Our governance

The main decision-making, executive and managerial bodies at the Rural Payments Agency.


Agency Management Board

The Agency Management Board (AMB) has responsibility for advising whether the strategic aims and objectives of the RPA are consistent with its overall strategic direction and are within the policy and resources framework determined by the Secretary of State.

The board is made up of non-executive directors, a Defra director and RPA members. AMB is supported by the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) that has responsibility for risk assessment, auditing and accounting.

Board members

  • Elizabeth Passey (Board chair)
  • Paul Dillon-Robinson (ARAC chair)
  • Tim Breitmeyer (ARAC member)
  • Mark Suthern (ARAC member)
  • Paul Caldwell, RPA Chief Executive Officer
  • Jessie Peramal, Finance Director
  • Ali Johnson, Engagement and Operational Readiness
  • Peter Crewe, Compliance, Assurance and Risk
  • Nadia Khan, Human Resources Business Partner (Ex-Officio member)

RPA Executive Team

The RPA Executive Team (ET) is made up of the Chief Executive Officer and a team of executive directors. The purpose of ET is to:

  • have overall authority to run the Agency day-to-day, including budget delegations
  • set the policy and direction for the Agency and take responsibility for the delivery of the Agency’s Strategic Plan and Annual Action Plan in line with Defra’s overall strategy and priorities
  • approve and set a full range of targets for the organisation and consider progress against them
  • make decisions that are not delegated and consider escalations to AMB
  • consider reports and escalations from sub-committees and sub-groups
  • consider people management related issues for the Agency, review budgets and communications, and manage change initiatives.

ET members

ET is led by Paul Caldwell, the RPA’s Chief Executive Officer (and Accounting Officer). Other core ET members are:

  • Emma Appleby, Chief Operating Officer
  • Susan Boyd, Customer Operations, Complaints and Appeals Director
  • Peter Crewe, Compliance, Assurance and Risk Director
  • Ali Johnson, Engagement and Operational Readiness Director
  • Rozanne Kidd, Agricultural Transition Director
  • Andy King, Regulation, Grants and Standards Director
  • Jake McClure, Organisational Capability Director

ET is also supported by the following business partners from the Defra Group’s corporate services:

  • Nadia Khan, Food, Farming and Biosecurity Deputy HR Director
  • Jessie Peramal, Finance Director for RPA, Future Farming and EU Finances
  • David Painter, Digital Data and Technology Services Director

Standing invites:

  • Internal Communications representative
  • Government Internal Audit Agency representative

Non-Executive Directors

Elizabeth Passey – Chair of Agency Management Board

  • 24 year financial services, public sector, university, rural charities and leisure sector career experience.
  • 11 years’ board experience, including chair, audit, finance, digital advisory and disclosure committee roles.
  • Convener (Chairman) of a Russell Group University, board member of one of the UK’s asset-allocating NDPBs and chairman of a large rural rivers trust and board member of a conservation organisation.

Paul Dillon-Robinson – Chair of ARAC and member of AMB

  • Paul is a chartered accountant (FCA) who has been working in the public sector for over twenty-five years, occupying Head of Internal Audit roles. For the last nine years, this involved working in the House of Commons.
  • In his time in the NHS he was Head of Internal Audit for a number of NDPBs, as well as Trusts and Authorities. He was also responsible for managing a not-for-profit internal audit and counter fraud consortium.

Tim Breitmeyer – Member of AMB and ARAC

  • Tim served as an Infantry Officer in Grenadier Guards for 18 years prior to returning to help run the family farming business in South Cambridgeshire. His home farm has 1600 Acres with 3500 Acres of Contract Farming Agreements and a 3000 acre Sugar Beet contracting business. Alongside the running of the farm Tim worked for Andersons Farm Business Consultants for 17 years in East Anglia, specialising in Sugar Beet, Cereals and contract farming.
  • Tim became an Officer of the Country Landowners Association in 2013, serving as President of The Association from 2017 to 2019.

Mark Suthern – Member of AMB and ARAC

  • After graduating from Sheffield Hallam University Mark worked in industry for a short while before joining Barclays in 1986. Mark spent 35 years at Barclays and was the Managing Director and National Head of Agriculture, where he led a team of c200 colleagues within the UK focused entirely on Farming, Landed Estates, Agri-Tech and Energy and Environment.
  • Mark is Chair of The Board of Trustees for The Farming Community Network Charity as well as being a Lay-Canon and member of the Chapter of Lincoln Cathedral.

Paul Dillon-Robinson – Member of ARAC

  • Paul is a chartered accountant (FCA) who has been working in the public sector for over twenty-five years, occupying Head of Internal Audit roles. For the last nine years, this involved working in the House of Commons.
  • In his time in the NHS he was Head of Internal Audit for a number of NDPBs, as well as Trusts and Authorities. He was also responsible for managing a not-for-profit internal audit and counter fraud consortium.