Following the appointment and resignation of Toby Young for the Office for Students (OFS) the MP for Brighton Kemptown, Lloyd Russell-Moyle decided to ask a question of the Government. It went like this:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many people were identified as suitable for appointment in the recruitment process for the board of the Office for Students but were not appointed.”
The answer which came back from the Government initially on the 11th of January was that they did not have the data to hand! This is in itself rather concerning. However on 15th January Sam Gyimah, the MP for East Surrey and also Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Higher Education) responded with the following information:
“Two parallel open recruitment campaigns were held in the second half of 2017; one for Office for Students (OfS) board members, and a second specifically for a student experience board member. The campaign generated 221 applications for the non-executive board member positions. 11 candidates were shortlisted for interview for the non-executive board member positions. Ten interviews were held as one candidate did not attend the interview. All ten candidates were deemed appointable for the non-executive board member positions. Ministers chose to appoint five candidates from the ten non-executive campaign and therefore five candidates were not appointed. Ministers then chose to make an interim appointment of one of the successful candidates appointed to the OfS Student Panel onto the OfS Board and will re-run a campaign for a permanent student representative on the OfS Board later in the year.”
In the light of this information it seems entirely sensible for the Government to make an appointment from the list of the 5 unsuccessful candidates, assuming that at least one of them is willing to be appointed. However it seems vital to me that they select either another student or someone who represents the SME sector of employers, bearing in mind that all six are supposed to represent employers or students.