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Each week it seems another individual secures a role of vital public importance without any advertisement or fair process – and very often that individual has personal and political connections to Government.
Our public bodies perform vital functions. Effective Test and Trace is absolutely key to tackling the pandemic. And we need to have those bodies run by people who are the best-placed to do the job at hand, who were recruited through open competition and appointed because of what they know, not who they know.
Appointing your mates to top jobs isn’t new or the preserve of the Conservative Party: we all remember “Tony’s Cronies” too. But it’s high time we put a stop to it. This is why Runnymede Trust and Good Law Project are challenging the appointment of Dido Harding, as well as a string of other appointments which were made with seemingly no advertisement or fair recruitment process.
The judicial review raises two legal arguments:
1. Recruitment without open competition is indirect discrimination on grounds of, in particular, race and disability, contrary to the Equality Act 2010; and
2. Government appears to have breached its public sector equality duty in s. 149 of the Equality Act 2010 in filling senior public sector roles without paying due regard to the impact of its recruitment approach on those with protected characteristics.
We have instructed Jason Coppel and Hannah Slarks of 11KBW Chambers and Rook Irwin Sweeney. They will work considerably below market rates.
This Government’s approach discriminates against those born without a silver spoon in their mouth. It’s unfair to those who don’t rub shoulders with high-ranking Ministers. And it’s unfair to groups who the data shows are shut out of public life. We intend to change it.
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