Baroness Stowell Named Preferred Candidate for Chair of Charity Commission
The Government has announced Baroness Stowell of Beeston as its preferred candidate to become the new Chair of the Charity Commission.
Baroness Stowell, a Conservative Peer and the former Leader of the House of Lords, is expected to sit before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee for her pre-appointment hearing on 20 February.
In a Tweet Baroness Stowell expressed her intention to resign her party membership and the party whip should she be appointed.
In 2011 Tina Stowell was created a Life Peer as Baroness Stowell of Beeston, of Beeston in Nottinghamshire.
Since her elevation to the peerage, Baroness Stowell has held a number of positions. She was first promoted in 2011 to Baroness-in-Waiting to the Queen. In 2013 she was promoted again to the post of Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government following her successful steering of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill through the House of Lords.
In 2014 Baroness Stowell was appointed Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal, as well as a Privy Counsellor. Through her role as Leader of the House, Baroness Stowell was able to attend Cabinet meetings.
Baroness Stowell is a trustee of The Transformation Trust charity and the Crimestoppers charity. She also sits on the boards of ABTA and Impellam Group plc.
Charity Sector reacts
The announcement has been broadly welcomed by the charity sector and commentators alike, but there are some with reservations. Some are concerned about potential political bias, and others are concerned about whether she has enough experience of the sector to take on the role.
ACEVO, the Charity Leaders Network, stated that whilst they recognised Baroness Stowell as a ‘champion of social mobility, who encourages ambition and opportunities’, they are disappointed that ‘the sector’s calls for a politically neutral commission chair have not been met.’
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) stated that they were ‘confident she will prove to be an excellent choice.’ They see her commitment to resign her party whip and membership as evidence that she will remain politically neutral.
The Charities Aid Foundation congratulated the Baroness, and said that ‘Baroness Stowell will bring to the role a wealth of experience in the sector and we at the Charities Aid Foundation look forward to working with her and continuing our strong working relationship with her colleagues at the Commission.’