House of Lords is accused of wasting money after creating a £ 33,000 bill for headhunters to find outside candidates for a new chief Clerk … before promoting the Deputy Clerk to the job due to his knowledge of ‘parliamentary procedure’
- EXC: The House of Lords spent £ 33,000 on headhunters for his role as chief clerk
- House has a long track record of internally fulfilling top positions as a procedural knowledge key
- Tory MP said paying for the lawsuit seemed pointless, suggesting it was for the show
The House of Lords was accused of wasting tax money today after spending £ 33,000 on headhunters to find candidates for the new Chief Clerk – only to promote the Deputy Clerk.
The grand bill sought to succeed Ed Ollard as Clerk of the Parliaments – a £ 192,000 role consisting of guiding colleagues through the secretive proceedings at Westminster.
Despite the costly search for outside candidates, Clerk Assistant Simon Burton was duly appointed to the post.
He started formally on April 2, with the then Lord Speaker Lord Fowler hailing him as ‘a recognized expert on parliamentary procedures’.
A Lords spokesperson defended the spending – which was revealed by MailOnline with a request for freedom of information – as the best way to identify the “strongest candidate.”
But critics said there was never any real prospect of an outside nomination, suggesting the trial might be for show.
The Lords has a long track record of internally recruiting the most senior official – not least because of the extraordinarily specialized knowledge the Clerk requires of the systems and conventions of the House.
Despite the costly search for outside candidates, Clerk Assistant Simon Burton was duly appointed to the post
The civil servant is not only the chief procedural advisor and oversees the affairs of the Chamber, but is also responsible for management and administration.
Mr Ollard himself was appointed Clerk of the Parliaments after serving as Sir David Beamish’s deputy.
Sir David was also a Clerk Assistant before he got the top job.
Tory MP Peter Bone told MailOnline: ‘The Clerk of the House, be it the Commons or the Lords, has to come through the ranks to learn … I’m not sure why you need headhunters.
“I hope it’s not that they’ve already decided who they want, but to show they’re open and inclusive, they’ve hired headhunters to pretend they’re looking for someone.”
The Lords said Mr Burton’s appointment came after an “ open and external competition that attracted a wide field of highly qualified candidates, ” with advisers Saxton Bampfylde “ backing up ” the process.
A House spokesman said headhunters had also been used to appoint Mr Ollard.
“Professional services were hired to ensure that, as in 2016, the House of Lords found the strongest candidates for such a higher position,” the spokesman said.
“This is a method that many large organizations use to fill vacancies at a high level.”
In response to an FOI request, the Lords authorities said: ‘The amount spent on advisers in relation to the appointment of the new Registrar of Parliaments was £ 33,300.00 (including VAT).
Please note that there have been a number of additional costs associated with the work carried out by Keith Leslie, who conducted an external management review at the time of the recruitment, regarding the recruitment of the new Registrar of Parliaments.
“However, it is not possible to break down the costs related to the recruitment process from the broader cost of Mr Leslie’s work for the House of Lords for the external management review.”
The Lords has a long track record of internally recruiting the most senior official – not least because of the extremely specialized knowledge the Clerk requires of the House’s systems and conventions