Appointment of Chair, Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission - Education Committee Contents

1  Background to the hearing

Pre-appointment hearings

1. The Governance of Britain Green Paper, published in July 2007, included a proposal that

the Government nominee for key positions […] should be subject to a pre-appointment hearing with the relevant select committee […] The hearings would cover issues such as the candidate's suitability for the role, his or her key priorities, and the process used in selection.[1]

2. The Government's proposal was welcomed by the Liaison Committee, which entered into discussions with the Cabinet Office on the framework for pre-appointment hearings and, in particular, which appointments should be subject to them. A final list of such posts was agreed between the Liaison Committee and the Government in May 2008.[2] Four posts were deemed suitable for pre-appointment hearings before the then Children, Schools and Families Committee. These are:

  • Chair of the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency
  • Chair of Ofqual
  • Children's Commissioner for England
  • HM Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills

3. The Government made it clear that it would not regard any views expressed by committees on the suitability of any such appointment to be binding; but it undertook to take those views into consideration in deciding whether or not to proceed with the appointment.

4. The process of pre-appointment hearings has developed since 2008 and these are now a regular part of select committee business.[3]

Chair, Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission

5. The Chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission is a new post, created since the August 2009 list of posts subject to pre-appointment scrutiny was agreed. On 15 May 2012 Sarah Teather MP, Minister of State for Children and Families, Department for Education, wrote to the Committee, stating the Government's wish that the new post should be subject to the pre-appointment process. The Committee considered the Minister's letter on 22 May and decided to take up the opportunity to hold a hearing.

6. On 25 June the Minister of State wrote again to inform us that the preferred candidate was the Rt Hon Alan Milburn.

7. The Minister of State's letters, the candidate's curriculum vitae and a memorandum by the Department for Education, Department for Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office setting out the requirements of the post and details of the recruitment process, are all printed with this Report.

8. We accordingly invited Mr Milburn to attend a pre-appointment hearing on 10 July 2012.

1   Cm 7170, page 29 Back

2   The full list is set out in the First Special Report of the Liaison Committee, Session 2007-08, HC 594, Pre-appointment hearings by select committees: Government response to the Committee's First Report of Session 2007-08 Back

3   See background as set out in Appointment of HM Chief Inspector, Ofsted, Seventh Report of Session 2010-12, HC 1607-I Back

previous page contents next page

© Parliamentary copyright 2012
Prepared 12 July 2012