Role of members


Purpose of the role

The overall purpose of the Chair and members is to ensure that the National Park Authority fulfils national park purposes to the full and does so in the way that best suits the special characteristics of the National Park.

They have a duty to achieve the efficient, effective and accountable governance of the Authority in the best interests of the National Park and to provide leadership, scrutiny and direction for the organisation as a whole in pursuing the aim of sustainable development – balancing and integrating the environmental, social and economic considerations.

The primary purpose of the role of the member is to work with the Chair, Chief Executive and other members to discharge the functions of the Authority and to steer and champion the management of the Authority so that it delivers benefits to the nation and its local communities in accordance with national park purposes.

Key functions

  • act with independent judgement
  • use skills, experience, local, regional and national knowledge for the benefit of the Authority
  • collectively participate in the development of policy direction, strategic thinking and innovation within the Authority, through the development of management policy, business plans and participation in the activities of the Authority's working groups
  • independently scrutinise the workings and policies of the Authority
  • be committed to working in the best interests of the National Park
  • influence the Authority to help it come to informed and balanced decisions
  • seek clarification of policy and action proposals if appropriate
  • challenge proposals that exceed or go against the statutory purposes of the Authority
  • accept collective responsibility for the decisions of the Authority
  • approve and monitor programmes to implement the Authority's policies
  • contribute opinions and advice from local, regional and national perspective
  • work with members, staff and stakeholders to apply the principles of sustainable development and the principles of national parks to all decision making
  • be an ambassador for the National Park
  • help to promote the profile and effectiveness of the family of national parks both through the work of this Authority, cooperative action such as peer support and peer review and cooperation with the work of Defra, Natural England and the Association of National Park Authorities/English National Park Authorities Association.

In order to achieve this, members will be expected to:

  • attend and contribute to regular meetings of the Authority, its committees and working groups and raise issues of concern through the established procedures and mechanisms adopted by the Authority
  • read and understand, and seek clarification where necessary from lead officers, of briefing material provided for meetings so that they are properly prepared for any debate on issues across the full range of the Authority’s responsibilities
  • champion and represent the Authority as an effective mechanism for promoting conservation of the National Park’s natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage, increasing public understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities and maintaining the social and economic well being of local communities
  • attend appropriate training courses, briefing sessions and events arranged or sponsored by the Authority and the Association of National Park Authorities
  • adhere to the standards of conduct, accountability and openness of the National Park Authority
  • embrace the Government’s programme for Transformational Government.

There are opportunities to:

  • serve on committees and working groups dealing with particular issues affecting the National Park
  • champion or lead a specific area of the Authority's work
  • talk about the work of the Authority to local community groups
  • learn about the National Park and other protected landscape matters on field visits and fact finding tours
  • meet other people responsible for national park matters.

Performance measurement

The Government, with the English National Park Authorities Association, is working up ideas for measuring the effectiveness of Authorities and their individual members. In the meantime, the following proxy measures provide a starting point for members and others to gauge the contribution which they are making to the life of the Authority.

Attendance at main Authority meetings

The measure is the percentage of full Authority meetings and approved duties actually attended from those which that member could have attended.

  • Target: at least 75% of full Authority meetings and 75% of each specific meeting
  • Purpose: to monitor participation and commitment.

Representation of the Authority at approved external meetings and events

  • Purpose: to ensure an even distribution of workload, and to monitor this workload in line with ‘reasonable expectations’ of time commitment.

Length of membership

Members appointed by the Secretary of State to represent national interests may be appointed for up to four years, which can be extended to a maximum of 10 years in total.

Parish members and council appointed members serve until the next council election. Elections are held every four years. These members are eligible for re-appointment to the Authority if re-elected to the council. There is no maximum term of membership.

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