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MPs endorse Government’s choice for new Public Appointments Commissioner

20 September 2021

Following a pre-appointment hearing on 16 September the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee have endorsed the Government’s preferred candidate for Commissioner for Public Appointments, William Shawcross.

During the session, he was questioned about the relevance of his previous experience, the extent of his commitment to improving diversity in public appointments and how he could command the confidence of the public.

In its report, the Committee expressed its frustration at the routine failure of the Government to meet deadlines to allow for thorough scrutiny of its preferred candidates, especially where terms are fixed and succession times can be planned. Former Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told the Committee earlier this year that he had urged all departments to ensure better preparation for appointments. The Committee continue to monitor the situation.

Mr Shawcross, previously Chair of the Charity Commission, has spent much of his life as a writer and commentator concentrating on international affairs. He will replace Peter Riddell, who’s 5-year term had been up in April but extended until 30 September to allow for the delayed recruitment process.

The Commissioner independently oversees Government appointments to over 300 public bodies, the chiefs of Ofcom and Ofgem among them, to ensure they are fair, transparent and that there are no conflicts of interest. Consequently, integrity, confidence of politicians and the public and an understanding of governance are essential to the role.

Further Information

Inquiry: Appointment of the Commissioner for Public Appointments 

Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committeee

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