You cannot apply for this role

The application deadline has passed or the role has been closed for applications.

Role details

Natural History Museum 3x Trustees

Application deadline 6 December 2022


Natural History Museum
Sponsor department
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Culture, Media & Sport
Communication, Technology / Digital, Legal
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
1 day(s) per month
Length of term
4 years
Application deadline
11:59pm on 6 December 2022

Share this page

Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    25 October 2022

  2. Application deadline

    11:59pm on 6 December 2022

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


The Prime Minister wishes to appoint three new Trustees to the board of the Natural History Museum. These Trustees will either bring senior public engagement, legal or digital expertise to the board. Applications are encouraged from all sections of the community to help ensure that the Museum’s board is representative of the diverse society it serves.

Role description

Time Commitment
There are four regular Board meetings per year and one strategy day. Occasionally extraordinary meetings are convened to consider urgent issues or decisions. In addition, Trustees will sit on other committees as necessary as well as attend events at the Museum, other representational engagements, and, where possible or desirable, take part in recruitment for senior management positions. Trustees will need to allocate additional time to study papers. The total time varies, but, on average, it will be one day per month. Board meeting dates for 2023 are as follows:
  • 21 February
  • 16 May
  • 4 July
  • 12 September (Annual Trustees’ Strategy Day)
  • 14 November
Location of Meetings
We have recently returned to a pattern where Board meetings normally take place at the main site in South Kensington, London and typically include a “behind the scenes” tour to aid Trustee understanding and engagement, although some meetings may remain virtual. In recent years the May Board meeting has been held at another UK location and the Annual Trustees’ Strategy Day is usually held in London but remote from the Museum.

Organisation description

History of the Museum
Originally part of the British Museum, the natural history collections (founded on those generated by Sir Hans Sloane) were moved to South Kensington when the now Grade 1 listed Waterhouse building was opened in 1881. The Museum became a separate legal entity with its own Board of Trustees on enactment of the British Museum Act, 1963, but was known after that time as the British Museum (Natural History), until the Museums and Galleries Act 1992 when it was officially retitled the Natural History Museum. The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum at Tring (now known as the Natural History Museum at Tring) was added in 1937 when it was given to the nation by the second Baron Rothschild. Responsibility was assumed for the Geological Museum (now the Earth Galleries) from the Natural Environment Research Council when the latter's British Geological Survey moved to Keyworth in 1985. The Natural History Museum is both a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB), funded in part by Grant-in-Aid from the British Government provided through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and an exempt charity. Approximately half of its expenditure is derived from sources of self-generated income, including bodies awarding grants for scientific research.
The Museum Today
The Natural History Museum’s mission is to create advocates for the planet – inspiring millions of people to care about the natural world and make the positive changes in their daily lives that will create a world in which both people and planet can thrive.
The NHM is the guardian of one of the world’s most important natural history collections. Through our own unrivalled expertise and by opening up access and participation for all, we are unlocking answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet:
  • The origins of our planet and life on it, and the impact of change;
  • The diversity of life and the delicate balance of ecosystems that ensure the survival of our planet;
  • Sustainable futures, for example the security of our food supply, the eradication of disease and the management of mineral and ore scarcity.
The Natural History Museum is internationally recognised for its dual role as a centre of scientific excellence and as a leading visitor attraction, presenting natural history to the general public through exhibitions, a programme of public events and a presence online and on social media. Its principal purposes are to discover and make available to the scientific community the information contained within its collections of natural history specimens and to entertain, interest and educate people of all ages in natural history.
The Museum is entering an exciting new phase in its development. There is an imperative to improve the conditions for storage of collections and plans to realise this by moving some collections to Thames Valley Science Park, in collaboration with the University of Reading. New digital, analytical and genomic technologies are emerging which both increase the potential user base of the collections and enable greater information to be derived from even the oldest specimens. These changes are facilitating exciting new research opportunities. Finally, a vibrant programme of temporary exhibitions will complement a planned refit of major galleries, and plans are in place to redevelop the Museum’s gardens, creating outdoor galleries and new outdoor learning activities for young people.
These plans need to be resourced. The Natural History Museum is an Arm’s Length Body with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport is its sponsoring government department. NHM receives Grant in Aid funding to support a proportion of its cost-base, but much of the Museum’s income is generated from external commercial and fundraising sources. The ambitious Vision and Strategy to 2031 will make growing and diversifying this self-generated income even more important to success.

Board composition

The Trustees of the Museum have statutory duties under the British Museum Act 1963 and the Museums and Galleries Act 1992 for the general management and control of the Museum and for the appointment of the Director. Within the framework of these statutory duties, the role of the Trustees is primarily to establish Museum policy, review performance, support the generation of income and endorse appointments to key management positions.
Trustees participate in the Board’s decision making processes including preparation for and attendance at all meetings of the Board and of any Board committees or other Museum structures to which they are appointed.
Trustees should have a commitment to the objectives of the Museum, uphold Museum policies and act as advocates for the Museum, including assistance with activities to generate funding from the corporate sector, trusts and foundations and other philanthropists. 
 Trustees are expected to understand and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life as defined by the Nolan Committee. Those principles are: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. In accordance with this commitment, Trustees must declare any pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests upon appointment and whenever a matter or decision arises in which the Trustee has an interest which might be perceived to prejudice their views or comments or to be in conflict with the interests of the Museum.

Regulation of appointment

This post is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. For more information, please refer to the Commissioner’s website 

Person specification

Essential criteria

Legal Trustee
Significant senior legal expertise and sophisticated understanding (most likely gained at either a major law firm or as an in-house counsel in a leading commercial, Government or non-profit organisation) in one or more of the following practice areas:
  • legalities, governance and risk for global institutions
  • intellectual property, commercial exploitation and new ventures
  • major project, property, planning and construction law.
Digital Trustee
Significant expertise in digital technology (most likely gained through experience at a major technology company, in the technology investment sector or in the scientific technology arena) in one or more of the following areas:
  • Large-scale consumer-facing organisations with innovative digital strategies;
  • Big data science sets, artificial intelligence and machine learning;
  • Consumer content management expertise;
  • Digital Infrastructure expertise (including large scale technology projects and key areas of risk, like cyber-security)
Senior Public Engagement Trustee
Significant public engagement expertise (most likely gained at major organisations with a public facing, cultural, educational, charitable or entertainment focus, and a large/complex set of audiences) in one or more of the following areas:
  • A commitment to preserving cultural heritage, and improving education and understanding of British and World history
  • Building audiences at local, national and global levels in terms of reach, diversity and impact.
  • Bringing expertise across both physical and digital engagement channels.
  • Engaging a diverse range of audiences with challenging content such as contemporary science, and issues of social relevance with regards to collections.
  • Inspiring behaviour change, action, participation and advocacy through public engagement.
  • Experience of major public space transformations including the development of new galleries and public facilities.
  • Influencing stakeholders to support public engagement in a variety of ways (for example, at policy level, philanthropically, champion support)
  • Expertise in the latest audience engagement theories, research and insights.
Applicants to the roles will also need to demonstrate in their application:
  • A love of natural history and a commitment to the Museum’s strategic plan;
  • An understanding of the importance to the Museum of fundraising and a commitment to support such activity;
  • Excellent judgement and the ability to contribute to Board discussion on strategy, governance and policy development;
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to represent and advocate for the Museum;
  • The ability to work collaboratively with other Trustees and the senior management of the Museum;
  • A strong commitment to engaging communities outside London, and factoring UK-wide perspectives into all decision making.

Application and selection process

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to provide:

  1. A  Curriculum Vitae of no more than 2 sides of A4 which provides your contact details, details of your education and qualifications, employment history, directorships, membership of professional bodies and details of any relevant publications or awards;

  2. A supporting statement of no more than 2 sides of A4 setting out how you meet the criteria for appointment, as set out in the person specification for the role;

  3. Information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues - please complete the attached Declaration of Conflicts of Interest form;

  4. Diversity monitoring information. Please follow this link to complete the form. This allows us to see if there are any unfair barriers to becoming a public appointee and whether there are any changes that we could make to encourage a more diverse field to apply. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be used as part of the selection process and will not be seen by the interview panel;

  5. Disability Confident – please state if you want to be considered for the disability confident scheme;

  6. Reasonable adjustments - requests for reasonable adjustments that you would like to the application process (if applicable);

Please provide the information at points 3-6 above on the relevant form, or as part of your supporting statement.
Completed applications should be submitted to - please put "NHM Trustee application" in the subject line of your email.

The Advisory Assessment Panel reserves the right to only consider applications that contain all of the elements listed above, and that arrive before the published deadline for applications.

Overview of the application process

Public appointments are made on merit following a fair and open competition process which is conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments. We will deal with your application as quickly as possible and will keep you informed at key stages. We aim to conclude the appointment process within three months of the deadline for applications – this is in accordance with the Governance Code.

The assessment process

  1. Ministers are responsible and accountable to Parliament for the public appointments made within their department. As a result, they must be consulted at every stage of the appointments process.

  2. An Advisory Assessment Panel (“Panel”) is appointed by Ministers to assist them in their decision making. The role of the Panel is to decide, objectively, which candidates meet the eligibility criteria for the role.

  3. At the shortlisting meeting the Panel will assess applications against the eligibility criteria and decide which candidates have best met the criteria, who should be recommended for interview. Ministers will then be consulted on the Panel’s recommended shortlist. If you have applied under the Disability Confident Scheme and you meet all the essential criteria, then you will also be invited for an interview.

  4. Once the shortlist has been agreed by Ministers, you will be advised (by e-mail) whether you have been shortlisted. Those shortlisted will be invited to an interview.

  5. The Panel will meet again to interview candidates and determine who is appointable to the role. The Panel may invite you to make a brief presentation at the start of the interview and will go on to question you about your skills and experience, including asking specific questions to assess whether you meet the criteria set out for the post. The Panel will also explore with you any potential conflicts of interest or any other issues arising from your personal and professional history which may impact on an appointment decision.

  6. Details of the panel’s assessment of interviewed candidates are provided to Ministers, including whether they have judged a candidate to be appointable to the role. It is then for Ministers to determine merit and decide who should be appointed. In some circumstances, Ministers may choose not to appoint any candidates and re-run the competition.

  7. Ministers may choose to meet with candidates before deciding the outcome. Candidates should therefore be prepared for a short time gap between interview and a final appointment decision being made. Candidates who have been interviewed will be kept informed of progress.

  8. Once the decision on the appointment has been made, interviewed candidates will be advised of the outcome of their application, including whom they may approach for feedback. Successful candidates will be issued with their Terms & Conditions and a letter of appointment should they agree to take up the position.

Further information about appointments, including tips on applying, can be found on our guidance pages on

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

Advisory Assessment Panels (AAP) are chosen by ministers to assist them in their decision-making. These include a departmental official and an independent member. For competitions recruiting non-executive members of a board (apart from the Chair), the panel will usually include a representative from the public body concerned.
AAP’s perform a number of functions, including agreeing an assessment strategy with ministers, undertaking sifting, carrying out interviews in line with the advertised criteria and deciding objectively who meets the published selection criteria for the role before recommending to ministers which candidates they find appointable. It is then for the minister to decide who to appoint to the role.
  • Helen Whitehouse OBE - Deputy Director Museums and Cultural Property - DCMS Panel Chair
  • Lord Stephen Green - Chair of the Natural History Museum
  • Alexander Downer - Independent Panel Member

Eligibility criteria

In general, you should have the right to work in the UK to be eligible to apply for a public appointment.

There are a small number of specialist roles that are not open to non-British citizens. Any nationality requirements will be specified in the vacancy details.

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. 

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director  (under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986);

  • have an unspent conviction on your criminal record;

  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors.

When you apply, you should declare if:

  • you are, or have been, bankrupt or you have made an arrangement with a creditor at any point, including the dates of this. 

  • you are subject to a current police investigation.

You must inform the sponsor department if, during the application process, your circumstances change in respect of any of the above points. 

When you apply you should also declare any relevant interests, highlighting any that you think may call into question your ability to properly discharge the responsibilities of the role you are applying for. You should also declare any other matters which may mean you may not be able to meet the requirements of the Code of Conduct of Board Members (see Outside interests and reputational issues section below)
If you need further advice, please contact

Security clearance

The successful candidate will be required to undertake Baseline Personnel Security Standard checks in line with the Civil Service guidelines. Additional Security Clearance may also be required for certain roles. However, where this applies, candidates will be notified during the appointment process. Further information on National Security Vetting can be found on the website here.

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

We encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and across the whole of the United Kingdom. Boards of public bodies are most effective when they reflect the diversity of views of the society they serve and this is an important part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.
We collect data about applicants’ characteristics and backgrounds, including information about people’s educational and professional backgrounds, so that we can make sure we are attracting a broad range of people to these roles and that our selection processes are fair for everyone. Without this information, it makes it difficult to see if our outreach is working, if the application process is having an unfair impact on certain groups and whether changes are making a positive difference.
When you submit your application, your responses are collected by the Cabinet Office and the government department(s) managing your application. The data is used to produce management information about the diversity of applicants. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel who review applications against the advertised criteria and conduct interviews.

Disability confident

We are a member of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme. We use the Disability Confident scheme symbol, along with other like-minded employers, to show our commitment to good practice in employing people with a disability. The scheme helps recruit and retain disabled people. 
As part of implementing the scheme, we guarantee an interview for anyone with a disability whose application meets the essential criteria for the role, set out in the advert, and who has asked that their application is considered under the scheme. Indicating that you wish your application to be considered under the scheme will in no way prejudice your application. By ‘minimum criteria,’ we mean that you must provide evidence which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria, as set out in the job-advert.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to select if you would like your application considered under this scheme.

Reasonable adjustments

We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to make sure applicants with disabilities, physical or mental health conditions, or other needs are not substantially disadvantaged when applying for public appointments. This can include changing the recruitment process to enable people who wish to apply to do so.
Some examples of common changes are:
  • ensuring that application forms are available in different or accessible formats;
  • making adaptations to interview locations;
  • allowing candidates to present their skills and experience in a different way;
  • giving additional detailed information on the selection / interview process in advance to allow candidates time to prepare themselves;
  • allowing support workers, for example sign language interpreters;
  • making provision for support animals to attend.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to the application process.

Principles of public life

Holders of public office are expected to adhere to and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life These are:

  1. SELFLESSNESS - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family or their friends;
  2. INTEGRITY - Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties;
  3. OBJECTIVITY - In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit;
  4. ACCOUNTABILITY - Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office;
  5. OPENNESS - Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands;
  6. HONESTY - Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest;
  7. LEADERSHIP - Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

Code of conduct for board members

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. In support of this, all non-executive board members of UK public bodies must abide by the principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. The Code sets out the standards expected from those who serve on the boards of UK public bodies and will form part of your terms and conditions of appointment.

Management of outside interests and consideration of reputational issues

Holders of public office are expected to adhere and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life and the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. Before you apply you should consider carefully: 
  • any outside interests that you may have, such as shares you may hold in a company providing services to government; 
  • any possible reputational issues arising from your past actions or public statements that you have made; 
  • and/or - any political roles you hold or political campaigns you have supported; 
which may call into question your ability to do the role you are applying for.
You will need to answer relevant questions in relation to these points when making an application. Many conflicts of interest can be satisfactorily resolved and declaring a potential conflict does not prevent you from being interviewed. If you are shortlisted for an interview, the panel will discuss any potential conflicts with you during that interview, including any proposals you may have to mitigate them and record that in their advice to ministers. Alongside your own declaration, we will conduct appropriate checks, as part of which we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This may include searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. The successful candidate(s) may be required to give up any conflicting interests and their other business and financial interests may be published in line with organisational policies. 
Details of declared political activity will be published when the appointment is announced, as required by the Governance Code (political activity is not a bar to appointment, but must be declared).

Status of appointment

As this is an office holder appointment, you will not become a member of the Civil Service. You will not be subject to the provisions of employment law.

Appointment and tenure of office

Appointments are for the term set out in this advert, with the possibility of re-appointment for a further term, at the discretion of Ministers.  Any re-appointment is subject to satisfactory annual appraisals of performance during the first term in the post. There is no automatic presumption of reappointment; each case should be considered on its own merits, taking into account a number of factors including, but not restricted to, the diversity of the current board and its balance of skills and experience. In most cases, the total time served in post will not exceed more than two terms or serve in any one post for more than ten years

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

Trustees give their services on an honorary basis and receive no remuneration, except for expenses reasonably incurred in performance of their duties

Pension and redundancy

This is an office holder appointment and does not attract any benefits under any Civil Service Pension Scheme. You will not be eligible for redundancy pay as you are not an employee. No other arrangements have been made for compensation upon the end of your term of appointment because an office holder who is appointed for a limited duration would have no expectation of serving beyond that period.

Application feedback

We will notify you of the status of your application. We regret that we are only able to offer detailed feedback to candidates who have been unsuccessful at the interview stage.

How to complain

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy.
Please contact the public appointments team in the first instance if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application at They will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and respond within 15 working days.

How to complain to Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA)

If you are not content with the appointing department’s response you may wish to further complain to the Commissioner at information on how the Commissioner handles complaints can be found on the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ website

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.

Contact details

If you have any questions about the appointments process itself, please contact the campaign manager -
If you would like to speak about the role itself, please contact Dr Doug Gurr, Director of the Natural History Museum -