The Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (Ocpa) stepped in to make ministers replace interview panellists that were “not sufficiently independent”.
The Guardian reports the watchdog stepped in when the government was looking for new chairs of the BBC and British Film Institute (BFI). A Freedom of Information Act response showed that ministers were asked to replace interview panellists for the high-profile jobs because they were too biased.
The regulator described such breaches (appointing ‘friendly’ panellists) as “threatening to undermine the independent status” of a role intended to bring “challenge and rigour” to finding appointable candidates for selection by cabinet ministers, including the prime minister.
Ministers have also been embroiled in a row over panel appointments for the selection of Ofcom chair as they seek to hire their preferred candidate Paul Dacre. It is said the process is now in such disrepute they are struggling to find any independent members to sit on the panel.