Role details

Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) - Non-Executive Directors

Application deadline 3 September 2024


Office for Environmental Protection
Sponsor department
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
West Midlands
Environment, Agriculture & Fishing
Legal, Regulation, Casework and Complaints Handling
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
4 day(s) per month
£20400 per annum
Length of term
4 Years
Application deadline
Midday on 3 September 2024

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    9 May 2024

  2. Application deadline

    Midday on 3 September 2024

  3. Sifting date

    24 September 2024

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    22 October 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


We are looking for up to two high-calibre Non-Executive Directors to join the board of the Office for Environmental Protection, an independent statutory body that is responsible for holding government to account on the implementation of environmental law.

Role description

The Board of the OEP is its body corporate in law, to whom its legal functions and responsibilities are assigned. The Board sets the strategic direction of the organisation. It ensures the correct, efficient and effective use of the OEP’s resources, including its public funding.

The Board also directly takes many significant decisions of the OEP, including decisions relating to investigations and enforcement, and approving all reports laid before Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The Board of the OEP includes a non-executive chair and between five and ten other members, with the majority of members being non-executives. The non-executive members are crucial in constructively challenging and holding to account the executive members.

The OEP Board has a collective responsibility for:

·         establishing and taking forward the strategic aims and objectives of the OEP consistent with its overall strategic direction and within the resources framework determined by the Secretary of State and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland (DAERA);  

·         ensuring the OEP acts objectively and impartially as it carries out its functions, and challenging any activity from Defra, DAERA or any other UK or Northern Ireland government departments they consider compromises its ability to act independently in the process;

·         providing effective leadership of the OEP within a framework of prudent and effective controls that enables risk to be assessed and managed;

·         helping to ensure the financial and human resources are in place for the OEP to meet its objectives;

·         reporting to Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly through the OEP's annual accounts where the Board considers the Secretary of State and DAERA have not provided sufficient funds for the OEP to carry out its functions;

·         reviewing management performance;

·         ensuring that it receives and reviews regular financial and management information concerning the management of the OEP;  

·         ensuring that it is kept informed of any changes which are likely to impact on the strategic direction of the OEP or on the attainability of its objectives, and determining the steps needed to deal with such changes and where appropriate bringing such matters to the attention of the Secretary of State, Permanent Secretary and DAERA; 

·         ensuring that any statutory or administrative requirements for the use of public funds are complied with; that the Board operates within the limits of its statutory authority and any delegated authority agreed with Defra and DAERA, and in accordance with any other conditions relating to the use of public funds;

·         ensuring that, in preparing its enforcement policy and exercising its enforcement functions, it has regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State under section 25 or 25A of the Environment Act.  

·         ensuring that, in reaching decisions, the Board takes into account its strategy, its corporate and business plans, and any contribution it has agreed to make towards Defra's or DAERA's policy objectives;

·         ensuring that, as part of the above compliance, its members are familiar with:

o    the Act;

o    the OEP’s Framework Document;

o    any delegation letter issued to the OEP by the Permanent Secretary;

o    any elements of any settlement letter issued to Defra or DAERA that are relevant to the operation of the OEP; and  

o    any separate settlement letter that is issued to the OEP from Defra or DAERA; and

o    the need to have appropriate internal mechanisms for the monitoring of, and governance and external reporting regarding, any conditions arising from the above documents, and the need to ensure that the Chief Executive and the OEP as a whole act in accordance with their obligations under the above documents;

·         demonstrating high standards of corporate governance at all times, including by using the audit and risk assurance committee to help the Board to address key financial and other risks;

·         setting performance objectives and remuneration terms for the Chief Executive that give due weight to the proper management and use and utilisation of public resources, consulting with Defra where it deems appropriate;

·         putting in place mechanisms for independent appraisal and annual evaluation of the performance of the Chair by the independent non-executives, taking into account the views of relevant stakeholders, and making the outcome of that evaluation available to the Secretary of State and DAERA; and

·         determining all such other things which the Board considers ancillary or conducive to the attainment or fulfilment by the OEP of its objectives.

The Board should ensure that effective arrangements are in place to provide assurance on risk management, governance and internal control.

The Secretary of State is seeking to appoint up to two non-executive members to the Board of the OEP. 

Board members will play an important role in supporting and encouraging the executive team in delivering the organisation’s statutory powers of scrutiny, advice, investigating complaints and enforcement in relation to environmental law and its application.  Your skills will be vital in helping the Board make the right decisions for current and future policy. 

Applications are invited from high-calibre candidates from all backgrounds who can demonstrate they can contribute to the strategic leadership of the OEP and discharge a full range of non-executive responsibilities.  We welcome applications from any candidates who meet the essential criteria for the role, whether experienced or first-time Non-Executive Directors.

The successful candidates must abide by the Nolan principles of public service, the Twelve Principles of Governance for all Public Body NEDs and the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies.

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 demonstrate all of the following essential criteria:  

  • ability to support a relatively new body in its evolution, ensuring it is functioning in line with the OEP’s statutory role and operates effectively and efficiently;
  • ability to analyse complex issues at a strategic level in ways which are impartial, evidence-based, creative and focused on proportionate solutions;
  • ability to work collaboratively, providing effective challenge and support to the Executive in order to ensure good governance;
  • highly effective leadership, interpersonal and communication skills, demonstrating an ability to influence and engage with a diverse network of stakeholders along with the ability to inspire confidence at all levels.


A significant technical, professional, practical or academic background in one or more of the following: 

  • law, particularly relating to the natural environment (including international and/or planning law);
  • environmental science, or environmental economics;
  • environmental policy and how it is implemented by government, business, the public and others;
  • investigatory and enforcement proceedings.

Application and selection process

How to apply

To apply you will need to create an account or sign in to “Apply for Public Appointment Service” by the deadline of midday on 3 September 2024 quoting reference APPT13-23. Once logged onto your account, click on ‘apply for this role’ and follow the on-screen instructions. 

To apply, all candidates are required to submit:  

  • a 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;  
  • a 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); 
  • equality information; 
  • information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues.   

For further information please email:  

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)

Edward Barker - Director for Natural Environment, Trees and Landscapes, Defra - Departmental Official -Panel Chair

Dame Glenys Stacey - Chair, OEP - Representative of Organisation

Saratha Rajeswaran - Chief of Staff to the CEO, Aviva plc - Independent Member -Political Activity: Conservative Party  

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.

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 ‘essential 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. When you apply you will have the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to the application process.

Principles of public life

The Seven Principles of Public Life (also known as the Nolan Principles) apply to anyone who works as a public office-holder.
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 ten years in any one post. 

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

For further information please email: