Scrutiny of public appointments by select committees

Inquiry status: report and Government response published.  A further report produced which is awaiting a Government response.

Select committees began holding "pre-appointment hearings" with the Government’s nominees for key public appointments in 2008. Reviewing the "experiment", in its final report of the last Parliament, the Liaison Committee recommended “that a list of criteria governing the posts subject to pre-appointment hearings be established and a revised list of such posts be agreed between the Government and the Liaison Committee”. 

The Liaison Committee published a report (PDF 1.1MB) in September 2011 which considered pre-appointment hearings held by select committees to examine the Government's preferred candidate for certain public appointments. The Committee found that the three-year experiment had been successful and the new procedure had represented a modest step forward in securing democratic accountability of ministerial decision-making.  However, the Committee recommended a number of changes to the system as it stood.  The Government took over nine months to respond to the Committee's report and rejected several of the Committee's recommendations for enhancing the pre-appointment hearings process.  In September 2012 the Liaison Committee produced a further report (PDF 1.1MB) which published the Government's response and included further comment from the Committee.  A reply to this latest report is awaited.