Arm’s Length Bodies: Appointments

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 14th February 2013.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Tristram Hunt Tristram Hunt Labour, Stoke-on-Trent Central 9:30 am, 14th February 2013

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

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

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.

Photo of Tristram Hunt Tristram Hunt Labour, Stoke-on-Trent Central

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?

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

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.