The Constitution Unit


Public Appointments: Two Years on from Grimstone- Finding the Right People to Run Public Bodies

21 February 2019

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Dame Sue Owen is Permanent Secretary at Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. She joined the Civil Service in 1989 as an economic adviser, and has worked in the Treasury, FCO, No 10, DfID and DWP, before becoming Permanent Secretary at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in 2013. 

Rt Hon Peter Riddell is Commissioner for Public Appointments. From 1991 to 2010, he was a political commentator for The Times. He has been a member of the Hansard Society council since 1996 and was its chair from 2007 until 2012. He was a senior fellow at the Institute for Government from 2008 until 2011, and from January 2012 to 2016 he was director of the Institute for Government. On 20 April 2016, the Cabinet Office announced that Riddell would replace Sir David Normington as the new Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Sue Owen spoke about the challenges of making public appointments to 45 public bodies in the fields of culture, media and sport, drawing on her five years’ experience as Permanent Secretary at DCMS.  Peter Riddell reflected on how the system of public appointments has developed in the light of the Grimstone review of spring 2016, and discussed his role as an advocate for greater diversity in appointments.