Baronness (Tina) Stowell has been appointed as the new chair of the Charity Commission, despite concerns raised by both sector bodies and the committee of MPs that has oversight over the charity sector.
It was announced yesterday that Stowell has been appointed by Matt Hancock, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, for three years as of 26 February 2018. She takes over from William Shawcross.
Earlier this week the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee formally rejected Stowell as the new chair, but Hancock, who has final say over the role, indicated that the appointment would go ahead anyway.
On her appointment, Hancock said: “Tina Stowell will be a brilliant chair of the Charity Commission and I am delighted she is taking up this role. It is an important time for the Commission, and the sector, and I know that she will work tirelessly to protect and promote the great work that charities do and ensure they uphold the highest standards of integrity. I would also like to thank William Shawcross for his hard work over the past six years.”
Stowell, who will be remunerated £62,500 for up to two and a half days a week for the role, said: “I am delighted to join the Charity Commission, and look forward to leading a strong board and a committed and expert staff through the challenges ahead.
“I will place the public interest at the heart of everything I do as chair to build the public’s trust in charities and the Commission as their regulator. To that end it is vital that we have a constructive, business-like relationship with all our stakeholders and I look forward to listening to a wide range of voices in the days and weeks ahead.”
Stowell was leader of the House of Lords and the Lord Privy Seal until July 2016. She has said that on appointment she would resign her party membership and the Conservative whip in the House of Lords and become an independent peer and has now done so.
Former shadow charities minister questions appointment
Lisa Nandy, a former shadow minister for civil society and current shadow secretary of state for energy and climiate change, submitted a written question to the culture secretary asking "what what discussions the permanent secretary, ministers and special advisers of his department have had with the Prime Minister on the appointment of the chair of the Charity Commission".
Tracey Crouch, current civil society minister, has responded to say that "ministers have regular discussions with cabinet colleagues across government to discuss a range of issues".