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About the Commissioner

The role of the Commissioner is to provide independent assurance that public appointments are made in accordance with the Governance Code and with principles of ministerial responsibility, selflessness, integrity, merit, openness, diversity, assurance and fairness. The Commissioner’s functions are set out in the Public Appointments Order in Council.

Sir William Shawcross CVO was appointed as the sixth Commissioner for Public Appointments in September 2021. In January 2021 he was appointed as the Independent Reviewer of Prevent. His Review was published in February 2023 and its recommendations were accepted in their entirety by the Home Secretary.

He served as Chair of the Charity Commission between 2012 and 2018 and became the Special Representative on UK victims of Qadhafi-sponsored IRA terrorism in March 2019. His previous roles have included memberships of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Informal Advisory Panel (1995-2000) and of the Council of the Disasters Emergency Committee (1997-2002). He also served on the board of International Crisis Group between 1995 and 2006.

Prior to 2012, Sir William was an independent writer and commentator, having worked as a Foreign Correspondent and written extensively on international affairs. His book The Quality of Mercy: Cambodia, Holocaust and Modern Conscience (1984) examined the role of aid agencies in disaster relief. He has also written on the work of the United Nations in 1990s conflict zones in Deliver Us From Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords, and a World of Endless Conflict (2000). His other works include Justice and the Enemy: Nuremberg, 9/11, and the Trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (2011).  He has also written and broadcast extensively about Britain’s constitutional monarchy. In 2009 he published the official biography of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and then in 2013 a collection of her letters, Counting One’s Blessings.

Register of Interests

Sir William Shawcross CVO Register of Interests (February 2024)