1.On 9 October 2017, the Minister of State for Health, Philip Dunne, wrote to us on the subject of the appointment of the Chair of NHS Improvement. He informed us that following the conclusion of an open recruitment campaign, his preferred candidate for appointment was Baroness (Dido) Harding.
2.The Minister asked us to hold a pre-appointment hearing with the preferred candidate. The hearing took place on 17th October 2017. A transcript of the session is available on our website.
3.The hearing addressed Baroness Harding’s background and experience, her understanding of financial and clinical issues in the NHS, and her views on the challenges facing NHS Improvement and its board. In accordance with the guidelines for pre-appointment hearings agreed with the Liaison Committee, we questioned her on her personal independence and relevant financial interests.
4.We examined Baroness Harding’s views on the governance of NHS Improvement, and how NHS Improvement and the wider NHS can respond to new models of care delivery and service provision. We also asked whether, if appointed, Baroness Harding would look to further integrate the work of NHS Improvement with other government and arm’s length bodies, including NHS England and the Care Quality Commission.
5.Finally, we questioned her on what approach she would be adopting in the upcoming recruitment process for the CEO of NHS Improvement, along with her views on the efficacy of strategic projects within the NHS including the Five Year Forward View and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships.
6.On the basis of the discussions during the pre-appointment hearing, we are satisfied that Baroness Harding has the professional competence and personal independence required of the Chair of NHS Improvement. We are pleased to endorse her appointment and wish her well for her tenure as Chair.
7.In endorsing Baroness Harding’s appointment, however, we add the following recommendations: