Charity Commission chair comes under Parliamentary scrutiny

The chair of the Charity Commission is among 60 key public sector appointments that will be subject to increased scrutiny by Parliament under new Government proposals.

The posts involved are those whose holders are deemed to need demonstrable independence from government, or who play a key role in protecting the public’s rights.

Under the plans, the Government’s chosen candidates will be required to appear before a parliamentary select committee, which will question them about their suitability. If the committee finds significant blemishes in their integrity or impartiality, it will be able to ask the Government to find another candidate.

The proposals are a response to the Liaison Committee’s Pre-Appointment Hearings By Select Committees report, and follow up on a commitment to increased democratic scrutiny of public appointments set out in the Government’s Governance Of Britain Green Paper, which was released last summer.

Ed Miliband, the cabinet office minister, said: Regulators, ombudsmen and other public bodies exercise significant power over people’s lives and it is right that the appointment of these powerful posts should be subject to scrutiny by Parliament.

Other appointments that will be scrutinised by select committees include the chairs of the utility regulators, the Food Standards Agency and the Committee on Standards in Public Life, as well as the chief inspectors of prisons, constabularies and education, children’s services and skills.

A spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office said that the Government would be monitoring the pilot project to check that it did not have a negative impact on the numbers of applications, and might expand the list at a later date.

The post of Commissioner for the Compact, appointed by the Office of the Third Sector, is not currently included.

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