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Children's Commissioner for England

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 27 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what account he has taken of the report of the Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families in his appointment of the Children’s Commissioner for England. (295200)

The Secretary of State gave very careful consideration to the report, in accordance with Cabinet Office guidelines on pre-appointment hearings, before making a decision on the appointment of Maggie Atkinson as Children’s Commissioner for England.

All the comments made by the Committee were taken into account. My right hon. Friend responded in detail to each of the issues in a letter to the chair of the Committee and made a statement on the appointment to the House of Commons on 19 October.

As set out in his response to the chair of the Committee, he also considered the transcript of the hearing; Maggie Atkinson’s career history; and other evidence from the independent recruitment process, which was validated by an independent OPCA (Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments) assessor and which identified Maggie Atkinson as clearly the strongest candidate.

He concluded that the Committee’s report did not put forward new relevant facts concerning Maggie Atkinson’s suitability for the post such as to cause him to alter his nomination of her to the post of the Children’s Commissioner.