HC Deb 03 May 2001 vol 367 cc706-7W
Maria Eagle

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who has been appointed as the next HM chief inspector of prisons; and if he will make a statement. [160596]

Mr. Straw

Recruitment for the post of Her Majesty's chief inspector of prisons has been run under Commissioner for Public Appointments guidelines following advertisements in the national press. The choice of candidates has been guided by an advisory panel including two independent assessors. As we announced on 6 April 2001,Official Report, column 357W, these were Baroness Stern, former director of the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders and now senior research fellow at the international centre for prison studies, and Lord Laming, former chief inspector of the social services inspectorate and author of the report "Modernising the Management of the Prison Service".

From the candidates selected by the advisory panel, I have recommended that Her Majesty the Queen should appoint Ms Anne Owers CBE, the director of the non-governmental organisation JUSTICE, as the next Her Majesty's chief inspector of prisons. Her Majesty has consented to this appointment.

I am delighted that Ms Owers has accepted the appointment, which takes effect from 1 August this year. I am confident she will uphold the high standards of integrity, rigour and independence we expect from the inspection of this key public service.