environment of multiple evolving positions, building productive and collaborative working relationships with a diverse group of senior stakeholders and partners within the UK and internationally.

• The ability to build an effective team culture and create consensus on strategic direction and practical solutions both within the Committee and in the way the wider organisation does business.

Additional Information

We actively encourage applications from individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. Defra is a Disability Confident employer.

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 (max two pages please).

Your CV and statement should be returned to the following address by the closing date: 12.00 (midday) on 3 September 2020. Email to quoting reference APPT03-20.

For further information about the role please email:

1_ JNCC Candidate pack.doc
2_Monitoring form 1 (Conflicts of Interest and Conduct)
3_Monitoring form 2 (Diversity and political activity form)
4_Public appointments guidance notes
5_Public appointments privacy notice
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