Government formally responds to the DCMS Committee on Stowell appointment

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The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has published the government’s response to its report on the appointment of the chair of the Charity Commission. In its response, the government has reiterated its support for Stowell in the role of Charity Commission chair and said that it is “confident in assuring the committee that the best candidate has been selected for the role”. The committee had raised questions over experience and political impartiality – Stowell was a Conservative peer and will be the third successive Commission chair with political links. The committee questioned Stowell at a pre-appointment hearing on 20 February, and published its short report unanimously rejecting her appointment on 28 February. The government has acknowledged all the concerns raised by the DCMS Committee in its report, and responded to each point. It clarifies that the role description did not ask for explicit experience in the charity or regulatory sectors, and reiterated comments from the DCMS secretary of state made to the committee where he said that there is “no evidence that this is a weakness”. The response also states that Stowell and the other candidates were not ranked, although there was “unanimous agreement that this was an exceptionally strong candidate”. The government said to the committee in its response: “We are confident in assuring the committee that the best candidate has been selected for the role. This decision has not been made in haste, and that your reflections have been given due consideration.” Adding: “We have every confidence that she will work tirelessly to protect and promote the great work that charities do and ensure they uphold the highest standards of integrity.” –

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