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:

Ministers

  • The Rt Hon George Eustice MP, Secretary of State
  • The Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith, Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment
  • The Rt Hon Lord Benyon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity)
  • Victoria Prentis, Minister of State
  • Rebecca Pow, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
  • Jo Churchill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

Senior officials

  • Tamara Finkelstein, Permanent Secretary
  • Sarah Homer, Director General and Chief Operating Officer
  • Heather Smith, Group Finance Director
  • Katrina Williams, Director General for International and Borders
  • David Hill, Director General Environment, Rural and Marine
  • David Kennedy, Director General for Food, Farming and Biosecurity
  • Lucy Smith, Director General for Strategy and Change
  • Christine Middlemiss, Chief Veterinary Officer
  • Gideon Henderson, Chief Scientific Adviser

Non-Executives

  • 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
  • Tony Juniper, Ex-officio, Chair of Natural England

Executive Committee (ExCo)

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

  • is responsible for building a culture that supports integrated ways of working that will deliver the group’s strategic objectives
  • ensures strategic allocation and management of resources across Defra group to align with priorities
  • may take decisions in line with the current group operating model on matters that affect more than one organisation in the group, where this can add most value, or where a decision would set a precedent for the future
  • ensures effective leadership and maintains oversight of the strategic direction of Defra group
  • is the senior decision-making body for the core department

Membership

  • Tamara Finkelstein, Permanent Secretary
  • David Kennedy, Director General for Food, Farming and Biosecurity
  • Sarah Homer, Director General and Chief Operating Officer
  • Katrina Williams, Director General for International and Borders
  • Lucy Smith, Director General for Strategy and Change
  • Nicola Bettesworth, Interim Group HR Director
  • Toby Nation, Group Communications Director
  • David Hill, Director General for Environment, Rural and Marine
  • Sir James Bevan, CEO of the Environment Agency
  • Heather Smith, Group Finance Director

Board meetings

The board meets quarterly.

Meeting notes from earlier meetings can be found on the National Archives website.

Expenses and hospitality

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