Pre-appointment hearings for public appointments
The Senedd is responsible for a small number of public appointments. These include the Auditor General for Wales and the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, which are crown appointments made on the nomination of the Senedd. It also includes Senedd appointments, such as the Commissioner for Standards and the Chair of the Wales Audit Office.
The process of appointment differs depending on the role in question, but a relevant committee’s responsibilities may include undertaking the recruitment process and advising the Senedd on which candidate is preferred for appointment and/or nomination. This may include holding pre-appointment or pre-nomination hearings prior to consideration by the Senedd as a whole.
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, the Welsh Language and Future Generations.
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First published: 22/03/2022