Government confirms Baroness Stowell as chair of the Charity Commission

22 February 2018

The government has confirmed that it will appoint Baroness Stowell as chair of the Charity Commission of England and Wales, despite criticism of the appointment from a cross party committee of MPs. The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee wrote to the government stating that it “cannot support” the appointment. The decision of the committee, which is made up of 5 Conservative, 5 Labour and 1 SNP MP, was unanimous.

During the pre-appointment hearing, MPs raised concerns about Baroness Stowell’s lack of charity sector experience and her political neutrality. Baroness Stowell, a conservative peer and former government minister said that she would quit her membership of the Conservative party should she be confirmed in post. The committee also criticised the appointment process itself.

Tamsyn Barton, Bond CEO said:

“The chair of the Charity Commission must be able to earn the trust of the public, parliament and the sector it regulates. Political independence and neutrality are vital to establishing this confidence, as is a strong understanding of charities and the profound and urgent challenges that they face.

The Charity Commission is a non-Ministerial government department that is accountable to parliament, not government. Public trust and confidence in the Charity Commission depends on its chair both being, and being seen to be, independent of government. Bond hopes that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will move quickly to address the concerns raised by MPs about the appointment of Baroness Stowell.”