Clause 54 - The Appointments Commission

Part of Health Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:15 pm on 10th January 2006.

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Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health) 6:15 pm, 10th January 2006

This and the other clauses are relatively uncontroversial, but in some ways they reflect the current workings of the NHS Appointments Commission. Hon. Members may be aware that in its 2003 report the Public Administration Committee said that other Government Departments could benefit from its skills and expertise. Therefore, the clause establishes a new body, the Appointments Commission, as an executive non-departmental public body and abolishes the NHS Appointments Commission, which the new body will replace.

The Secretary of State will appoint the chairman and non-executive members of the board. The chief executive and executive members will be appointed by the chairman and non-executive members. The members themselves will appoint a vice-chairman. At least one, but not more than four, of the non-executive members must be appointed to the health and social care appointments committee. I shall write to the hon. Gentleman in more detail about the different transitional arrangements, if that will help.

Obviously, the appointments by the Secretary of State must be made in a transparent and open way that is fully in line with appointments by Secretaries of   State in other Departments. However, the setting up of the new body provides scope for other organisations across Whitehall, but also the foundation trusts, to which we shall come later, to use its services. I hope that that reassures the hon. Gentleman. I shall write to him in more detail about transitional arrangements.