MPs have criticised the “slapdash and unimaginative approach” to appointing a new chairman for the Charity Commission as they rejected the Government’s pick for the job.
Orlando Fraser was put forward for the role after the Government’s previously preferred candidate Martin Thomas withdrew from the process following four allegations of inappropriate behaviour in a previous position.
However, MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) have now rejected Mr Fraser’s appointment and accused the department of failing to learn its lessons.
Committee chair Tory MP Julian Knight said: “The fiasco of four months ago should have jolted the department into widening out its search for the very best person to oversee an organisation that is so vital in ensuring people can support charities with confidence.
“By failing to rerun the process and falling back on a shortlist which would seem to be so lacking in diversity, ministers have sadly squandered their second chance.
“While we recognise Mr Fraser’s potential to do the job, such a slapdash and unimaginative approach to his recruitment means we cannot formally endorse his appointment.
“This should act as a warning to the Government. Unless it changes tack, trust in the process will continue to be damaged and we risk missing out on getting the most qualified people from all backgrounds for these very important jobs.”
A report released by the committee on Thursday made clear that while it had no concern about Mr Fraser as an individual, it did not have confidence in the process of appointing him.
In a statement in December, Mr Thomas said it was an “error of judgment on a technical omission during the application process” that had forced him to step aside, adding: “I have behaved throughout the process in good faith, and did not wilfully mislead anyone at any time.”
A DCMS spokesperson said: “As recently noted by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, the appointment process for Charity Commission chair was run in line with the governance code on public appointments.
“The DCMS Select Committee rightly recognises Orlando Fraser’s suitability for the role and we will now consider its report in full and respond in due course.”
The committee does not have veto power over the appointment, which is down to Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.