Official Verderer of the New Forest

Body: Forestry Commission
Appointing Department: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Sector: Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Location: Lyndhurst / New Forest
Skills required: Accountancy, Audit and Risk, Business / Commercial, Change Management, Communication / Media / Marketing, Legal / Judicial, Major Projects, Regulation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The role of Official Verderer is a voluntary one with no remuneration or expenses payable.
Time Requirements: Time involvement is a minimum of 40 hours each month. You will need to allow sufficient time to help set the direction for the Verderers organisation and its work, help set meeting agendas, read papers, chair monthly meetings of the Verderers Court, and represent the Verderers in external fora and partnerships.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    22/02/2023 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The current Official Verderer is about to finish his term of office after 6 years and we are looking for a suitable replacement. The Verderers of the New Forest oversee commoning and regulate development on the Open Forest, with a statutory obligation to protect the grazing, landscape, fauna and flora, and the Official Verderer is responsible for leading their work. The Official Verderer is the Chairman of the Court and is appointed by the King.

Applicants for this unpaid position will have a track record of successful leadership backed up by knowledge of the countryside and the New Forest in particular. You’ll be familiar with the practice of common rights and ideally have some experience of environmental and recreation issues. Excellent representational, communication and organisational skills, including experience of chairing public meetings are essential.

For more information on the work of the Verderers, please visit:


The Verderers of the New Forest are a statutory organisation, constituted by the New Forest Act 1877.

The New Forest Act 1949 determines the composition of the Court of Verderers, which is five members elected from the commoning community; four members appointed by other statutory organisations (currently Defra, Forestry Commission, Natural England and New Forest National Park Authority), and the Official Verderer, who chairs the Court.

The role and responsibilities of the Verderers

The Verderers responsibilities extend to the commonable lands of the New Forest – that is land which is either now or will be at some time in the future, subject to common rights. Within that area the Verderers main task is to ensure that the owners of the animals turned out on the forest exercise their rights in a responsible and proper manner, and in keeping with the highest standards of animal welfare.

In addition to administration of Common rights, the Verderers have powers to determine certain activities that may take place on the commonable lands. Typically these activities will include requests from the Forestry Commission which involve interference with the common grazing, for example, utility connections to private households, major works on the Open Forest or certain recreation activities.

The Verderers employ five Agisters who assist in the day to day management of the Commoners’ stock. They also employ a Clerk and Assistant Clerk to administer the Verderers business.

Since March 2010, the Verderers have formed a partnership with the New Forest National Park Authority and the Forestry Commission to manage a Higher Level Stewardship Scheme for the unenclosed Crown Lands of the New Forest.

How the Verderers work

The Verderers Court meets in public at the Verderers Hall in Lyndhurst and subsequently in Committee, to which the public are not admitted. Meetings currently start at 9.30am on the third Wednesday of each month except August.


The current Official Verderer has indicated his willingness to pass on his knowledge. In addition we hope to complete the appointment in sufficient time to allow the incoming Official Verderer to shadow the meeting of the Verderers Court.

Person Specification

To help you decide if you wish to be considered for appointment, we have listed below the criteria that will be applied when assessing candidates. To be considered, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the qualities, skills and experience to meet all the criteria.

• Knowledge: An understanding of the New Forest, the countryside, commoning and associated issues.

• Strategic direction: The ability to think clearly and plan ahead, balancing needs and constraints.

• Effective influencing and communication: A high level of ability to gain support and influence; political acumen with a variety of stakeholders.

• Team working: The ability to take on a personal leadership role, chair public meetings and be committed to working as part of a team and in partnerships.

• Self belief and drive: The motivation to improve the situation of the New Forest and commoninq and to take on challenges.

• Project Management Experience of leading projects within time and financial constraints
In addition, as well as being Chairman of the Court, the Official Verderer has the decision-making authority and responsibilities equivalent to organisational Chief Executive.

The panel will therefore be looking for evidence that you have a portfolio of high level governance and organisational skills including financial management, risk management, organisation performance management and service development.

Additional Information

For further information please email:

How to Apply

All candidates are required to complete the following forms:

• Expression of Interest Form

• Monitoring form 1 (Conflicts of interest conduct and advertising Questionnaire)

• Monitoring form 2 (Diversity 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 six criteria (max three pages 12pt text please).

Your CV and statement should be returned to the following address by the closing date: 12.00 (midday) on 22 February 2023. Email to Reference OV23.

1_Expression of Interest Form 2023
2_Monitoring form 1 (Conflicts of interest conduct and advertising Questionnaire)
3_Monitoring form 2 (Diversity Questionnaire)
4_Public Appointments Guidance Notes
5_PAT Privacy Notice

This post is NOT regulated by The Commissioner for Public Appointments.

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