Clause 1 — Office of Fair Trading

Part of Orders of the Day — Enterprise Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 30th October 2002.

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Photo of Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley Conservative, South Cambridgeshire 5:45 pm, 30th October 2002

I thank the Minister, whose intervention reinforces my point. That possibility—of the OFT having both a chairman and a chief executive—is entirely consistent with the structure of schedule 1. I presume that the chief executive would be one of the other board members.

However, the Government seem to be contemplating that their objective will be frustrated, initially at least. The fact that the chairman of the OFT will be its chief executive reinforces the sense that the office is governed by an individual more than by a set of corporate responsibilities. That is a pity. Business people say that experience tells them that it is desirable to separate the roles of chairman and chief executive, and they believe that that separation should be evident in a body with so much power over them.

There is no notion that it is best practice among regulators to separate the roles of chairman and chief executive. There are good examples of people combining those roles in a satisfactory manner, but we are moving away from that structure and towards having a board in which the roles are separated.