Crown Estate Commissioners, who are alternatively known as Board members, are appointed in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) Code of Practice.
One of the key principles of this Code of Practice is selection based on merit, after fair and open competition, and with the aim of achieving a balance of relevant skills and backgrounds on the Board, with minimal conflicts of interest with their outside activities.
Board members are nominated for appointment following interview by a selection panel which comprises the Chairman (who chairs the selection panel), the Chief Executive, a Board member, a representative of HM Treasury and an OCPA registered independent assessor. HM Treasury is responsible for recommending The Crown Estate appointments to the Prime Minister and Her Majesty the Queen.
Similar arrangements apply to the appointment to the role of Chairman and Chief Executive.
Appointments are made by Royal Warrant for a term of up to four years with the possibility of extension for a further term of up to four years. The maximum term which a non-executive Board member, in any capacity, can serve on the Board is ten years.
Board members are appointed by Her Majesty The Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minster from candidates identified by a selection panel on which the Treasury is represented.
They bring a range of experience and skills collectively apt to oversee, manage, control and guide The Crown Estate's business.
The Crown Estate Board is steered by its Chairman, supported by its Chief Executive. With the exception of the Chief Executive, all Board members are non-executives. The members of the Executive Committee (including the General Counsel and Company Secretary) also always attend Board meetings.
The Chairman of the main Board, Robin Budenberg, is responsible for chairing the Board and overseeing the official business of The Crown Estate. His duties include managing the business of the Board, ensuring its effective operation, keeping under review the general progress and long-term development of The Crown Estate, representing The Crown Estate to its various stakeholders and the general public, chairing the selection panel for the appointment of Board members, and undertaking the annual appraisal of non-executive Board members.
The Chief Executive, Alison Nimmo, is responsible for directing and promoting the profitable operation and enhancement of The Crown Estate. Her duties include responsibility for the development of The Crown Estate and its effective operation, strategic planning, ensuring implementation of objectives, policies and strategies approved by the Board, including sustainability targets and objectives, being responsible for public relations and acting as the Treasury's appointed Accounting Officer for The Crown Estate.
The main duties of the Board are to:
- agree objectives, policies and strategies, and monitor the performance of executive management
- agree and set the overall strategic direction of the business for implementation through the Executive Committee
- keep under review the general progress and long-term development of the organisation in light of the political, economic and social environments in which it operates
- control and monitor the financial state and performance of The Crown Estate
- approve major expenditure and transactions including acquisitions, disposals and investment in joint ventures
- ensure that The Crown Estate pursues sound and proper policies in relation to risk management, health and safety and corporate governance
- ensure a system of controls (financial and otherwise) is in place
- ensure adequate succession and remuneration arrangements are in place
The Board has a formal schedule of matters reserved for its decision which include:
- approving the annual report and accounts
- approving the annual budget and strategic plan
- agreeing capital expenditure or disposals over £50 million for Central London or regional retail transactions and over £20 million for all other transactions
- agreeing investment strategy
- granting or varying authority levels for Board committees and the Chief Executive
Certain matters are delegated to committees of the Board and these are described in the terms of reference of the committees in question. These include the audit committee, remuneration committee, nominations committee and Scotland Management Board. Other issues are delegated to executive committees which include the Executive Committee, the Investment Committee and the Finance and Operations Committee.
The Board operates to high standards of corporate governance. It reports on its performance in its annual report and reviews its own performance once a year. Generally it seeks to improve its internal workings to meet the changing requirements of the business.