PASC 03-04 PN.09

Session 2003-04

Press Notice No.09

Tony Wright calls on Government move to go further to strengthen independence of public appointments

BBC Chairman process "does not go far enough"

Tony Wright MP, Chairman of PASC-the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee-today commented on the Government's decision to involve three privy counsellors on the scrutiny panel in the appointments process for the new Chairman of the BBC. 

In its major report of 2003 on "Government by Appointment" (HC 165-I), the PASC had called for public appointments to be taken out of the hands of ministers and given to an independent commission; but if Ministers insisted on retaining the final say in key appointments then such appointments should be approved by a select committee of MPs.

Dr Wright commented:

"In one sense what the Government has proposed for the BBC is a step towards what we proposed, as it acknowledges the problem with the key constitutional appointments under the present arrangements.  It seems to imply that the Nolan rules are not enough, even with someone like the present Commissioner for Public Appointments to keep an eye on the process.

"But this is an opportunity to go further, either towards an independent public appointments commission or by having key appointments confirmed by a parliamentary committee.  By inventing a little scrutiny panel of the great and the good, I fear that the Government may have acknowledged the problem without having produced a proper solution."

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For further information please telephone Philip Aylett, Clerk of the Committee on 020 7219 3498.  Tony Wright may be contacted for press inquiries on 020 7219 5583

Publications and evidence, including uncorrected evidence, is also available on the Internet at

For information regarding forthcoming meetings including venues and times please call the House of Commons Committee Information Line on 020 7219 2033 (updated daily).