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

3  The candidate

The candidate's background

11. Alan Milburn was the Member of Parliament for Darlington from 1992 until he retired from the UK Parliament at the general election in 2010. He held various shadow frontbench posts in Opposition (Shadow Health Minister from 1995 to 96; Shadow Treasury Minister from 1996 to 97) and also worked with Shadow Chancellor Gordon Brown MP to formulate the Labour Party's fiscal and macro-economic policy framework in preparation for government. After the 1997 general election he became Minister of State for Health (1997-98) and then joined the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1998-99). He was also Secretary of State for Health (1999-2003) and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (2004-05). He resigned from the front bench in 2005. In 2009 he was appointed Chair of the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions and went on to be appointed by the Coalition Government in 2010 as Independent Reviewer on Social Mobility to review and report on child poverty and social mobility.[5]

Lines of questioning

12. In line with the guidance drawn up by the Liaison Committee on the conduct of pre-appointment hearings, our questioning sought to test the professional competence and personal independence of the candidate. The Liaison Committee also observes that a candidate will need to be able to withstand parliamentary and public scrutiny should they take up the post, and that questioning may therefore be robust.

13. In the evidence session we explored the following areas with Alan Milburn:

  • Suitability for the post, including experience and independence;
  • Setting up and leading the Commission;
  • The child poverty targets and the Government's child poverty strategy;
  • The principle of social mobility, Mr Milburn's previous work in this field and the Government's social mobility strategy.

A transcript of the oral evidence session is printed with this report.

The Committee's views on the suitability of the candidate

14. The Committee considers that Alan Milburn has demonstrated his suitability for the post of Chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. We are grateful to the Minister of State for giving us the opportunity to hold this hearing and we endorse the Government's choice of candidate.

5   Alan Milburn's CV is printed with this report Back

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© Parliamentary copyright 2012
Prepared 12 July 2012