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Tuesday, 11 September, 2001, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
The Nolan rules explained
The Committee for Standards of Public Life
The Committee is now chaired by Sir Nigel Wicks
The appointment of the BBC's chairman takes place under the Nolan rules.

These rules were established by a Committee on Standards in Public Life, chaired by Lord Nolan, a distinguished judge.

Then prime minister, John Major, appointed the committee in 1994 in the wake of the cash-for-questions scandal.

Lord Nolan
Lord Nolan retired in November 1997
The idea was to address "sleaze" in public life by establishing a code whereby public figures could measure their behaviour and that of their peers.

The committee specifically looked at the practices of those who serve the public including MPs, civil servants and appointees to non-departmental public bodies such as the BBC.

The principles that should underpin the appointment of a chairman for the BBC are those of fairness and transparency.

Independent

These principles have already been put into action.

The post was advertised publicly for the first time, as the Nolan rules recommend that organisations should use as many methods as possible to find suitable candidates.

The shortlist is compiled or overseen by committees with independent members.

At the next stage of the process, candidates should normally be interviewed either by the advisory panel or by ministers or senior officials.

All final appointments should then be announced through press notices.

Lord Neill
Lord Neill is a distinguished lawyer and academic
From its outset the Nolan committee established seven general principles that should govern public life.

Those principles are selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

Lord Neill of Bladen succeeded Lord Nolan to the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

The emphasis of the committee's work then switched away from the misdeeds of individual MPs and towards the influence and power wielded by special advisors who have privileged access to ministers.

The current chair of the committee is Sir Neil Wicks, who was a private secretary to Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan in Downing Street.

The committee has no powers to investigate individual allegations of misconduct.

See also:

28 Jun 01 | UK Politics
Anti-sleaze investigator 'must go'
11 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
Politics 'no place in BBC chairman race'
28 Feb 01 | UK Politics
New sleaze watchdog named
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