Statement from the Commissioner following publication of Governance Code (16 December 2016)
Statement from Peter Riddell, Commissioner for Public Appointments, on the publication of the Government’s new governance code on ministerial appointments to public bodies:
‘I welcome the publication of the Government’s new code. It marks the start of a new and different structure for the regulation of Ministerial appointments to the boards of public bodies.
I have had constructive discussions with Ministers and officials as they have developed the Code over the last few months. They have not accepted every suggestion but they have made a number of important changes, notably to reinsert fairness in the list of guiding principles and the commitment to consult me both about the appointment of Senior Independent Panel Members to assessment panels and about cases where exemptions are sought from holding competitions to make appointments.
I believe that the real test for the new arrangements will be how they are interpreted by Ministers –to preserve the balance between their right to be fully involved in the process and to take the key decisions, while ensuring that appointments are made on the basis of merit with candidates being judged on a fair and equal basis.
Transparency will be a central means of monitoring the performance of departments and I strongly welcome the new web tracker which will allow the public to view the timetable of the key stages of how a competition is progressing and the details of the appointment panels.
It will inevitably take time for the new rules and procedures to bed down across Whitehall. As Commissioner I intend to monitor developing practice, speaking up publicly and informing parliamentary committees where I have serious concerns. In particular, I will be supporting the efforts of government to attract and appoint a more diverse field of candidates to these important posts’