Press release

Preferred candidate selected for Chair of the Charity Commission

William Shawcross CVO, has been selected as the government's preferred candidate for appointment as the new chair of the Charity Commission.

29 August 2012
CAB 085-12   

Following an open recruitment exercise conducted in compliance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments principles, William Shawcross CVO, has been selected as the government’s preferred candidate for appointment as the new chair of the Charity Commission.

The Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude has now invited the Public Administration Select Committee to hold a pre-appointment hearing with William Shawcross. This will take place on 5 September 2012.

The Committee’s conclusions will be carefully considered by the government before a final decision on the appointment is made.

Notes for editors

The Charity Commission is the independent registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales. Its mission is to be the independent registrar and regulator of charities, acting in the public’s interest, to ensure that:

  • charities know what they have to do
  • the public know what charities do
  • charities are held to account

For more information on its work, visit www.charitycommission.gov.uk.

The Minister for the Cabinet Office is responsible for appointments to the Board of the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and the recruitment for a new Chair of the Charity Commission has been conducted in compliance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies under the principles of merit, fairness and openness. 

Pre-appointment scrutiny hearings enable select committees to take evidence from the government’s preferred candidate for certain key public appointments prior to the final appointment decision. Hearings are in public and involve the select committee publishing a report setting out their views on the candidate’s suitability for the post.

The role was advertised on the public appointments website and the Sunday Times appointments website. It was also highlighted on the Charity Commission’s website and Strategic Partners of the Office for Civil Society were invited to disseminate details of the recruitment to their members. In-house search expertise was also used to attract a strong field of applicants.

In line with standard selection processes, the recruitment for this role was rigorous and impartial. The selection panel was chaired by Mark Addison (an independent Public Appointments Assessor representing the Commissioner for Public Appointments). The other panel members were Lynne Berry OBE (trustee of the Canal and River Trust and former Chief Executive of WRVS), Sue Gray (Head of Propriety and Ethics, Cabinet Office) and Lord Bew (Crossbench Peer and academic).

The term of appointment is for three years, with the possibility of re-appointment for a second term.  The role is for two days per week, remunerated at £50,000 per year. It is not pensionable.  The reduction in the time commitment was proposed by the Charity Commission itself, and reflects a narrower focus on its core regulatory functions as set out in its strategic plan. The primary role of the Commission is as a registrar and regulator for charities in England and Wales.

William Shawcross is a renowned writer and broadcaster with broad experience relevant to the charity sector, particularly in human rights and international aid. He began his career in journalism in Czechoslovakia in 1968, and then worked as a war correspondent in South East Asia for the Sunday Times. His articles have been published widely in the UK and the United States and elsewhere. He has also lectured on geopolitics, South East Asia, refugees, the media and Al Qaeda. He was Chairman of Article 19 from 1986 to 1996; a Board member of the International Crisis Group from 1995 to 2005; and a member of the Council of the Disasters Emergency Committee from 1997 to 2002.

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