Appointment of the Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Contents

Appendix 3: Candidate and appointment process details, supplied by the Government Equalities Office


Preferred Candidate

1)David Isaac. Curriculum Vitae (CV) attached.

Declaration of interests

2)Candidate declared the following on his application form for the role of EHRC Chair:

Background and information on role of EHRC Chair

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

3)The Commission is a non-departmental public body created under the provisions of the Equality Act 2006. It was established on 1 October 2007 and combines the regulatory responsibilities of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and the Disability Rights Commission (DRC). It also now has responsibilities in regard to the issues of age, sexual orientation and religion and belief.

4)The outgoing Chair of the Commission is Baroness Onora O’Neill of Bengarve, who was appointed on 12 November 2012 and whose term of office ends on 31 March 2016. The Commission has a Board of Commissioners who steer the Commission’s work and direction. The EHRC has Scotland and Wales committees and offices in England (London and Manchester), Scotland and Wales.

Overview of the EHRC’s Role and Remit:

5)The Commission has a set of unique duties and powers under the Equality Acts 2006 and 2010 to help fulfil its mandate. It also has specific responsibilities and requirements under the United Nations Paris Principles and the European Union Equality Directives to ensure it maintains its status as a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) and European national equality body. Compliance with the Paris Principles is conducted by a sub-committee of the International Coordinating Committee. Full compliance with the Paris Principles leads to the award of ‘A’ Status. The EHRC is an ‘A’ status NHRI.

Role of EHRC Chair

6)The post of non-executive Chair of the EHRC is a statutory appointment. Appointment is by open competition. The EHRC is currently funded by the Government Equalities Office (GEO) which is answerable to the Department for Education (DfE). The Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, and Caroline Dinenage MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women, Equalities and Family Justice, are responsible for the positon of non-executive Chair for the EHRC. Mrs Morgan has been involved in the last stages of the selection process for this post.

7)In the last five years the EHRC has undergone significant reform and has been building and enhancing its profile and reputation. The new Chair will need to be a strong, strategic leader who will continue this process – able to develop the Board and set the EHRC’s overall direction to reflect this crucial role as an independent equality body and National Human Rights Institution. One of the priorities of the new Chair will be delivery of the Commission’s Strategic Plan for 2016-19.

8)Appointments to the EHRC are for between two and five years. Subject to performance and the decision of the Secretary of State, members may be reappointed. It is envisaged the successful candidate will take up the role of EHRC Chair with effect from 1 April 2016.


9)The role of the non-executive Chair is:

10)Further information on the person specification and the specific qualities and skills sought are contained in the advert for this post attached. A copy of the recruitment timetable is also attached.

11)The post of EHRC Chair was advertised on the Cabinet Office website from 22 October, the usual place for advertising public appointments across Government. In addition, the advertisement was circulated to over 340 individuals and organisations on the stakeholder list maintained by GEO. The advertised deadline was 5.00pm on 30 November. However, with the permission of the Secretary of State, the deadline was extended by a further two weeks to 5.00pm on 14 December. This was done principally in order to increase the number of applications from diverse backgrounds.

Numbers applying

12)GEO received 28 applications for the post.

Interview Panel

13)Each application was considered in detail by the recruitment selection panel, chaired by John Knight, an assessor appointed by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA). Other panel members were Lord (Chris) Holmes, the EHRC Disability Commissioner, Nazo Moosa (as the independent member) and Paul Kissack, Director General, DfE.

Background on field of applications

14)Diversity of field

A breakdown of the diversity of the applicant field can be seen in the table below.

Number of applicants overall

Number in Longlist

Number in Shortlist

Number of appointable candidates






Diversity monitoring questionnaires returned















Chosen not to declare gender





Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background





Declared disability (diversity questionnaire or Interview Access Scheme form)*





*5 candidates were shortlisted – one subsequently withdrew

Shortlisting process

15)All applications were first reviewed by a Departmental longlisting panel led by David Ware from the GEO, and which included a senior DfE Human Resources (HR) official. The longlisting panel graded the applications as: A (recommended); B (Not sure) or C (Not suitable). This information was provided to the full recruitment selection panel, chaired by John Knight. This panel met in person on 15 January 2016 to consider the 28 applications. In addition, the panel pack had each candidate’s pen picture, CV and supporting statement giving evidence and examples of their ability to meet the criteria for the role. After careful consideration a shortlist of five candidates was agreed to be invited to interview. One candidate subsequently withdrew.

Final Interviews

16)Panel interviews were held on 12 February 2016. Questions broadly covered the essential criteria together with the Principles of Public Life. Candidates were also asked specific questions arising out of the panel’s discussions at shortlisting stage.

17)Candidates were asked to give a five minute verbal presentation on the subject of:

If appointed, what would the EHRC have achieved after 5 years under your leadership and what would you have personally contributed to this?

Number deemed appointable

18)Of the four candidates interviewed for the role of EHRC Chair, three were considered appointable.

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6 May 2016