Pre-appointment hearings for public appointments

The Senedd is directly responsible for a small number of public appointments. This list includes the Auditor General for Wales, the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales and the Commissioner for Standards. Standing Orders allow the appropriate Senedd Committee to take evidence from a candidate for appointment to that office, so it can consider whether to support the appointment.

Since 2019 the Senedd has also been invited to carry out pre-appointment hearings to scrutinise some Welsh Government candidates for public appointments.

Making pre-appointment hearings a routine part of the appointment of chairs of public bodies in Wales, was a commitment made by First Minister Mark Drakeford in his manifesto for the leadership of Welsh Labour Party in 2018. It is intended to improve the scrutiny and transparency of the public appointment making process.

Pre-appointment scrutiny takes the form of a preferred candidate facing questions from the relevant Senedd Committee. The Committee will publish a report, usually within 48 hours of the hearing, setting out its view on the candidate’s suitability.

Roles considered suitable for such scrutiny would usually be:

  • of significant public interest;
  • have a significant impact on the public; and
  • contribute significantly to advancing equality and diversity of Wales.

Examples include the chairs of cultural bodies in Wales, health boards and the Commissioners for Children, Older People and Future Generations.

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First published: 22/03/2022