Appointment of the Children’s Commissioner for England Contents

3The preferred candidate

Candidate’s background

13.The Secretary of State’s preferred candidate is Dame Rachel de Souza. She is currently the Chief Executive at Inspiration Trust, a multi-academy trust of 14 academies based in Norfolk and Suffolk, and a trustee at Ambition Institute. Dame Rachel was previously an independent member of the Education Honours Committee and has held various teaching and headship roles. She declared no political activity or conflict of interest as part of the recruitment process.3 Dame Rachel’s CV has been included as an appendix.

14.In the Secretary of State’s view, Dame Rachel:

Emerged as the strongest candidate suitable for the role from a very competitive field and following a rigorous recruitment process […]. Rachel has a strong history of working with children and young people and a passion for improving lives and the opportunities of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.4

Line of questioning

15.In line with the guidance drawn up by the Liaison Committee on the conduct of pre-appointment hearings, our questioning sought to test the professional competence and personal independence of the candidate. The Liaison Committee also observes that a candidate will need to be able to withstand parliamentary and public scrutiny should they take up the post, and that questioning may therefore be robust.5 We questioned Dame Rachel on the following areas:

16.A transcript of the oral evidence is published on the Committee’s website.

The Committee’s views on the suitability of the candidate

17.The Committee held a pre-appointment hearing with the Government’s preferred candidate for Children’s Commissioner for England, on 15 December 2020. We agree Dame Rachel de Souza is appointable for the post.

3 Appendix 3

4 Appendix 2

5 Liaison Committee, Pre-appointment Hearings, Third Report of Session 2017–19, HC 2307, 19 June 2019




Published: 17 December 2020 Site information    Accessibility statement