Natural England Board Members

Body: Natural England (NE)
Appointing Department: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Sector: Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Location: Flexible with travel to London and other National Natural England offices for Board meetings.
Skills required: Business / Commercial, Change Management, Communication / Media / Marketing
Number of Vacancies: 4
Remuneration: £328 per day (£11,808 pro rata) for a time commitment of approximately 3 days a month
Time Requirements: Approximately 3 days a month


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

Defra Ministers have appointed four new non-executive members to the board of Natural England.

Rosamund Blomfield-Smith, Kim Shillinglaw, Kerry ten Kate and Peter Unwin have been appointed for three years commencing 1 June 2020.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

Natural England has a crucial role to play as we deliver our pledge to leave the environment in a better state for future generations.

The new board members bring a breadth of experience and knowledge that will be invaluable in our mission to protect and restore England’s nature and landscapes.

Natural England Chair Tony Juniper said:

A healthy natural environment is an essential national asset and the Board of Natural England has a vital role in supporting our organisation as it helps achieve ambitious Government goals, such as those set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan, the agenda for net zero climate emissions and the national woodland expansion target.

I very much look forward to working with our new Board Members, making the most of their experience and skills to drive our new strategy for nature recovery.


Natural England forms part of the Defra Group and as a non-departmental public body it has its own independent powers and statutory duties; exercising advisory and regulatory responsibilities at arm’s length from Ministers. Natural England is accountable to Defra’s Secretary of State for the delivery of its objectives.

All appointments to the Natural England Board are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.

Date: 01/06/2020

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    14/11/2019 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    01/06/2020 at 12:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

Natural England plays a key role in delivering Government’s environmental priorities. Its general purpose is to ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development. Natural England forms part of the Defra Group and as a Non-Departmental Public Body it has its own independent powers and statutory duties; exercising advisory and regulatory responsibilities at arm’s length from Ministers. Natural England is accountable to Defra’s Secretary of State for the delivery of its objectives.

This is an exciting time for Natural England. The Government has committed to improving our country’s environment, and supporting increased engagement with the natural world, at a time of unprecedented levels of public interest in environmental issues. In January 2018, the Government published ‘A Green Future: Our 25-year plan to improve the environment’. This set out an ambition to be the first generation that leaves the environment in a better state than we found it and identifies some of the key steps we will need to take to reverse the decline in biodiversity and improve the health of our precious habitats and species. These ambitions are being developed through the new Environment, Farming and Fisheries Bills alongside the recently announced Net Zero commitments. In May 2019 the Government set out its first progress report on the 25-year environment plan.

As the Government’s adviser for the natural environment, Natural England has a key role in implementing new legislation and delivering this plan, focussing on key areas of the 25-year plan’s 10 goals such as ‘Thriving plants and Wildlife’ and ‘Beauty and engagement’ and being instrumental in establishing the Nature Recovery Network.

Underpinning the Government’s ambition for the future of food farming and the environment is the use of public money on public goods, especially environmental outcomes. Again, Natural England plays a key role, through its evidence and advisory capability and as one of the principal delivery organisations on the ground within the Defra Group.
As a Member of the Board you will be essential in helping Tony Juniper as the new Chair drive ambitious plans with the senior leadership of the organisation. You will be able to share your experience and enthusiasm for the natural environment, be able to work collaboratively and in partnership nationally, as well as locally, with stakeholders and staff alike.

The Roles

Board Members play an important role in supporting and encouraging the executive team in improving Natural England’s delivery for the natural environment by driving forward substantial change to deliver value for money, excellent customer service and better collaboration with key partners while maintaining a clear overview, and ensuring business continuity, across the range of its functions.

Board Members should complement each other in terms of their skills and experience. They are specifically responsible for:

  • establishing and taking forward the strategic aims and objectives of Natural England consistent with its overall strategic direction, within the policy and resources framework determined by the Secretary of State;
  • setting the long-term direction for the Executive team and the tone and pace needed to deliver the agreed strategies and plans;
  • agreeing an Action Plan for each year that sets out Natural England’s specific delivery commitments and approving the appropriate allocation of resources;
  • receiving and reviewing regular performance information concerning the on-going delivery of Natural England against its agreed Action Plan;
  • ensuring that the responsible Minister is kept informed of any changes which are likely to impact on the strategic direction of Natural England or on the attainability of its targets, and determining the steps needed to deal with such changes;
  • ensuring that effective arrangements are in place to provide assurance on risk management, governance and internal control and demonstrating high standards of corporate governance at all times;
  • ensuring that any statutory or administrative requirements for the use of public funds are complied with; that the Board operates within the limits of its statutory authority and any delegated authority agreed with Defra, and in accordance with any other conditions relating to the use of public funds; and that in reaching decisions, the Board takes into account any relevant guidance issued by Defra or by the Government more broadly; and
  • approval of all matters not delegated to the Chief Executive under the Natural England Schemes of Delegation.

Person Specification

The successful candidates will need to demonstrate the following essential criteria:

  • an ability to analyse issues at a strategic level in ways which are impartial, creative and focused on finding solutions;
  • an ability to question, challenge constructively and influence decision making within a Board setting in a large and complex organisation;
  • a proven ability to influence and engage a strong and diverse network of people and organisations and the ability to inspire confidence in stakeholders at all levels;
  • the ability to advocate Natural England’s aims and points of view to stakeholders, the public and staff at national and local levels; and
  • a personal commitment to the natural environment, although you may not have detailed knowledge or experience. An enthusiasm for and genuine interest in the work delivered by Natural England and how it can contribute to Government priorities.


Ministers wish to appoint four new Members to the Board of Natural England. Ministers are seeking to attract high-calibre applicants from a range of diverse backgrounds who can discharge the full range of non-executive responsibilities.

You may have these skills, or other areas of expertise relevant to Natural England, and applications are welcomed from any candidates who meet the essential criteria for the role.

We are particularly keen to add to the Board in the following areas:

Business leadership:

  • experience of running complex businesses and institutions, including local or national government
  • change management expertise in a large organisation
  • building reputations, communicating clearly and engaging a set of diverse stakeholders with sometimes competing interests
  • financial and commercial experience.

Sustainable Development:

  • working in or with national and local government on planning and infrastructure


  • background of legal advice and casework

Land and / or water and marine management:

  • working on conservation and nature recovery including managing water quality.

Additional Information

For an informal discussion about the role please contact Mick Oliver, Natural England on 07768 291 446; or at:

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)
  • A CV of no more than two sides of A4;
  • A supporting statement of not more than two sides of A4, setting out how you meet the essential criteria – make sure you refer to the contents of this document; if applicable please also provide information on your skills.

Your CV and statement should be returned to the following address by the closing date: 12.00 (midday) on Thursday, 14 November 2019 by email to – quoting reference APPT06-19.

1_Natural England - Advert
2_Candidate information pack
3_Monitoring form 1 (Conflicts of Interest, Conduct and Political Activity)
4_Monitoring form 2 (Diversity)
5_Public Appointments Guidance notes
6_Public Appointments-Privacy Notice
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