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Committee do not formally endorse choice of Charity Commission Chair

31 March 2022

‘A lack of care, attention and commitment to quality’ has resulted in yet another ‘archetypical and unimaginative’ choice for Chair of the Charity Commission, leaving MPs unable to approve the Government’s preferred candidate for the role.

In a Report published today following Orlando Fraser’s pre-appointment hearing last week, the DCMS Committee says that while it has no grounds for concern about the candidate as an individual, serious concerns about the process and the lack of diversity in the shortlist mean it can not formally endorse his selection.

Previous preferred candidate Martin Thomas withdrew from the process just days after being approved by the Committee four months ago and the Committee concludes that in failing to re-run the appointment process, the Department failed to learn from its mistakes.

To improve trust and respect for the process, the Government should restore powers to the Appointments Commissioner that were removed after the Grimstone Review of 2016 and ensure greater ministerial discipline when it comes to public speculation about candidates.

Chair's comments

DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said:

“The fiasco of four months ago should have jolted the Department into widening out its search for the very best person to oversee an organisation that is so vital in ensuring people can support charities with confidence. By failing to re-run the process and falling back on a shortlist which would seem to be so lacking in diversity, Ministers have sadly squandered their second chance.

While we recognise Mr Fraser’s potential to do the job, such a slapdash and unimaginative approach to his recruitment means we cannot formally endorse his appointment. This should act as a warning to the Government. Unless it changes tack, trust in the process will continue to be damaged and we risk missing out on getting the most qualified people from all backgrounds for these very important jobs.”

Further information

Image: Crown copyright/Open Government Licence v3.0