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Governance Code on Public Appointments

Volume 618: debated on Friday 16 December 2016

On 2 July 2015, the then Minister for the Cabinet Office, my right hon. Friend the Member for West Suffolk (Matt Hancock), announced that the Government had asked Sir Gerry Grimstone to lead a review of the operation of the public appointments system. The completion of the review was announced on 11 March 2016, Official Report, column 27WS, HCWS609

Sir Gerry Grimstone’s review placed an emphasis on the original conclusions reached by Lord Nolan in 1995 that Ministers should be at the heart of the public appointments system and concluded that Lord Nolan’s principles have stood the test of time and are as applicable today as they were 20 years ago. The review also recommended a new principle of diversity and also a greater emphasis on transparency throughout the system.

The Government welcomed Sir Gerry’s review and announced that they would implement its recommendations, including the publication of a new public appointments governance code, which I am publishing today. The new code will come into force in January.

The new code sets out that:

public appointments should be run in accordance to a set of principles: Ministerial responsibility, selflessness, integrity, merit, openness, diversity, assurance, fairness;

Ministers are responsible for public appointments and are central to the decision-making process;

the Commissioner for Public Appointments has a vital function regulating public appointments.

The Commissioner retains responsibility for monitoring and auditing appointments processes, but will not be directly involved in competitions; and

processes will be streamlined of bureaucracy with a stronger focus on customer care and transparency to ensure public confidence. There will be an emphasis on diversity in appointments.

The public appointments governance code can be found on the website and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.