Shelter insists its new chair 'shares its values' after criticism from MP

Jon Kenworthy, vice-chair of the housing charity, says Derek Myers was 'stringently vetted' and, as a local government officer, had not been responsible for policy


The housing charity Shelter has responded to criticism about the appointment of Derek Myers as its new chair.

Andy Slaughter, the MP for Hammersmith, last week wrote to Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, questioning whether Myers, the former head of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, was suited to the role.

Slaughter claimed that Myers’ appointment could undermine the charity’s campaigning effectiveness because of the "punitive" housing policies that were introduced by the council during Myers’ tenure.

But a statement issued yesterday by Jon Kenworthy, vice-chair of Shelter, said that Myers had been vetted stringently before being appointed to the role, which he will take up on 30 November.

"The board is confident that Derek Myers' experience and knowledge, including most recently as a former local government officer banned from being involved in politics, make him an ideal chair of the trustee board," said Kenworthy.

"Shelter operates open recruitment processes because we wish to ensure that we appoint from the widest possible pool of applicants. Trustees take great care when making appointments and would not appoint anyone who would not share the values of Shelter. They followed this process when they appointed Mr Myers as Shelter’s new chair of trustees."

Kenworthy said that when a vacancy on the board arose, the charity reviewed the skills and experience of existing trustees.

"The current trustee board reflects the needs of the charity, with its members having professional backgrounds and experience in charities, finance and accountancy, HR, fundraising, business, law, property, media and campaigning and public policy, including housing," he said.

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