The government has extended the appointment of the interim chair of the Charity Commission, potentially indicating it plans to restart the recruitment process.
Martin Thomas quit last month, just a week after being confirmed in post, after claims emerged of misconduct when he was chair of the charity Women for Women International.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, which makes the appointment, has declined to provide detailed comment on what will happen next, other than it will give an update in due course.
But it said in a statement that Ian Karet’s term as interim chair, which was due to expire on 26 December, the day before Thomas was expected to take up the role, would be extended until 26 June.
The regulator has been without a permanent chair for almost a year after Baroness Stowell stood down.
She announced her intention to leave the role in October 2020 and in September Peter Riddell, the then-commissioner for public appointments, criticised the time it was taking to find her long-term successor.
Karet, who is a partner at the law firm Linklaters, has been a member of the regulator’s board since January 2019.
The Governance Code for Public Appointments, which sets out the process and principles for public appointments, including chair of the Charity Commission, does not appear to make any explicit provision for cases such as this.
An advisory board appointed by the DCMS to sift through applicants deemed seven shortlisted candidates to be appointable, but it appears increasingly unlikely that the government will revert to this list to find a replacement for Thomas.
The DCMS select committee did criticise the lack of diversity among applicants when making its assessment of Thomas’ suitability for the role.
“The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has extended Ian Karet’s term as the interim chair of the Charity Commission from 27 December to 26 June, while the appointment process for a permanent chair is conducted,” the DCMS statement said.
It said he would work 1.5 days per week in return for equivalent pay of £37,500 a year.