Daily Archives: December 20, 2012

Jim Pickard

Moves to give ministers more say over the appointment of senior civil servants would not “imperil” Whitehall’s independence, Francis Maude has insisted.

The Cabinet Office secretary spoke out over concerns that giving ministers a stronger role in appointments would undermine civil service impartiality. “This won’t imperil it being fair and open selection on the basis of merit,” he said.

Mr Maude added that no one argued that ministers should be entirely shut out of the process of picking senior officials.

Fears over the increased role of ministers in recruitment were raised last month when we revealed that David Cameron, prime minister, had intervened to stop the appointment of David Kennedy, chief executive of the climate change committee, as permanent secretary at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

This was despite Mr Kennedy having gone through the selection process by the Civil Service Commission and being told he had the job.

Downing Street, which did not deny that Mr Kennedy had been blocked because of his “green” views, said Mr Cameron was more likely to increase such interventions and wished that he had been more forceful in the past.

Under Mr Maude’s plan, ministers’ roles will be strengthened in the appointment process “to reflect their accountability to parliament for their department’s performance”.

At present, candidates are put forward by the Civil Service Commission, with ministers having a power of veto. But in future the minister would be offered a range of candidates to Read more