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Arm’s Length Bodies: Appointments

Volume 558: debated on Thursday 14 February 2013

17. What recent assessment she has made of the process by which public appointments to her Department’s arm’s length bodies are made. (143165)

Ministerial public appointments to my Department’s arm’s length bodies are made on merit, under fair, open and transparent processes, regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments under the commissioner’s code of practice.

I thank the Minister for his answer, but there is a crisis in the museum and arts sector as a result of political interference and incompetence in Downing street—a number of heritage bodies and museums have waited months for decisions on trustee appointments only to have them vetoed by a busy-body Prime Minister on political grounds. Will he tell the Prime Minister to butt out of matters of which he has no knowledge and stop gerrymandering our cultural institutions?

As the hon. Gentleman well knows, all such appointments are made under very strict Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments guidelines and can be challenged. In the appointments for which I have been responsible, we have worked extensively across boundaries. We appointed the former Minister with responsibility for the Olympics to the Olympics board and I kept the former Minister with responsibility for sports as a trustee of the football foundation. That arrangement was not extended to the Conservative party when it was in opposition.