Tory peer Baroness Tina Stowell is the government’s preferred candidate for the next Chair of the Charity Commission, it has announced.
Baroness Stowell of Beeston has been announced as the preferred candidate by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport following an open recruitment exercise. If appointed, the end of February will see Baroness Stowell replace outgoing Chair William Shawcross, also known for his support of the Conservative Party. Chair of the Fundraising Regulator Lord Grade is also a Conservative peer.
However, should she be appointed to the role, Baroness Stowell has said that she will resign immediately her party membership, the Conservative Whip in the House of Lords, and become an independent, unaffiliated peer.
Baroness Stowell was Leader of the Conservative Party in the House of Lords from 2014-2016. She became a peer in January 2011 and joined the Government in September the same year. As a junior minister she led the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act through the House of Lords in 2013 before being promoted to Minister for Communities. She was promoted to Leader of the House of Lords and the Lord Privy Seal in 2014 and re-appointed to the same Cabinet post after the 2015 General Election. She is currently a member of the House of Lords Communications Select Committee.
Until September 2010, before joining the House of Lords, she was the BBC’s Head of Corporate Affairs. She was previously a civil servant for ten years, working at the Ministry of Defence in London, the British Embassy in Washington and 10 Downing Street from 1991 to 1996. She left the Civil Service at the age of 28 and was awarded an MBE in the 1996 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
The Select Committee for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport will hold a pre-appointment hearing with Baroness Stowell on 20 February before deciding whether or not to proceed with the appointment.
… it will be a great honour to play my part in protecting and promoting the public interest in our hugely important charity sector, which many people rely on, does so much good and helps define who we are.
— Tina Stowell (@tinastowell) January 26, 2018
Sir John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said:
“We congratulate Baroness Stowell on being named the preferred candidate for the position of Charity Commission Chair. We have long been supportive of the vital role the Commission plays in guaranteeing public confidence in charities. Baroness Stowell will bring to the role a wealth of experience in the sector and we at the Charities Aid Foundation look forward to working with her and continuing our strong working relationship with her colleagues at the Commission.”
Peter Kellner, chair of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, also commented on the announcement. He said:
“I would like to warmly welcome the announcement of Baroness Stowell as preferred candidate for chair of the Charity Commission.
“I am confident she will prove to be an excellent choice. Her many years of experience in high-profile public bodies, including the BBC Trust, itself a regulator, should stand her in very good stead in both this regard and in the role more widely.
“We have often expressed concern that both of the Commission’s previous chairs have left themselves too open to potentially damaging accusations of party political bias. Baroness Stowell’s intention to resign her party whip and membership if appointed is therefore especially welcome. It will, I hope, enhance her reputation as determined, independent and pragmatic. I and everyone at NCVO much look forward to working with her.”
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