Parliament to have
greater role in appointments process for key public sector posts
CABINET OFFICE News
Release (CAB/057/08) issued by The Government News Network on 2 June 2008
Sixty key public
sector appointments will now be subject to increased scrutiny by
Parliament, the Government announced today.
In July 2007 the Governance of Britain Green Paper set out the
Government's programme of constitutional renewal. This
included a commitment to increase democratic scrutiny of public appointments.
Now, in response to the Liaison's Committee report
"Pre-appointment Hearings by Select Committees", the
Government has re-affirmed this commitment. Following consultation
with the committee, the Government has published a list of key
posts which will be subject to pre-appointment hearings by
Parliamentary select committees.
These include posts which play a key role in protecting the
public's rights and interests and where the post-holder needs
to show professional independence from Government. Hearings will
also be held for posts that play a key role in the appointments
Among the key posts that will undergo pre-appointment
parliamentary scrutiny for the first time are:
* HM Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and
* HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary
* HM Chief
Inspector of Prisons
* Health Service Commissioner for
* Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public
* Chair of the Food Standards Agency
* Chairs of the
* The Information Commissioner
The process will involve Parliamentary select committees taking
evidence from the Government's candidates for key positions
before they are appointed. In line with the Government's
commitment to increasing openness and transparency, these hearings
will be held in public and reports of the hearings will be
published in full.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Ed Miliband welcomed this
increased level of Parliamentary scrutiny and said:
"Pre-appointment hearings by select committees are part of
the Government's desire to make the executive more
accountable to Parliament. 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. I hope that hearings for
appointments to the sixty key posts will help ensure a high
standard of accountability and service to the public."
Notes to editors
1. The Liaison Committee's First Report of Session 2007-2008
"Pre-appointment Hearings by Select Committees" (HC384)
was published on 5 March and can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmliaisn.htm
2. The Government's response to this report including the
list of positions to be scrutinised can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/liaisoncom
3. The Public Administration Select Committee also published its
Third Report of Session 2007-2008 "Parliament and public
appointments: Pre-appointment hearings by select committees
(HC152) on 16 January. This, together with the Government's
response can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmpubadm.htm.
4. Following the introduction of pre-appointment hearings on a
pilot basis, the Government will want to work with Parliament to
assess the success of this new approach and any lessons that can
5. A pre-appointment hearing has already taken place for the
candidate of the post of Chair of the Care Quality Commission.
Baroness Young appeared before the Health Select Committee on 8
May and was subsequently recommended for appointment.
Cabinet Office Press Office 22 Whitehall LONDON SW1A 2WH