Government 'reviewing processes' after failed Charity Commission chair appointment, minister says

The government is “reviewing its processes” after the new chair of the Charity Commission quit before even taking up the role, the culture secretary has said.

Martin Thomas quit last month, just a week after being confirmed in post and before he had officially taken up the position, after claims emerged of misconduct when he was chair of the charity Women for Women International.

In the House of Commons today, John Nicolson, the Scottish National Party MP for Ochil and South Perthsire, asked Nadine Dorries, the culture secretary, if she did “no vetting when she appoints candidates” and whether she could promise a “less chaotic” process to find a new individual.

Dorries replied by saying that the government asked Thomas during his interview if he had anything to declare, which he said he did not. 

“He has rightly apologised for his error of judgment during the application process,” said Dorries.

She said the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of backbench MPs, which approved Thomas for the role after a pre-appointment hearing, would “examine this matter and the error of judgment”. 

Dorries also said: “We are reviewing our processes; we review them constantly. 

“I am afraid there is not much more I can say about this.”

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations said today that it welcomed the extension of Ian Karet’s term as interim chair of the Charity Commission for a further six months and said it would continue to lobby for the appointment process to be restarted. 

It also said it had removed references to Thomas on social media because “we have been made aware of potential legal action that may be pending about the reports in the media”.

The membership body had previously said that Thomas had been right to withdraw from the role and that it was surprised the alleged behaviour had not prevented him from applying for the role.

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