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)
  • Stephen Park (ARAC chair)
  • David Cotton (ARAC member)
  • David Gardner
  • Sarah Church, Defra Future Farming & Countryside Programme Director
  • Paul Caldwell, RPA Chief Executive Officer
  • Alison Webster, Strategy, Policy and Business Services Director
  • Anne Marie Millar, Finance Director
  • Andy King, Operations Delivery Director
  • Sally Mapstone, Human Resources Business Partner (Ex-Officio member)

RPA Executive Team

The RPA Executive Team (ET) is made up of the Chief Executive Officer and 7 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, Business Transformation Director
  • Susan Boyd, Basic Payments Scheme (BPS) Operational Delivery Director
  • Ali Johnson, Interim Countryside Stewardship (CS) Operations Director
  • Andy King, Operations Delivery Director
  • Sarah Milum, EU Reporting and Compliance Director
  • Catriona Morton, Interim Environmental Stewardship (ES) Operations Director
  • Alison Webster, Strategy, Policy and Business Services Director

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

  • Paul Egginton, Digital Data & Technology Services Director
  • Sally Mapstone, Human Resources Business Partner
  • Anne Marie Millar, Finance 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 & leisure sector career experience.

  • 11 years’ board experience, including chair, audit, finance, digital advisory & disclosure committee roles.

  • Convener (Chairman) of a Russell Group University, board member of one of the UK’s asset-allocating NDPBs & chairman of a large rural rivers trust and board member of a conservation organisation.

Stephen Park– Chair of ARAC & member of AMB

  • Experience in senior finance roles in the private, Whitehall and not-for-profit sectors.

  • Membership of, and close working relationship with, a wide variety of Boards, ranging from a FTSE-100 plc (Sears) and Government Departments of State (DEFRA, DCLG, DfT)

  • Leading change programmes in complex, multi-stakeholder environments, including transformation and restructuring, mergers, disposals, moves to shared services, downsizing and significant procurements.

  • Leading and restructuring finance teams to provide added-value business partnering to budget holders across the organisation.

David Cotton – Member of AMB & ARAC

  • David is a partner in a dairy, beef and arable farming business and director of an arable farming company in Somerset and a Board Director of AHDB Dairy, a levy-funded, not-for-profit organisation working on behalf of Britain’s dairy farmers.

  • David is also chairman of the South West Dairy Show

Dave Gardner – Member of AMB

  • A career land manager and farmer with extensive experience of managing large Estates. He is a committed environmentalist with a keen interest in all local and global sustainability issues.

  • He is currently Non Executive Director of Waldersey Farms Norfolk, CEO of The Royal Agricultural Society of England, CEO of Innovation for Agriculture.

  • Previously he has been Senior manager of the Co-operative farms, Estate manager for Stoughton Estate, Co-operative Farms, Leicester.

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.