I wish to apply for the post of chair of the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), and I enclose my CV. I am an experienced independent regulator, super-regulator, board member and chair, used to creating/reinvigorating organisations so that they become expert, influential, and able to hold others to account with ease and authority. I hope that the information I provide below is helpful, in assessing my suitability for the role.
I believe myself to be a respected public figure, ready to challenge ministers when appropriate. I am known for doing the right thing in whatever circumstances.
I strive to communicate clearly, elegantly and honestly at all times. Where helpful, I work hard at developing my organisation’s ‘power of voice’. At HMI Probation for example, I took every public opportunity to describe probation services and the contribution they make to public protection and to society more broadly, when these services are delivered well.
In my recent roles it has been critical to enjoy the confidence of a good range of other players. I apply myself to that and make sure that any organisation I lead does the same. In my recent review of farm regulation for example, I visited farms and associated enterprises in every sector, and met with local authority representatives and environment groups to hear and listen to their concerns and their ideas, and to explain our work.
I believe myself to be a good leader, able to attract and inspire good people and bring organisations to life. People find me authentic, wise and able to command respect and influence others—all seemingly welcome attributes in a challenging environment. I am rated as exceptional in my formal annual appraisals.
In recent roles I have developed organisations so that they are able to provide credible evidence of how things are in our field of endeavour. In such organisations it is incumbent on leaders to then come to the evidence without any pre-determined view, to challenge any assumptions held by team members and reach a fair, rational and authoritative position.
With that groundwork done, leaders must then do the right thing. I have a track record here, having influenced Secretaries of State for Education and for Justice, enabling them to make politically difficult but proper decisions to change tack. By way of example, government is making significant changes to the delivery model for probation services in large part because of the evidence-based and authoritative stance I took as Chief Inspector and the advice and support I provided confidentially.
Complex political and administrative environments are just the sort I enjoy, and thrive in. I am about to take on a particular role for a short period that should exemplify that.
I enjoy strategic work and believe myself to be a strong strategic thinker. As first Chief Executive of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, I worked with the chair and founding board members to develop an innovative approach. So for example, all historical case documentation was scanned and stored electronically, to enable data mining and search within and across all cases. This was ground-breaking in the public sector, in 1997.
Appointed as first CEO of Animal Health in the aftermath of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) 2001, I focused strategy with one overriding aim: to be able to eradicate swiftly about fifty quite different exotic diseases across species, thereby re-building confidence and allowing the nation to restore international trade promptly following an outbreak. We successfully eradicated the following ten exotic disease outbreaks (including another FMD outbreak, in 2007).
In HMI Probation, I moved the organisation from trying to make a difference at a local level to making a difference nationally—because it was needed. We moved from a subjective inspection approach to a robust and objective one underpinned by standards, and developed effective data analysis, to identify where and why probation services were not working as intended.
Most recently, I have enjoyed my first experience of chairing an organisation’s board. A good board is worth more than its constituent parts and can prove its worth tenfold. Together we are taking a determined and bold approach to established programmes of work that are inherently problematic. I have taken readily to supporting and challenging the CEO and senior team.
I have some knowledge of environmental law and the OEP’s field of endeavour, gained as CEO of Animal Health and in my work chairing the review of farm regulation. I am familiar with the regulatory strategies and approach deployed by the Environment Agency, for example. I appreciate that should I become chair of OEP, then I must broaden and deepen my understanding. That is an attraction of the role for me, and I can claim to have grasped the detail of several quite different fields of endeavour in my career.
OEP will be a small but extremely significant organisation. There will be influential commentators expecting it to be weak, and perhaps partisan in one way or the other. It needs to get up and running smoothly, and to start as it means to go on. Good leadership will be essential.
I would relish the challenges inherent in the role of founding chair. I do hope that you consider me a viable candidate.
Dame Glenys Stacey