DCMS Committee demands more detail over Baroness Stowell appointment

Melanie May | 23 February 2018 | News

The DCMS Committee, headed by Damian Collins MP, has again written to Secretary of State Matt Hancock following the announcement that Baroness Stowell would be the next Chair of the Charity Commission despite the Committee having rejected her for the role following her pre-appointment hearing. 
In a letter to the Committee, published on 21 February, Hancock stated that, despite their reservations, he was ‘convinced that the best candidate has been selected for the role.’
He went on to say:

“The advisory assessment panel included two independent members, one of whom is a respected charity sector expert. The panel assessed all candidates against the criteria as set out in the role specification. I confirm that the panel unanimously agreed the outcome that Baroness Stowell was not just the most qualified candidate, but is an exceptionally strong candidate for this role. They noted that she delivered an excellent presentation which was well structured and spanned a wide range of issues, evidencing an ability for clear strategic oversight. They were also impressed by the high degree of emotional intelligence and personal integrity that Baroness Stowell displayed.”

However, yesterday (22 February) the Committee wrote again to Hancock in response, expressing disappointment that the concerns they had raised had been so quickly dismissed and demanding more answers to the points they had raised in their previous letter.
The Committee also raises further questions:

They also point out that while Hancock’s statement to the press said ‘Select Committee advisory decisions have often been set aside by appointing Ministers’, such action is in fact unusual, ‘having happened only three times out of nine negative committee reports, following over 100 pre-appointment hearings.’
The Committee has asked for a response by noon Monday 26 February, following which they will issue their report on the appointment.
Main image: Baroness Stowell. Crown Copyright.

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