Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - Trustee

Body: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Appointing Department: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Sector: Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Location: Board meetings will be mainly held at Kew Gardens, with some meetings each year at Wakehurst and occasionally at other institutions/organisations when appropriate.
Skills required: Business / Commercial
Number of Vacancies: 4
Remuneration: The role is unremunerated, but essential expenses comprising travel, accommodation if required, and subsistence are payable based on Kew’s expenses arrangements, which are set out in Kew’s Guidance on Financial Policy and Practice.
Time Requirements: 10-12 days each year to attend Board and Committee meetings and associated activities.


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

Defra Ministers have appointed Professor Christopher Gilligan, Sir Paul Nurse, David Richardson, Judith Batchelar and Professor Ian Graham to the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Professor Christopher Gilligan, Sir Paul Nurse, David Richardson, Judith Batchelar and Professor Ian Graham have all been appointed for terms of three years.

Professor Christopher Gilligan, Sir Paul Nurse and David Richardson’s terms commenced on 8 March 2021, Judith Batchelar on 1 April 2021, and Professor Ian Graham’s term on 1 November 2021. RBG Kew became an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body under the National Heritage Act 1983 with exempt charitable status and is sponsored by Defra. The Board of Trustees comprises a Chairman and 11 other members.

The appointments have been made in accordance with the 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.

Date: 19/03/2021

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    04/08/2020 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    19/03/2021 at 14:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

To complement its existing skills and knowledge the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is seeking up to four new members with either: demonstrable scientific expertise in a field relevant to RBG Kew’s science, expertise in horticulture, commercial/marketing expertise, or expertise in the Government/public sector. The current Board membership is attached at Annex B.

Members of the Board have corporate responsibility for ensuring that RBG Kew has appropriate practices, procedures and policies to meet its statutory and administrative requirements for the use of public funds.

Important responsibilities of Board members include:

• ensuring that high standards of corporate governance are observed at all times;

• establishing the overall strategic direction of the organisation within the policy and resources framework agreed with the Defra Minister;

• holding the Executive to account and supporting them in the delivery of planned results by monitoring performance against agreed strategic objectives and targets and by ensuring corrective action is taken when necessary;

• ensuring that the Board operates within the limits of its statutory authority; within the limits of the Board’s delegated authority agreed with Defra and in line with all relevant agreements with Defra, including any conditions relating to the use of public funds; and, notwithstanding the above, complying with the relevant obligations incumbent on trustees of an exempt charity, including independence of decision-making;

• representing the purpose and strategic direction of the organisation to the public and specific stakeholders;

• promoting a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion on the Board as well as more widely in RBG Kew.

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

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 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and support of its purpose, values and strategic direction;

• an ability to analyse issues at a strategic level in ways which are impartial, creative and focused on finding solutions;

• demonstrable ability to provide constructive and independent leadership, challenge and support to the Board of a complex organisation;

• exceptional communication skills and ability to influence and engage a strong and diverse network of people and organisations and the ability to inspire confidence and build upon Kew’s profile nationally and internationally.

This recruitment will seek to fill four vacancies on the Board. Successful candidates for these vacancies should also be able to demonstrate expertise in one of the following specified areas

• Scientific expertise in a field relevant to RBG Kew’s science: RBG Kew is primarily a scientific organisation with scientific collections. RBG Kew would benefit from an individual with a globally-recognised scientific reputation and a track record of science leadership and capital investment.

• Horticulture: We are seeking an individual with a national profile in horticulture and leadership experience. They should also have expertise in plant cultivation and management.

• Commercial/Marketing: We are seeking an individual with outstanding corporate, commercial and business expertise, as well as marketing and visitor-attraction experience.

• Government/public sector: RGB Kew works closely with Government and the public sector and we welcome applications from those who are familiar with working within this environment or similar complex organisations.

Additional Information

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was founded in 1759. Under the National Heritage Act 1983 the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew) was established as a corporate body. RBG Kew is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) and exempt charity, sponsored and regulated by Defra. Eleven Trustees are appointed by the Defra Secretary of State and one by HM the Queen.

RBG Kew has an international reputation for its scientific research into plants and fungi, and for its living and preserved collections which are unique in their global scope and coverage. Its gardens at Kew (Crown land, managed under Ministerial Direction from the Secretary of State) and Wakehurst Place, West Sussex (leased from the National Trust) are enjoyed by two million visitors a year.

As an extensive botanical garden with a large number of nationally important heritage buildings, RBG Kew faces a significant financial challenge in ensuring it can operate as a world class visitor attraction and site of scientific expertise, while maintaining and developing these assets.

RBG Kew has a very broad and diverse range of stakeholders and partners. Kew’s scientists work with over 400 partner institutions in 110 countries around the world. Kew engages actively with many UK Government Departments, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Kew engages actively with environmental NGOs, other gardens and horticultural organisations, has a diverse commercial portfolio of partners and customers and foreign governments as well as the Higher Education sector and research institutes. We achieve global impact through positive engagement with this extensive community of stakeholders. For further information about the current role of RBG Kew you may wish to visit the Kew website.

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 and Conduct);

• Monitoring form 2 (Diversity and Political Activity).

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 4 August 2020. Email to quoting reference APPT02-20.

For further information about the role please email RBG Kew Board Secretary, Balwinder Allen:

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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