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In August, the Conservative Peer Dido Harding was appointed as Head of the National Institute for Health Protection. The wife of a Conservative MP and friend of former Prime Minister David Cameron, Dido Harding didn’t pip other candidates to the post at the interview. There weren’t any other candidates. She was just handed the job.
She’s not the only one to land a top job this way. 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. That’s why, along with the Runnymede Trust, Good Law Project is 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. You can see our Pre Action Protocol letter here. The challenge will be crowdfunded. You can make a donation here.
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.
It is only with your support that we can continue to hold Government to account. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here.