Chief Operating Officer

Richard Cornish


Richard Cornish was appointed Chief Operating Officer at Natural England in June 2019. Richard has spent most of his career in central government, mainly in large-scale delivery roles. He has also lead policy, strategy and major change programmes. His most recent roles include:

  • Director of Counter Fraud, Compliance and Debt at Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • Devolution Director, DWP
  • Joint head of Policy and Analysis at the Smith Commission
  • Director for Scotland, Jobcentre Plus

Richard is also a non-executive director on the Ofgem E-Serve board.

Chief Operating Officer

The COO is responsible for leadership of the:

  • 14 area teams that deliver Natural England’s outcomes across the breadth of its remit
  • national teams that support outcome delivery and enable innovation and strategic change

Responsibilities include:

  • delivering Natural England’s Conservation Strategy (Conservation 21) in places as a local convenor and environmental leader (on land, coast and at sea)
  • bringing alive Defra’s strategy and joint working across the Defra Group at a local level
  • managing Natural England’s reputation and profile at a local level
  • gathering intelligence to inform policy development and strategy development
  • developing better ways of doing things
  • delivering cultural change associated with organisational reforms

Natural England