1. Dame Suzi Leather took up the role of Chair of
the Charity Commission on 1 August 2006 and left at the end of
her second term on 31 July 2012. We would like to express our
gratitude to Dame Suzi for her dedicated and exemplary service
and her assistance to this Committee during her period in office.
2. John Wood, a member of the Charity Commission
Board, has served since 1 August 2012 as an interim Chair. We
would like to thank him for taking on this role while the recruitment
process was ongoing.
3. On 29 August 2012 the Minister for the Cabinet
Office, the Rt Hon Francis Maude MP, wrote to inform us that William
Shawcross CVO was the preferred candidate for the post.
We held a pre-appointment hearing on 5 September 2012 to examine
whether Mr Shawcross had the professional competences and personal
independence necessary to perform this important role.
4. The Charity Commission is the independent registrar
and regulator of charities in England and Wales. The Commission
has existed in some form since 1853, with the register of charities
dating from the 1960s.
It is a non-Ministerial Government Department with a budget for
2012-13 of £25.7 million.
5. The full role description and person specification
issued by the Cabinet Office is at Appendix 2. The principal requirements
of the post holder are to:
a) ensure that the Commission:
i. effectively fulfils its statutory objectives,
general functions and duties and appropriately exercises its legal
ii. delivers its services in line with the Board,
HM Treasury and Parliament's requirements; and,
iii. regulates independently and impartially;
minimising the regulatory burden on charities where possible.
b) oversee the Board's strategies and plans for
the future, including direction of policy;
c) develop the Commission's key relationships
with Government, sector bodies and other major stakeholders;
d) in partnership with the Chief Executive, communicate
the Commission's role to stakeholders including the public, charities
and their users, the Government and Commission staff;
e) ensure that the Board and its members operate
in accordance with governance best practice and Nolan principles
of standards in public life;
f) direct, support and manage the Chief Executive
including agreeing objectives and undertaking an annual appraisal,
following consultation with other Board members.
6. These are the competencies against which we assessed
7. Mr Shawcross's CV is
published at Appendix 3.
Terms of appointment
8. The appointment is for a term of up to three years,
with the possibility of re-appointment for a second three-year
term. The remuneration of the role is £50,000 per annum for
two days per week. There is no pension attached to the role.
9. The selection panel was chaired by Mark Addison,
a Public Appointments Assessor representing the Commissioner for
Public Appointments, who is independent of the Government. The
panel considered twenty-six applications and selected for interview
the five candidates they considered best met the criteria. Three
candidates were deemed appointable to the post and their names
were forwarded to the Minister for the Cabinet Office. Mr Addison
has confirmed that these three candidates were selected on merit
through a fair and open process and that the recruitment process
to select Mr Shawcross complied with the Commissioner for Public
Appointments' Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to
10. The Minister for the Cabinet Office met with
all three candidates and selected Mr Shawcross. He stated that:
Throughout the selection process, William Shawcross
demonstrated that he has the necessary skills and experience for
this role, he would bring impressive intellectual and analytical
credibility to the role, along with a sound understanding of the
charity sector and a commitment to its independent, impartial
and proportionate regulation.
11. During the pre-appointment hearing we questioned
Mr Shawcross on a range of issues including:
a) His experience and suitability for the post;
b) His ability to demonstrate independence from
c) Whether a two-day week represents a sufficient
time commitment for this post;
d) Funding of the Charity Commission;
e) Public confidence in the charitable sector;
f) The issue of public benefit and faith/educational
Recommendation on appointment
12. We are satisfied that Mr Shawcross
has both the professional competences and personal independence
necessary to fulfil this role. We wish him every success as the
Chair of the Charity Commission.
1 Appendix 1 Back
NAO, Regulating charities: a landscape review, July 2012 Back
Full job description at Appendix 2 Back
Appendix 1 Back
Evidence taken before the Public Administration Select Committee
on 5 September, Appointment of the Chair of the Charity Commission,
HC 315-II. Back