The Commissioner for Public Appointments

Published 13 May 2015

This briefing paper reviews the role and work of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

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The Commissioner for Public Appointments regulates appointments made by ministers to senior positions in public bodies.  Those who make public appointments subject to regulation by the Commissioner are required to follow the Code of Practice on Public Appointments.  The Commissioner can investigate complaints about appointments processes within his remit.  Independent Public Appointments Assessors provide independent scrutiny during the appointments process.

The Commissioner and the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments were both established in 1995, on the recommendation of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.  There has been a continuing debate about the appropriate role of ministers in the public appointments process.  This been expressed in reports of the Committee on Standards in Public Life and the Public Administration Select Committee.

In 2010 the Government announced that the next holder of the post of Commissioner for Public Appointments would also hold the post of First Civil Service Commissioner. In November 2010 the Government announced that their preferred candidate for the dual role was Sir David Normington, previously the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office. The Public Administration Select Committee held a pre-appointment hearing and endorsed the appointment November 2010. However, the Committee did express some reservations about a single individual holding both posts and the appropriateness of the post-holder being a former senior civil servant..

Commons Briefing papers SN03368

Author: Lucinda Maer

Topics: Central government, Non-departmental public bodies, Public administration

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