Your sector council – your voice

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

AHDB’s Director for Engagement, Will Jackson, talks about how the creation of new sector councils is fundamental in giving levy payers a greater voice within AHDB, ensuring the organisation delivers the services that really matter to farm businesses.
Image of staff member Will Jackson

Will Jackson

Divisional Director – Engagement / Strategy Director for Beef and Lamb

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“Giving levy payers a greater say in how AHDB is run and what we deliver for their businesses is the only way we can stay relevant to the industry. Receiving feedback directly from those using our services will make sure we’re providing the right support needed to face the big challenges ahead.

We made a public commitment to build a modern, fresh governance structure that puts levy payers right at the heart of everything we do, and one way we’re delivering on this promise is through the formation of our new sector councils.

These councils are the voice of levy payers within AHDB. They will guide and steer everything we do.

They’ll make the funding decisions about what work we deliver using the feedback from the Shape the Future vote going on at the moment – so, they really couldn’t have a more important role in how AHDB is run.

This has been a real shift for us as an organisation. Not only is the vote the first time levy payers have had the chance to tell us what work they want us to focus on for them in this way, but now, they can also decide who they’d like to represent them on their sector councils.

To get to this stage, each council member has already been through a rigorous recruitment process. They’ve had to put themselves forward and apply for the roles; their applications have then been scrutinised to make sure they meet the strict job criteria. If selected for interview, they’ve then had to prove their skills and competencies will provide the best outcome for levy payers, in front of a panel of sector and independent representatives.

But to be confirmed in post, they must now be ratified by the levy payers they’ll serve though the vote – so it’s still fundamentally the industry’s choice.

Each member will serve for a term of three years, with a maximum of two terms, this will also be put to levy payers to decide. The same goes for when any role becomes vacant. And any candidate who doesn’t receive majority support will not be appointed.

Many of the people up for appointment are levy payers themselves but some have been put forward because of the diverse mix of experience they bring from other parts of the industry or other areas of business.

It’s important to have a broad range of skills to draw on in each sector council as this will be invaluable in ensuring the right decisions are made on what work we deliver for levy payers. But giving levy payers the final say in who represents them is our commitment to creating a culture of transparency in everything we do.

Once the vote closes on Monday 9 May at midday, the sector council appointments will be confirmed and then announced publicly along with the top line results.

The sector councils will be then meet in June to discuss all the feedback from the vote before making decisions about how the levy will be invested for the next five years in each sector. They’ll also be holding open meetings this autumn, which will be a further opportunity to hear from our levy payers about the proposed plans.

But we don’t want the conversation to end there – the door is never shut and we always value hearing from our industry community.

Outside of the voting process, sector councils will continue to play a huge part in how AHDB works – they’ll advise on wider sector matters, identify new industry challenges, and constantly act to represent levy payer interests.''

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