Share

Journalist and writer named as preferred candidate for Charity Commission chair

William Shawcross
News

Journalist and writer named as preferred candidate for Charity Commission chair

Governance | Niki May Young | 29 Aug 2012

Journalist and writer William Shawcross has been named by the Cabinet Office as the preferred candidate to lead the Charity Commission board as chairman.

Francis Maude, who as minister for civil society is responsible for appointments to the Charity Commission board, has now requested a pre-appointment hearing by the Public Administration Select Committee to review his decision. This will be held on 5 September and its report presented to the government which will make a final decision on Shawcross's appointment.

Shawcross's journalism career spans five decades and he remains a contibutor in the national and international media. He has written for the Sunday Times, the Sunday Telegraph, the Washington Post, the Sydney Morning Herald and Newsweek among other well-known publications throughout the years.

He is also author of a number of non-fiction books ranging from biographies of public figures (Queen Elizabeth: the official biography of the Queen Mother, Rupert Murdoch: Ringmaster of the information circus), to investigative analyses of political matters (Deliver Us From Evil: Warlords and peacekeepers in a world of endless conflict).

Shawcross is no stranger to the charity sector. He is  chairman of refugee charity Response and former chair of freedom of expression charity group Article 19 as well as having sat on the board of the International Crisis Group. He was also an adviser to the High Commissioner for Refugees between 1995 and 2000, and a member of council of the Disasters Emergency Committee from 1997 - 2000.

His selection as preferred candidate for the role of chairman of the Charity Commission follows a competitive process undertaken by a selection panel chaired by Mark Addison, independent public appointments assessor for the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Other members of the panel are Lynne Berry, trustee of the newly-formed Canal and River Trust and former WRVS chief executive; Sue Grey, head of propriety and ethics at the Cabinet Office, and Lord Bew, a crossbench peer and academic.

Life after Leather

If confirmed Shawcross's term will last three years before he will then be considered for a second term. He will be paid £50,000 per annum and will work two days a week, a reduction from the working hours and salary of former chair Dame Suzi Leather who worked three days per week on a salary of between £80,000 and £85,000. 

John Wood, trustee of the Charity Commission since 2008, has been keeping the seat warm as interim chairman since the departure of Leather on 31 July. Leather had been chair since taking over from Geraldine Peacock in 2006.

Following her departure, Leather had warned that the personal specifications for her replacement may not be up to scratch. She raised concerns of its focus on private and charity sectors, rather than the public sector. At a public administration select committee (PASC) meeting where she gave evidence to MPs on her perceived future challenges for the Charity Commission, she said:

“The person specification asks for an established reputation, experience or knowledge from one or more of the private, charity or not-for-profit sectors. It misses out the public sector.

“Someone with experience in the private sector could have very little understanding of the charity sector. You’ll need someone who understands the charity sector and gets that it is not just big, household names, but small, local charities.”

But sector umbrella body the National Council of Voluntary Organisations welcomed the news. Its head of policy and research Karl Wilding said to civilsociety.co.uk: "We are pleased to see a candidate with clear voluntary sector credentials being considered. At a time where regulatory issues are under the spotlight, it’s important the Commission has a strong chair with a clear vision of what’s needed, ensuring that the high levels of trust and confidence in the sector remain."

 

Sam Younger, chief executive of the Charity Commission, will be delivering a special lunchtime address at the Charity Finance Summit on 15 Oct. More details at  http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/events

 

 

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

RNIB chief executive criticises ‘arrogance’ of MPs who think charities must learn from private sector

21 Nov 2014

Lesley-Anne Alexander, chief executive of RNIB, yesterday said she had a “struggle with the arrogance”...

Property boom poses risk to charities' long-term survival, survey reports

20 Nov 2014

Nearly half of charities consider property the greatest risk to their long-term survival, according to...

A quarter of charities 'ignore Commission action plans'

19 Nov 2014

Around one in four charities that the Charity Commission issued action plans to last year either partially...

Band Aid 30 raised £1m in first day

19 Nov 2014

Band Aid 30 became the fastest-selling single of 2014 when it was released yesterday, with 206,000 people...

Society lotteries deregulation could lead to less trust in charities, says NCVO

19 Nov 2014

Deregulation of society lotteries could impact public trust and confidence in charities, NCVO has told...

UK is joint-seventh overall in World Giving Index of 135 nations

18 Nov 2014

The UK and Ireland are the fourth most generous nations in terms of giving money to charity, the latest...

OSCR launches new website

20 Nov 2014

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has launched a new website which includes a new search function.

Data from controversial Samaritans app to be deleted

17 Nov 2014

Samaritans has promised that all data collected by its Twitter monitoring app will be deleted and the...

Post Office enables Children in Need donations through Twitter

11 Nov 2014

The Post Office has become the first UK organisation to allow Twitter users to donate to charity through...

Join the discussion

Twitter
 
Training

Attending our one day courses is a highly effective way of ensuring new and existing trustees fully understand their role, responsibilities and liabilities.

>> Find out more <<