Government Departments: Directors

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 2nd August 2021.

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Photo of Fleur Anderson Fleur Anderson Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to treat departmental Non-Executive Directors in a manner equivalent to other members of public boards; and whether that role will be regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Photo of Fleur Anderson Fleur Anderson Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to incorporate existing guidance on the appointment of departmental Non-Executive Directors into the Governance code on public appointments.

Photo of Fleur Anderson Fleur Anderson Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to require every Government Department to publish a quarterly register of interests that includes each member of their departmental board.

Photo of Fleur Anderson Fleur Anderson Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to preclude Secretaries of State from appointing (a) sitting elected representatives with party affiliation and (b) current special advisers as departmental non-executive directors.

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Cabinet Office)

The Committee on Standards in Public Life published an interim report last month which recommended that the appointment process for Non-Executive Board Members of government departments should be regulated. We are grateful for the work being undertaken by Lord Evans and his Committee and will respond formally to the Committee’s final recommendations when they are published in the Autumn.

Departments publish their register of interests for all members of the departmental board alongside their Annual Report and Accounts.

As employees of departments, current Special Advisers are not eligible to be appointed as Non-Executive Board Members of departments, and none have been so appointed. The Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies sets out that where appointed as a Non-Executive Board Member, there is no bar on elected representatives taking a political party whip relating to their political role. They must exercise proper discretion on matters directly related to the work of the body and recognise that certain political activities may be incompatible with their role as a board member.

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