Our governance

Details of Defra's governance structure.

Defra Board

The Defra Board provides strategic, corporate leadership to the department and has particular responsibility for monitoring performance and delivery. It meets once a quarter.

The membership consists of:


  • Michael Gove, Secretary of State
  • George Eustice, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
  • Thérèse Coffey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment
  • Lord Gardiner, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, and Lords Minister

Senior officials

  • Clare Moriarty, Permanent Secretary
  • Betsy Bassis, Director General, Chief Operating Officer


  • Henry Dimbleby, Lead non-executive Director
  • Ben Goldsmith, Non-executive Director
  • Elizabeth Buchanan, Non-executive Director
  • Colin Day, Non-executive Director
  • Lizzie Noel, Non-executive Director
  • Emma Howard Boyd, Ex-officio, Chair of the Environment Agency
  • Andrew Sells, Ex-officio, Chairman of Natural England

Executive Committee (ExCo)

The Executive Committee (ExCo) is a sub-committee of the Board, it:

  • provides a strategic steer
  • makes decisions where appropriate on cross-cutting Defra group issues
  • reviews plans and progress on improving Defra’s capacity and capability for the future
  • oversees cross departmental initiatives to inform strategic decisions by ministers on their priorities and spending plans


  • Clare Moriarty, Permanent Secretary
  • David Kennedy, Director General for Food, Farming and Biosecurity
  • Betsy Bassis, Director General, Chief Operating Officer
  • Tamara Finkelstein, Director General for EU Exit Delivery
  • Emily Miles, Group Director of Strategy
  • Jac Broughton, Group HR Director
  • Toby Nation, Group Director of Communications
  • Sonia Phippard, Director General for Environment, Rural and Marine
  • Sir James Bevan, CEO of the Environment Agency

Board meetings

The board meets quarterly.

Expenses and hospitality

In the interests of transparency we regularly publish summaries of meetings, and details of expenses and hospitality.