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Appointment of non-executive members to the NAO Board

The National Audit Office (NAO) is pleased to announce that the Public Accounts Commission has appointed two new non-executive members to the Board and reappointed Dame Clare Tickell.  

Gaenor Bagley, Sir Martin Donnelly (new appointments) and Dame Clare Tickell (reappointment) were recommended by the outgoing Chair of the NAO, Lord Bichard KCB, and the incoming Chair Dame Fiona Reynolds. The appointments are for an initial three-year term, renewable based on satisfactory performance for a second term of up to three years. Dame Clare’s reappointment is for a final three-year term of office.  

Gaenor Bagley and Sir Martin Donnelly will assume their roles on 1 January 2021 and will replace current non-executive members Ray Shostak CBE and Robert Sykes OBE who step down from the Board having completed the maximum of two consecutive three-year terms of office.

Dame Fiona Reynolds, incoming Chair of the NAO, yesterday said:

“In making these appointments, I am delighted the Public Accounts Commission recognised the strong combined skills and experience of Gaenor Bagley, Sir Martin Donnelly and Dame Clare Tickell in key areas within the NAO’s remit. I would like to thank Lord Bichard, outgoing Chair, for his excellent leadership of the Board; and Ray Shostak and Rob Sykes for their insightful contribution especially in strategy development, corporate assurance and governance, all of which have helped the NAO to fulfil our crucial mission as the UK’s independent public spending watchdog.”

Notes for Editors

  1. Under the Budget Responsibility and National Audit Act 2011 (BRANAA), the non-executive Chair of the NAO is appointed by Her Majesty The Queen upon a recommendation of the Prime Minister and the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee. Under the same Act, the Public Accounts Commission appoints the non-executive members of the NAO, upon the recommendation of the Chair of the NAO Board.
  2. The two new non–executive members were appointed to the NAO Board by the Public Accounts Commission on 1 December 2020.  Their appointment will take effect from 1 January 2021.
  3. The NAO Board consists of nine members: four executive members (including the Comptroller and Auditor General) and five non-executive members (including the Chair). In line with BRANAA, the Comptroller and Auditor General has sole responsibility for the NAO’s statutory audit work, including all audit judgements.  He is responsible for agreeing the programme of audit including all value for money studies and other reports.  The Board does not play a role in the conduct of the NAO’s statutory audit work.
  4. The non-executive members play an active role in ensuring that the NAO is an effective and efficient organisation. They contribute to the Board’s strategy development, corporate assurance and governance objectives.
  5. Although these appointments do not come within the remit of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, they have been made taking into account the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice.
  6. Press notices and reports are available from the date of publication on the NAO website. Hard copies can be obtained by using the relevant links on our website.

Biographical information

Dame Fiona Reynolds

Dame Fiona is the current Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in post since 2012. She came to the college after a long career in the voluntary and public sectors, latterly as Director-General of the National Trust from 2001-2012. Before joining the National Trust, she was Director of the Women’s Unit in the Cabinet Office (1998-2000), Director of the Council for the Protection of Rural England (now Campaign to Protect Rural England) from 1987-98 and Secretary to the Council for National Parks (now Campaign to Protect National Parks) from 1980-87. Dame Fiona is also an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy.

Dame Fiona also holds a number of non-Executive roles. She is a Trustee of the Grosvenor Estate, a Non-Executive Director of Wessex Water, Chair of the Green Alliance, the International National Trusts Organisation, the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England and Cambridge University’s Botanic Garden.

Gaenor Bagley

Gaenor Bagley is an experienced non-executive director, Chair and executive leader. She has broad experience across the public and private sector. Current significant roles include Chair of the Audit Committee and Remuneration Committee of Zopa Bank Ltd, External Council Member and Chair of Remuneration Committee of Cambridge University and Chair of TKAT Multi- Academy Trust. She has recently stepped down from the Board of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Gaenor combines a chartered accountancy qualification with extensive and innovative HR experience within a professional services environment and very strong understanding of audit and finance, M&A and corporate social responsibility. During her 30 years in professional services she has held a variety of leadership and Board positions, including five years to 2016 on the PwC UK Board as Head of People. She has also been a member of the UK Tax Leadership team at PwC.

Sir Martin Donnelly

Sir Martin Donnelly has wide experience across a range of government departments and public bodies. He was a Permanent Secretary for seven years from 2010 to 2017, leading the Department of Business Innovation and Skills for six years then setting up the Department for International Trade. He has worked as a senior civil servant in HM Treasury, Cabinet Office, Foreign Office and Home Office, and served as a non-Executive Director of GCHQ for five years.  Sir Martin is a trustee of several charities, and continues to work to promote greater gender diversity in the workplace. He is currently President of Boeing Europe.

Dame Clare Tickell

Dame Clare was appointed by the Public Accounts Commission as a non-executive member of the NAO Board in January 2018 and is the chair of the NAO’s Remuneration and Nominations Committee. She has extensive experience at board level, having led a variety of organisations across the charitable and public housing sectors. Dame Clare was appointed as independent director of the John Lewis Partnership in October 2019. Prior to this, she was chief executive officer of Hanover Housing Association until its merger with Anchor Trust in November 2018, having previously been chief executive of Action for Children. Until February 2020 Dame Clare was the chair of the Early Intervention Foundation. She was also a commissioner on the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) 2020 Commission into Public Services; chair of the Community and Voluntary Services Honours Committee from 2011 to 2018 and a former board member of The Guinness Partnership. She is a Fellow of the RSA.

About the NAO

The National Audit Office (NAO) scrutinises public spending for Parliament and is independent of government and the civil service. It helps Parliament hold government to account and it use its insights to help people who manage and govern public bodies improve public services.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), Gareth Davies, is an Officer of the House of Commons and leads the NAO. The NAO audits the financial accounts of departments and other public bodies. It also examines and report on the value for money of how public money has been spent.

In 2019, the NAO’s work led to a positive financial impact through reduced costs, improved service delivery, or other benefits to citizens, of £1.1 billion.


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