Northern Ireland: Bill of Rights Forum

House of Lords written question – answered on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird Crossbench

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What process led to the appointment of Chris Sidoti as chairman of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Forum; how many applications there were; and who carried out the interviews.

Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Minister of State (Sustainable Farming, Food and Animal Welfare), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Sustainable Farming, Food and Animal Welfare)

The Government's consultation document A Forum on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland (14 November 2006) and subsequent response to the consultation (12 December 2006) discussed the qualities and competences expected of the chair of the Bill of Rights Forum.

In view of the non-statutory nature of the post, its short and limited lifespan and the need for a chairman to be in place quickly, the post was not advertised and formal interviews were not held. Potential candidates with relevant backgrounds and experience were identified and their relative merits assessed against the criteria.

The Government are confident that Mr Sidoti, who was chosen for the post, fully met the selection criteria, which were:

experience and understanding of human rights, including international human rights instruments, particularly the European Convention on Human Rights;a track record of leadership;proven ability to establish consensus among politically and socially divergent group; and proven ability to analyse and make recommendations on complex issues.

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