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The public appointments system in crisis

The principles that regulate who leads public bodies have been trashed. How did that happen—and what can be done about it?

By John Bowers  

Lord Wharton was appointed chair of the Office for Students in February Photo: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? So asked Juvenal in Satire 6; “But who will keep guard on the guards?”

Since the mid-1990s it has been Lord Nolan who has kept guard on the guards, both during his life and, after he died, through his legacy. He was a member of the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords and the first chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, which produced the so-called “Nolan Principles.” This august body was set up largely as a reaction to the cash-for-questions scandal which plagued the Major government, one of several “sleazy”…

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