Mr. Howell James

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 4th May 2004.

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Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Liberal Democrat, Lewes

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office

(1) if he will make a statement on the process which led to the appointment of Mr. Howell James as Permanent Secretary in charge of Government Communications, with particular reference to political involvement;

(2) by what means the post of Permanent Secretary, Government Communications, was advertised to (a) Civil Service candidates and (b) the general public;

(3) how many persons applied for the post of Permanent Secretary, Government Communications; how many were shortlisted; and how many were interviewed;

(4) if he will list the members of the panel who selected the Permanent Secretary, Government Communications.

Photo of Douglas Alexander Douglas Alexander Minister of State (Cabinet Office) and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

This post was openly advertised in early December, and the usual selection process for appointing Permanent Secretaries was followed and overseen by the First Civil Service Commissioner, Baroness Usha Prashar. The decision to advertise was taken with my agreement.

The post was advertised on the Civil Service Recruitment Gateway website and circulated to members of the Senior Civil Service. An advertisement also appeared in the national press in December. Headhunters were also engaged to complement this process.

Of the 86 people who applied, five were interviewed by the Panel.

The Panel to select the Permanent Secretary, Government Communications was chaired by the First Civil Service Commissioner, Baroness Usha Prashar. Also on the panel were Sir Andrew Turnbull, Head of the Home Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Sir Richard Mottram, Permanent Secretary of DWP, Bob Phillis, CE Guardian Media Group, and Sally Davis BT Global Products.

As is normal practice, the appointment of Mr. Howell James was approved by the Prime Minister on the recommendation of the Head of the Home Civil Service.

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