Select Committee on Public Administration Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by Remploy (PAP 28)

  Remploy is not in a position to comment on many of the questions raised in the Issues and Questions Paper as they relate to areas that are beyond the Company's remit and operation.

  The Issues and Questions paper is very broad in its approach and covers a wide and diverse range of issues that are not necessarily appropriate for Remploy to make comment.

  Remploy would not, for example, take a view as to whether there should be more elected members of the House of Lords, as it is not specifically relevant to Remploy's operation or to the relationship it has with Government regarding public accountability.

  The comments in this response will therefore relate to Remploy's status as an NDPB and the process of appointments to NDPBs.

  It is however interesting from an organisational and accountability point of view to note that the Commissioner for Public Appointments is required to monitor, regulate, report and advise on over 12,000 Ministerial appointments. This seems to be a disproportionately broad category for a Commissioners office to seek to regulate and perhaps consideration should be given to classifying these appointments into particular categories with Commissioners appointed to consider processes for each different category identified. The appointment process for the House of Lords would for example be very different for appointment to an executive NDPB like Remploy and to require these different processes to be overseen by one Commissioner is perhaps too much to ask.

  Remploy supports the concept of an Independent Commissioner regarding Appointments to NDPBs and would suggest that such an office would be able to establish a system which ensures that the needs of each NDPB is met whilst maintaining a genuine accountability for independence in the process.

  Remploy would suggest that the prime purpose of such processes is to ensure that NDPBs attract and retain the appropriate skills and competence to ensure that any NDPB provides best value for money, operates effectively, and is accountable for their performance and achievements.

  Additionally an Independent Commissioner for NDPBs could be the vehicle for keeping Parliament informed of all such appointments and dealing with questions relating to the process used in any particular appointment thus demonstrating accountability for the independence of the process.

  Under current arrangements the Chair of Remploy, Non Executive Directors and the Chief Executive of Remploy are all Ministerial appointments with all other Executive Director appointments being delegated by Government to the Chair of the Remploy Board.

  Remploy takes active steps to ensure that the requirements of Nolan are included in the recruitment process for all Ministerial appointments and takes the appropriate steps to ensure that the requirement for transparency in this process is aligned with the practical aspects of acquiring suitable talent and expertise.

  For non-Ministerial appointments to the Remploy Board (ie delegated to the Chairperson of Remploy) we also seek to ensure that our sponsoring Department are made aware of the appointment process and details of the contracts of appointed Directors.

  We would recommend that this situation continue and that the process adopted for Ministerial Appointments remain different from non-ministerial appointments.

  Non-ministerial appointments should follow best practice in the area of Executive recruitment with experienced Recruitment consultants being employed to undertake any search and selection processes. Wherever practicable any Executive Director appointments should be publicly advertised with a specific requirement to ensure that issues of diversity are catered for in the nature of the advertisement and in the use of appropriate media to attract the most diverse applicant base. Such processes are most effective when they are focused and speedily applied—quality applicants will not be attracted to organisations that are slow and diffident in their application of the process.

  Similarly Ministerial appointments are most effective when the process is efficient and focused. The use of experienced, independent and approved recruitment consultants in this process has proved to be extremely beneficial and maintains political influence at arm's length. This seems to us to be an important feature for Government to recognise that also preserves the integrity of both Ministers and the NDPB concerned.

  A Commissioner responsible for appointments to NDPBs would need to establish an approved list of appropriate suppliers to undertake this role and would also need to establish an appropriate audit mechanism to ensure that all appropriate procedures are being, or have been, applied.

  It would be entirely appropriate for the Commissioner to maintain a separate list of experienced and appropriate independent observers who could be utilised to ensure objectivity in any appointment process.

  We would advise strongly against any concept of Parliament being involved directly in the appointment of the current posts requiring Ministerial approval as we believe the process would be unduly delayed and could become perceived to be counter to the objective of reducing perceptions of lack of objectivity.

RNF

April 2002

Remploy Responses to Questions posed in the Consultation Paper

GENERAL

  1.  No comment.

  2.  The question of how competent people will be selected still applies—we cannot imagine how NDPB posts can be "elected" posts when competence and capability are key requirements.

  3.  No.

  4.  It should be principally to improve the effectiveness and value for money of NDPBs.

  5.  The system of independent assessors works well and perhaps could become more independent if they are controlled by the Commissioner for Appointments to NDPBs.

  6.  Generally No—although information on the process of all public appointments should be made available for the public to access.

POLITICAL INFLUENCE ON APPOINTMENTS

  7.  We have no experience of this.

  8.  Final approval of selected candidates for NDPBs in their remit is understandable as they are politically accountable.

  9.  We have no experience of this.

  10.  No comment.

  11.  In the appointment for NDPBs—none.

  12.  The present process is fine and should not be complicated further.

DIVERSITY IN PUBLIC APPOINTMENTS

  13.  We do not have experience of this—but continuing efforts should be made to increase the range of potential candidates from a variety of backgrounds through separate campaigns to encourage applicants.

  14.  Through the retention of proper selection processes.

  15.  Our experience has shown that remuneration assists the process of recruiting competent and experienced people. We have not experienced any significant drawbacks in adopting this approach.

PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING

  16.  We think not. Although "experts" will understand the "Nolan" requirements.

  17.  See 6 above.

  18.  This role is not well known.

OTHER ISSUES

  19.  Yes.

  20.  Our experience of this process has been fine and can see no reason to change at this time.

  21.  No comment.

  22.  No comment.

  23.  Yes.

  24.  No comment.

  25.  Yes.

April 2002


 
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