Non Executive Directorships

National Park Authorities, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Conservation Boards and the Broads Authority – Secretary of State Members

Location: Various locations

Date Posted: 14/01/2021

Closing Date: 12/02/2021

These positions are non-salaried but certain allowances are available if needed. These allowances range between £300 – £2255 per annum depending on the National Park Authority or AONB Conservation Board

Vacancy Description

“I am looking for a diverse group of passionate and committed individuals who want to help shape the strategic direction of our National Park Authorities and AONB Conservation Boards. As a Secretary of State appointed member, you will have the opportunity to help conserve and enhance our most treasured landscapes now and for future generations.

We seek applicants who are sensitive to the needs of the local communities, whilst having an ability to respond to the challenge of widening access to more diverse groups in society. I particularly encourage applications from disabled and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and younger candidates as currently the Boards of National Parks and AONBs are not fully reflective of our diverse society.

This is a pivotal time for Protected Landscapes with the review of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, led by Julian Glover, published in 2019. The review considered how to build on the existing plan for AONBs and National Parks, how to connect more people with the natural environment and improve health and wellbeing, helping to deliver the aspirations of the 25 Year Plan for the Environment.

Protected Landscapes will play a key role in delivering the Prime Minister’s recent commitment to protect 30% of UK land by 2030 for biodiversity. We must look to Protected Landscapes to be extra special places for nature. This goes to the heart of the primary purpose of National Parks and AONBs: to conserve and enhance the rich tapestry of flora, fauna, geological and human heritage we call natural beauty.

Julian Glover and his team have set out a compelling vision for more beautiful, and biodiverse National Parks and AONBs, and more accessible for everyone in the country to enjoy. We are in the process of considering all the recommendations. Board members will have an important role to play in delivery of the Government’s response to the review, helping to oversee the implementation of practical steps for improvements.

If you have the knowledge, skills and experience required to contribute to the life of the nation’s National Parks and AONBs and would derive satisfaction from public service, we very much look forward to receiving an application from you.”

Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity

National Parks and Cotswolds and Chilterns AONBs are protected because of their natural beauty and the wealth of opportunities provided for outdoor recreation, being designated nationally and internationally important landscapes. This high-quality environment supports vibrant local economies and communities.

National Parks are administered by individual National Park Authorities. The Chilterns and Cotswolds AONBs are each administered by a Conservation Board. Each National Park Authority/AONB Conservation Board is managed by an executive of permanent staff with oversight from members. Members make decisions about the actions that each National Park Authority/ AONB Conservation Board should take to deliver its purposes.

There are typically between 18 and 30 members, either appointed by Defra’s Secretary of State, or elected by local authorities or parish councils.

The executive carries out the necessary work to run the National Parks/AONBs and support and advise the members. Staff include professionals such as ecologists, rangers, planners and education specialists.

Defra encourages National Park Authorities/AONB Conservation Boards to maximise funding from a range of sources to supplement the grant they receive from Government.

The overall role of a member is to contribute to the leadership, scrutiny and direction of the National Park Authority/ Conservation Board and further the statutory purposes. Members are not representative of any organisation or group and have a duty to act in the best interest of the Authority/ Conservation Board on which they serve. Certain ineligibility criteria apply to these posts.

Person Specification

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

1. Enthusiasm and a genuine interest in protected landscapes and a commitment to ensuring that the Authority/ AONB furthers its statutory purposes.

2. Ability to represent an organisation or issue to a broad range of stakeholders in an ambassador role.

3. A commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

4. An understanding of ‘groupthink’ and the courage to challenge in order to improve innovation and progression. Clarity of thought and objectivity in reviewing performance.

5. Ability to think strategically, contribute and scrutinise complex plans and policies. High standards of integrity and impartiality to ensure transparency and good governance.

Diversity and inclusion

Given our commitment to diversity we would encourage applications from individuals with experience of improving access for people from underrepresented groups and expertise in identifying and improving inclusive communications.

Role specification

• Ensure the National Park Authority/ AONB Conservation Board furthers its statutory purposes.

• Agree plans that ensure the Park/AONB is available to everyone, is relevant and is valued as a national asset for its special qualities.

• Represent the Authority/ Board with external stakeholders as ambassador.

• Agree appropriate policies to meet statutory duties and participate in collective decision making.

• Encourage a creative, experimental and innovative culture, where risks are appropriately managed.

• Guide the development of policy and business plans by participating in activities as required including meetings, committees and working groups.

• Scrutinise and monitor performance, including providing constructive challenge and oversight of governance.

• Provide leadership and strategic direction.

• Ensure there is effective and efficient governance and management in place.

• Utilise broad knowledge and skills, to manage local and national interests, ensuring the national interest is taken fully into account.

Successful candidates must abide by the Nolan principles of public service and the Code of Conduct for Board Members – details are in the candidate pack.

Additional Information

The statutory purposes of National Park Authorities are to:

i. Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage;

ii. Promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of National Parks by the public.

• When National Park authorities carry out these purposes they also have the duty to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the National Parks.

• The Broads Authority has an additional purpose of protecting the interests of navigation, and in discharging its functions regard is to be had to the needs of agriculture and forestry and the economic and social interests of those who live or work in the Broads.

The statutory purposes of AONB Conservation Boards are to:

• Conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the AONB.

• AONB Conservation Boards have a further responsibility to: increase the public understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the area of outstanding natural beauty

• When AONBs carry out these purposes they also have the duty to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the AONB.

• If there is conflict between the purposes for National Parks and AONBs they are both required by statute to place greater weight to conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the park, a concept known as the ‘Sandford principle’.

How to Apply

All candidates are required to complete the following forms:

• Monitoring form 1 (Political Activity and Conflict of Interest Questionnaire)

• Monitoring form 2 (Diversity Monitoring Questionnaire)

Candidates should submit their CV of no more than two sides of A4 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 12 February 2021. Email to publicappts@defra.gov.uk quoting reference APPT10-20.

If you have any questions about the appointments process, you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, or require additional assistance to support you in your application, please email the Public Appointments Team on publicappts@defra.gov.uk

For an informal discussion about the role please contact the relevant NPA/AONB CB using the contact details contained in the candidate pack.

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