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Role details

Board Member of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)

Application deadline 27 November 2023


Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Sponsor department
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
East of England
Environment, Agriculture & Fishing
Accountancy, Audit and Risk, Business, Commercial, International Experience, Technology / Digital, Major Projects, Regulation
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
30 day(s) per annum
£9836 per annum
Length of term
3 Years
Application deadline
Midday on 27 November 2023

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    13 October 2023

  2. Application deadline

    Midday on 27 November 2023

  3. Sifting date

    4 December 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    11 March 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


JNCC is the public body that advises the UK Government and devolved administrations on UK-wide and international nature conservation.  As a public body, we also work with business and society.    

Role description

Independent members of the Joint Committee contribute to the Committee’s work in providing UK Government and the Devolved Administrations, with effective support for their evidence needs and policies for nature conservation across the UK and internationally. Independent members need to understand the natural environment and its vital importance to everyone including its contribution to improving outcomes for the economy and for society on a sustainable basis. This will include an understanding on the latest thinking and implementation around natural capital, ecosystem services and natural resource management.

Independent members need to promote a positive and constructive relationship with a wide range of stakeholders including Defra, Devolved Administrations, the UK Country Nature Conservation Bodies, and other public bodies operating in the environmental field, including other Government Departments and international institutions. The JNCC has a key role in working with the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, and with a wide range of non-government organisations and other interest groups both within the UK and internationally. 

The JNCC was established in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (2006) as a non-departmental public body. Independent members are expected to take a full and active role in the governance of JNCC, appropriate to a non-executive board. This involves providing support to the Chair of the JNCC in holding the executive to account for achieving work programmes agreed in annual business plans and delivering good value for money.

Independent members will also assist the Chair in overseeing the executive’s delivery of the 2016 JNCC Review in effecting operational changes to the way JNCC delivers advice and evidence to customers. A part of this work will involve independent members being able to identify new opportunities for JNCC to diversify its income while continuing to deliver on its core evidence and advisory functions for the UK Government and Devolved Administrations. 

Independent members provide a valuable source of expertise to ensure that the scientific methods and approaches underpinning JNCC’s advice and evidence are robust and appropriate for the needs of customers. Members also take a longer-term strategic view to position the organisation to make optimal use of modern technological, computational, and scientific advances including the social sciences. Given the breadth of JNCC’s work in the terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments, these include but are not restricted to advances in data and IT, modelling and statistics, earth observation and remote sensing.  An understanding on the latest thinking and implementation around natural capital, ecosystem services and natural resource management is important.

The JNCC is accountable to the four government administrations in the UK. It is important for independent members, together with country conservation body representatives, to develop an understanding of legislative and policy approaches used across the UK.

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

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

1. Knowledge and expertise in a field relevant to the work of JNCC such as international or domestic environmental strategy, policy, science or operations, and the ability to relate this to the wider social and economic context and to the ambitions of the four countries of the UK and our Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

2. Proven ability to provide strategic oversight, impartial advice, and constructive challenge to ensure that JNCC provides high-quality, cost-effective evidence and advice, and optimises impact on nature recovery.

3. Knowledge and experience of organisational transformation, change management and financial governance in the private, public or voluntary sector.

4. Successful candidates should also be able to demonstrate experience and effective delivery at a senior level in two or more of the following areas: 

  • Interdisciplinary science: the ability to provide advice on scientific evidence and advice (across the natural and social sciences) and on the principles relating to nature conservation and recovery domestically and internationally. 
  • Communications and engagement expertise: a key element of implementing Together for Nature is a strong communications and engagement approach. The ability to provide high-level leadership on stakeholder engagement, messaging and outreach to build trust, enhance decision-making, protect and build the organisation's reputation, and optimise impact. 
  • Data and digital, including artificial intelligence: the ability to provide advice on new and emerging technology, including innovation in analysis and communication of evidence to drive nature conservation and recovery. 
  • Organisational equity, diversity and inclusion: the ability to advise on embracing, respecting and accepting difference, recognising its importance to JNCC’s culture and success in delivering its mission, and addressing systemic and structural barriers to enable all JNCC’s people to thrive, the environmental sector to diversify and to be a good ancestor. 
  • UK and international legislation and policy: the ability to provide advice on the opportunities and challenges for UK and international nature conservation and recovery arising from domestic legislation and global agreements. 

Application and selection process

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to visit and either create an account or sign inOnce you are logged into your account, click on 'apply for this role' and follow the on-screen instructions.                                                                                

To apply, all candidates are required to provide:

  • a Curriculum Vitae (CV) no more than two sides of A4 with education, professional qualifications and employment history and the names and contact details for two referees.
  • a statement of suitability or no more than 1,000 words, setting out how you meet the essential criteria – make sure you refer to the contents of this document and provide specific examples to demonstrate how you meet each of the criteria (max two pages please). 
  • equality information 
  • information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues

You will also have the opportunity to make a reasonable adjustment request or apply under the disability confident scheme before you submit your application.

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.

If you have any questions about the appointments process, please email the Public Appointments Team at

For an informal discussion about the role please contact Dr Gemma Harper (

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)

  • Rachel Bailey - Deputy Director for Environmental Governance and Wildlife Reform, Defra - Chair, Defra Representative 
  • Charles Banner - Acting Chair of JNCC Board - JNCC Representative  
  • Alice Teague - Deputy Director for Marine and Biodiversity, Welsh Government - Devolved Administration Representative  
  • Sarah Mukherjee - Board Member, Environment Agency - 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 have any questions about the appointments process, please email the Public Appointments Team at

For an informal discussion about the role please contact Dr Gemma Harper (

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.
  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

Remuneration for this role is treated as employment income and will be subject to tax and National Insurance contributions, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid. 

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 if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application. They 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.

Contact details

If you have any questions about the appointments process, please email the Public Appointments Team at

For an informal discussion about the role please contact Dr Gemma Harper (