3 The recruitment process and our
7. The MoD provided us with a memorandum on the recruitment
process. The post
was advertised on 20 July 2014 and the closing date for applications
was 8 September 2014. The recruitment campaign was conducted in
line with Cabinet Office and the Office of the Commissioner for
Public Appointments (OCPA) guidance. GatenbySanderson were appointed
by the MoD to administer the competition and carry out an executive
search. Serving members of the Armed Forces were ineligible to
apply and the candidate pack also stated that those with recent
Armed Forces or Civil Service experience were also likely to be
ineligible. The members of the selection panel were:
Scott, OCPA Public Appointments Assessor and Chair;
Chief Marshall Sir Stuart Peach KCB, Vice Chief of the Defence
Andrew Gregory CB, Chief Defence Personnel;
Barlow, Director Service Personnel Policy;
France, Chair of the Office for Legal Complaints.
Elizabeth France was the independent member of the
8. There were 88 applications for the post with 12
candidates long-listed for preliminary interview by GatenbySanderson.
Four candidates were shortlisted for final interviews and the
panel decided that two candidates were appointable to the role.
Anna Soubry MP, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans,
MoD, met the candidates on 3 November and nominated Nicola Williams
as her preferred candidate.
The Government's preferred candidate
9. Nicola Williams has held the post of the Complaints
Commissioner for Cayman Islands since 2009 with a remit that covers
93 government bodies. Since 2009 she has also been a Crown Court
Recorder sitting on the London and South Eastern Circuit. Previously,
Ms Williams was a Commissioner at the Independent Police Complaints
Commission with particular responsibility for Kent, Sussex, the
Ministry of Defence Police and part of the Metropolitan Police.
She has also been a board member at the Police Complaints Authority
and from 1985 to 2001 she was a barrister in private practice
specialising in criminal law.
10. A full CV is appended to this report.
11. We questioned Ms Williams on her professional
background and what had attracted to the post, her past experience,
including her prior professional or personal experience of the
Armed Forces, and her independence.
12. Particular lines of questioning focused on:
the independence of the Commissioner;
change of the post to one of an Ombudsman and how she would manage
she would familiarise herself with the many aspects of Service
life, the differences between each of the Services and the different
challenges they face;
she would engage with the various stakeholders in the complaints
process such as complainants, the chain of command, Parliament,
media and the public;
challenges she foresaw for the complaints system over the next
three years and her priorities in addressing them;
she would ensure the fairness, effectiveness and efficiency of
the Service complaints system; and
she would measure the effectiveness of her tenure as Commissioner
10 Ministry of Defence (PRE0001) Back