1. The Cabinet Office notified us on 13 May 2013
that it intended to recruit a new Chair for the House of Lords
Appointments Commission, to replace Lord Jay, whose five-year
term comes to an end in September. We were offered the opportunity
to carry out the pre-appointment hearing for this post, which
we accepted. The pre-appointment hearing for Lord Jay was carried
out by the Public Administration Committee. We were offered the
opportunity to carry out this pre-appointment hearing because
of our interest in House of Lords reform. We are currently carrying
out an inquiry into what small-scale reforms to the House of Lords
would be likely command a consensus. We are grateful for the
opportunity to carry out pre-legislative scrutiny for the post
of Chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission.
2. The Cabinet Office sent us the information pack
for candidates, setting out the requirements of the post, and,
following the recruitment exercise, they forwarded us the name
of the preferred candidate and the candidate's curriculum vitae.
These papers are printed as appendices to this Report.
The Chair of the House of Lords
3. The House of Lords Appointments Commission was
established by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in May 2000.
The Commission is constituted as an advisory, non-departmental
public body with two main functions:
- to recommend individuals for appointment as non-party-political
life peers; and
- to vet nominations for life peers, including
those nominated by the UK political parties, to ensure the highest
standards of propriety.
The Commission has appointed 63 individuals to the
House of Lords since its inception, eight of whom have been appointed
during the current Parliament. The Commission has seven members,
including its Chair, all of whom are appointed for five-year terms.
4. We are dissatisfied that we were not able to see
the outcome of the Triennial Review of the House of Lords Appointments
Commission, which was originally due to be published before the
application process began. We and the candidate have been placed
in a difficult position as a result and we would like an explanation
for the delay.
5. The principal responsibilities of the Chair of
the Commission are:
- to take the lead in consideration
of nominations, taking account of the full relevant factors and
- to take the lead role in recommendations in order
to give advice and if necessary consider appeals.
6. Candidates for the post were told that they would
need to demonstrate:
- strong leadership and interpersonal
skills, with an ability to command respect; and establish credibility
with Parliament, Ministers, Commissioners, and key stakeholders;
- ability to operate effectively and comfortably
in the media spotlight as the public face of the Commission; strong
communication and advocacy skills, and a personal style that demonstrates
authority and inspires trust and confidence;
- an understanding of, and commitment to, the need
to maintain the highest standards in public life in line with
the seven principles of public life;
- a strong familiarity with the internal workings
of the House of Lords.
The preferred candidate: Lord
THE CANDIDATE'S BACKGROUND
7. Lord Kakkar joined the House of Lords as a Life
Peer in March 2010. He is a Professor of Surgery at University
College London and a Consultant Surgeon at University College
London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He is also a Director
of the Thrombosis Research Institute, and Chair of Clinical Quality
at University College London Partners Academic Health Sciences
System. He holds a number of other appointments, which are listed
in his CV, which can be found at Appendix 1.
8. In line with the guidance produced by the Liaison
Committee on the conduct of pre-appointment hearings, our evidence
session assessed the candidate's professional competence and personal
independence. In particular, we questioned Lord Kakkar on the
- his priorities as Chair of
- his familiarity with the internal workings of
the House of Lords;
- his familiarity with the seven principles of
- his experience of operating in the media spotlight;
- the time he has available to fulfil the role;
- his views on the future of the Commission.
We were impressed by his defence of the levels of
integrity required for appointments to proceed.
The Committee's view on the suitability
of the candidate
9. We are satisfied that Lord Kakkar has the professional
competence and personal independence required for the post of
Chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. We therefore
support his appointment and wish him every success in his new
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