To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in recruiting a new chair of the Food Standards Agency following the announcement that Dame Deidre Hutton is to relinquish that post in July; and whether that appointment will be subject to consultation with Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and to pre-appointment scrutiny. [HL4723]
My right honourable friend the Secretary of State invited the House of Commons Health Select Committee to scrutinise the preferred candidate, the right honourable Lord Rooker, prior to appointment. The committee invited Lord Rooker to give evidence on 6 July 2009, following which it recommended that the Secretary of State continue with the appointment. Lord Rooker was confirmed as the new chair of the Food Standards Agency on 13 July and will take up his position on 27 July 2009 for a period of four years.
The appointment has been run jointly with the devolved Administrations as required by the Food Standards Act. As is customary, there were no plans to consult with Her Majesty's Official Opposition outside of the pre-appointment scrutiny process
The process, run by the Appointments Commission, is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments and has been conducted in accordance with the commissioner's Code of Practice for Public Appointments, involving an independent assessor at all stages, including the shortlist and interview panel.