Role details

Official Verderer of the New Forest

Application deadline 22 February 2023

Summary

Organisation
Forestry Commission
Sponsor department
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Location
South East
Sector
Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Skills
Accountancy, Audit and Risk, Business, Change Management, Commercial, Communication, Media, Marketing, Legal, Judicial, Major Projects, Regulation
Number of vacancies
1
Time commitment
40 hour(s) per month
Length of term
As the appointment by Royal Warrant is "at pleasure", it is usual for acceptance of the offer of the role to be on the understanding that it be placed back at the disposal of the Crown after 3 years.
Application deadline
Midday on 22 February 2023

Apply for this role

Timeline for this appointment

  1. Application deadline

    Midday on 22 February 2023

  2. Sifting date

    8 March 2023

  3. Interviews expected to end on

    22 March 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

Person specification

Essential criteria

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.

Role description

Introduction

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: http://www.verderers.org.uk

Additional introductions

Role description

Background

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.  

Training 

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.

Application and selection process

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 Commissioners@forestrycommission.gov.uk.  Reference OV23

For further information please email: Richard.barker@forestrycommission.gov.uk

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

Richard Stanford - CEO Forestry Commission -Departmental Official - Panel Chair
Gavin Parker - Chair, New Forest National Park Authority - Representative of Organisation
Charlotte Lines - Chair, New Forest Commoners Defence Association- Representative of Organisation
Mark Pountain - 
Non-Executive Advisor, Forestry and Land Scotland - 
Independent 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 email: Richard.barker@forestrycommission.gov.uk

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 Gov.uk 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. 
When you apply you will have the opportunity to select if you would like your application considered under this scheme.

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.
  2. Integrity - Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
  3. Objectivity - Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
  4. Accountability - Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
  5. Openness - Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
  6. Honesty - Holders of public office should be truthful.
  7. Leadership - Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour and treat others with respect. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

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

The role of Official Verderer is a voluntary one with no remuneration or expenses payable.

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 email Richard.barker@forestrycommission.gov.uk if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application. We will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and respond within 15 working days.

Data protection

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

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