With the rebranding of the six legacy levy boards under AHDB colours now complete, the organisation is now restructuring itself to present a single, joined-up face to its levy payers and supporters.
AHDB chairman Peter Kendall and chief executive Jane King, both in post for less than a year, used Cereals 2015 to outline findings of a strategic review of the body. A consequent restructure was aimed at smarter working across its 430 HQ and regional staff in handling the annual £60 million levy receipts.
Mr Kendall said the latest changes were the logical outcome of the AHDB’s creation in 2008. The rebrand aims to meet the future challenges of ensuring UK agriculture remains both competitive and sustainable. He pledged that levies raised by each sector would continue to be spent on that sector. But, the new approach would remove duplication across the sector board activities to free more resources for investment on behalf of levy payers. Closer working could be achieved between the sector boards by sharing back office functions and some R&D, with one joined up organisation to drive the whole industry forward.
Ms King said the four month review showed that more could be achieved by smarter working and a more strategic approach. The current 10 AHDB directors would be slimmed down to five cross-sector functional directorates. Three would be operational - Strategy, Technical (R&D and knowledge transfer becoming ‘joined at the hip’) and Communications and Market Development, supported by Finance and HR directorates, the latter with a strong emphasis on staff training and development.
This functional approach would enable a more thematic approach to R&D investment, and more flexibility and agility, said Ms King. Meanwhile, the six Sector Boards would set strategy and reflect sector priorities for levy investment. Sector specialists would be retained, but be better supported by cross sector specialists to help instil a joined-up culture.
The new structure would be more performance driven, with ongoing evaluation of performance and the ability to change where necessary, in order to ensure better value for levy payers, she concluded. As 40% of levypayers contribute through more than one farm enterprise, a whole farm approach from the AHDB is clearly needed.