1 Appointment of the Chair of the
Committee on Climate Change |
Introduction: Pre-appointment hearings
1. The July 2007 Green Paper, The Governance of
Britain, proposed the introduction of pre-appointment hearings
for key public officials in which Parliament has a particularly
strong interest. It stated that in each case, it should fall to
the relevant Select Committee to conduct the hearing, which should
cover "issues such as the candidate's suitability for the
role, his or her key priorities, and the process used in selection".
The outcome of the hearing is non-binding, though the Report
from the Committee should inform Ministers' decision-making on
whether to proceed.
2. In 2011, the Liaison Committee published a Report
on pre-appointment hearings which included draft guidance for
Committees and Departments on the pre-appointment hearing process.
3. On 5 July 2012 the Secretary of State for Energy
and Climate Change announced that Lord Deben had been chosen to
succeed Lord Turner as Chair of the Committee on Climate Change,
the Government's advisor on setting and meeting carbon budgets
and preparing for the impacts of climate change. The Secretary
of State wrote to us on 4 July to invite the Committee to hold
a pre-appointment hearing. This took place on 4 September 2012.
We are grateful to Lord Deben for making himself available to
give evidence to the Committee.
The Committee on Climate Change
4. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is an independent,
statutory Non-Departmental Public Body established under the Climate
Change Act 2008. Its purpose is to advise the UK Government and
Devolved Administrations on emissions targets, and to report to
Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
5. In fulfilling this objective, the Committee's
priorities are to:
- Advise on the appropriate level
of the UK's carbon budgets and steps required to meet them. The
budgets define the maximum level of CO2
and other greenhouse
gases which the UK can emit in each 5 year budget period, beginning
- Monitor progress towards meeting carbon budgets
and recommending actions to keep budgets on track.
- Advise as requested on Devolved Administration
carbon targets and strategies, and progress towards reducing emissions.
- Conduct independent analysis into climate change
science, economics and policy and advising the Government as requested
by the sponsors.
- Advise on the preparation of the UK Climate Change
Risk Assessment and monitoring implementation of the UK Government's
National Adaptation Programme.
- Engage with a wide range of organisations and
individuals to share evidence and analysis.
6. The Committee provides increased transparency,
accountability and independence, operating at arm's length from
the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations, reporting
annually to the UK Parliament and the respective Devolved Administrations
on the progress being made by the UK towards meeting carbon budgets
7. The Committee currently comprises seven members:
a chair and six independent members. The Committee employs a Chief
Executive and a Secretariat of around 34 staff to provide analytical
and corporate support and operates with an annual budget of around
£4m. It is jointly-sponsored by the Department of Energy
and Climate Change (DECC), the Northern Ireland Executive, the
Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.
8. The Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee
was also established under the Climate Change Act to advise the
UK Government and Devolved Administrations and reports to Parliament
on preparedness for climate change in the UK. The Chair of the
Adaptation Sub-Committee sits on the main Committee and it is
jointly-sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and
the Northern Ireland Executive.
The role of the Chair of the Committee on Climate
9. The overall purpose of the job, as described in
the information pack made available to prospective applicants
for the post of Chair, is to "be responsible for steering
and developing the overall work of the Committee on Climate Change,
while the Chief Executive manages the day to day running of the
] He or she will also represent the Committee and
promote its strategy and overall direction".
The Chair will be the figurehead of the Committee. Key responsibilities
- Chairing meetings and determining
procedures for the Committee;
- Providing excellent vision and leadership;
- Being responsible for fulfilling the Committee's
functions as set out in the Climate Change Act including presenting
reports to Ministers, UK Parliament and the respective Devolved
- Overseeing the work of the Chief Executive providing
appropriate support ensuring appropriate management and governance
within the organisation;
- Representing the Committee externally and fostering
close working relationships with key experts, including academics,
business as well as foreign governments and intergovernmental
10. In the information sent to candidates, the Government
stated that the position would require the following skills and
- A track record of achieving
results and providing strategic vision to lead a high-profile
- An exceptional ability to communicate and build
relationships at all levels alongside strong interpersonal skills,
including the ability to negotiate, persuade and influence;
- The stature and capacity to provide independent
and pragmatic advice to Ministers and a track record of dealing
with senior representatives of academic, NGO and business sectors,
the media, and with policy-makers in central government and internationally;
- Expert ability to process and interpret complex
information; well-developed analytical reasoning skills and judgment,
and the ability to provide intellectual leadership and demonstrate
a creative and pro-active approach to problem solving and a high
level of professionalism;
- Ability to ensure that the organisation's financial
dealings are prudently and systematically accounted for, audited
and publicly available; and
- A commitment to work according to Nolan's seven
principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity,
accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
- Expertise in specific areas: Candidates
should be able to demonstrate a good knowledge of the range of
the Committee's work and an understanding of applied economics
and climate change policy. (The Committee's work covers business
competitiveness, climate change policy, in particular its special
impacts, climate science, economic analysis and forecasting, emissions
trading, energy production and supply, financial investment and
technology development and diffusion.)
The recruitment process
11. DECC informed us that the recruitment process
was as follows:
- The advert was placed on 21
December 2011 on the Sunday Times online, Executive Appointments
online, the Economist online, Cabinet Office public appointments,
DECC, CCC and Scottish Executive websites as well as Odgers Berndtson
online with a closing date of 22 January 2012 . The candidate
brief and advert were drawn up in consultation with the CCC and
colleagues in the devolved administrations.
- Ahead of the deadline for applications, Odgers
Berndtson approached a number of people who were considered to
be a good match with the requirements of the role and were invited
- The selection panel for the appointment was chaired
by Moira Wallace (Permanent Secretary, DECC). Tera Allas (BIS),
Sir John Beddington (Chief Scientist), Clive Bates (Welsh Government)
and Sheila Drew Smith (Office of the Comissioner for Public Appointments
Independent Assessor) sat alongside.
- The panel met twice: for a long list and a short
list meeting. Seven candidates were placed on the long list from
12 applications. Following discussions held by the executive
search company with these applicants, and based on the required
skills and experience set out in the application pack, the panel
agreed that four candidates should be shortlisted and invited
to interview on 27 February 2012. One candidate withdrew from
the process ahead of the interview.
- At interview, each candidate was assessed against
the qualities and experience required for the role which was set
out in the candidate brief.
- The panel considered two candidates to be appointable.
The Climate Change Act 2008 specifies that the appointment of
the CCC Chair and its Members are made jointly by the Secretary
of State for Energy and Climate Change and Ministers in the devolved
administrations. As such, the candidates were put to Ministers
for their decision.
- Ministers agreed that Lord Deben was their preferred
candidate. The Prime Minister was informed of the decision and
Lord Deben's name was put forward to the Energy and Climate Change
Committee for pre-appointment scrutiny.
The preferred candidate: The Rt Hon John Gummer,
Lord Deben PC
THE CANDIDATE'S BACKGROUND
12. Lord Deben is President of GLOBE International
(The Global Legislators Organisation, which seeks ambitious political
leadership on issues of climate and energy security, land-use
change and ecosystems). He also currently holds a number of Non-executive
Director positions, is Chairman of several companies and is a
Trustee of several charities. A list of Lord Deben's registered
interests at the time of the hearing is provided in Annex 4.
13. Lord Deben was a Member of Parliament until 2010.
He served as Secretary of State for the Environment from 1993-1997
and was Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food between 1989-1993.
He was twice awarded the title "Parliamentarian who did
most for the environment internationally" by the BBC as well
as being described as "the best Environment Secretary we've
ever had" by Friends of the Earth.
14. Lord Deben was Chairman of David Cameron's Quality
of Life Commission, as well as Chairman of the Oxford Commission
for Sustainable Consumption. For seven years he chaired the Marine
Stewardship Council and he writes regularly on environmental and
15. Lord Deben was educated at King's School Rochester
and Selwyn College Cambridge where he was President of the Cambridge
16. In line with the guidance produced by the Liaison
Committee on the conduct of pre-appointment hearings, our questioning
was intended to test the candidate's professional competence and
personal independence. In particular, we asked about the following
- His vision for the CCC and
ambitions for the post;
- Real or perceived conflicts of interest in relation
to posts currently held and party political connections;
- His understanding of challenges on the horizon
for the CCC and how he intends to tackle them;
- His understanding of the work of the CCC to date;
- His experience in the world of business and ability
to communicate with stakeholders in the sector.
A transcript of our cross-examination is published
with this report.
The Committee's view on the suitability of the
17. Lord Deben has demonstrated a longstanding commitment
to the environmental agenda and has had a distinguished career
in this area. He has been Secretary of State for the Environment,
led the Quality of Life Commission, is currently President of
GLOBE International, and has had extensive involvement with environmental
bodies. During his evidence to us, Lord Deben also highlighted
his business credentials which he is confident will enable him
to command confidence and engage effectively with the business
18. In our questioning we sought reassurance about
a possible perceived conflict between Lord Deben's personal financial
interests and his prospective role as Chair of the Committee on
Climate Change. We note that potential conflicts were assessed
according to the 2009 guidelines from the Office of the Commissioner
for Public Appointments.
Lord Deben informed us that he had discussed these with the Department
of Energy and Climate Change and the Cabinet Office, and would
be taking appropriate steps to ensure that any conflicts were
removed. We accepted Lord Deben's reassurances, in correspondence
with us and during the hearing, that he will relinquish all
relevant financial interests on taking up his appointment. We
were further reassured that his political affiliation would not
affect the independence of the Committee's work.
19. We are satisfied that Lord Deben is a suitable
candidate to chair the Committee on Climate Change and recommend
that he be appointed to this position. We look forward to maintaining
a good working relationship with the Committee on Climate Change,
and wish Lord Deben well in his new post.
1 Ministry of Justice, The Governance of Britain
(Cm 7170), July 2007 Back
Liaison Committee, First Report of Session 2010-12, Select
Committees and Public Appointments, HC 830
Briefing pack made available to prospective applicants for the
post of Chair of the Committee on Climate Change Back
As above. Back
As above. Back
Letter from Ed Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate
Change, September 2012, published as Annex 1 Back