Rob Wilson, minister for civil society
Rob Wilson, the former minister for civil society, has been interviewed for the role of chair of the Charity Commission, according to a report in the Sunday Times.
Wilson served as minister for civil society from September 2014 to June 2017, when he lost his seat in the general election.
The Sunday Times reports that he is in the running to succeed the current chair of the regulator, William Shawcross, who will step down at the end of the year after five years in the role. The Sunday Times does not give a source for the information.
The new chair will be chosen through a process overseen by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, where Wilson was a minister, and must be approved by the culture secretary, Wilson’s former boss. His successor as minister for civil society, Tracey Crouch, is also likely to have an influence over who will be chosen.
If Wilson was chosen he would be a controversial choice for a role which is supposed to be non-party political. It would not be the first time that the position of chair of the Commission has been mired in controversy. Both the current incumbent, Shawcross, and his predecessor, Dame Suzi Leather, were seen as having strong political links.
NCVO has previously called for reform of the process, and published a series of recommendations to make the process non-political.
Since the story broke, Wilson has since deleted all tweets from his Twitter timeline. A number of his tweets were described as “robustly partisan” by Karl Wilding, director of public policy and volunteering at NCVO. Wilding said they “would sit uncomfortably if he is to chair a quasi-judicial body”.
Wilson has been a strong advocate for the regulator, and wrote earlier this year that the sector should “Back the Charity Commission through thick and thin”.