The Home Office has announced the appointment of 5 non-executive directors to the board of the Serious Organised Crime Agency, which is headed up by the Chair Sir Stephen Lander and Director General Bill Hughes and ex-MI5 and ex-MI6 people like David Bolt and Paul Evans (presumably they are Executive Directors).
"ELIZABETH FRANCE CBE
Present role: Telecommunications Ombudsman
In a very distinguished public sector career, Elizabeth joined the Home Office in 1971, rising to Assistant Secretary and Head of the Information and Pay Services Division, before leaving in 1994 to become Data Protection Registrar. That role changed to become the Information Commissioner when Freedom of Information was added to the responsibilities. Since 2002 she has been the UK's first Telecommunications Ombudsman. She has also just completed six years as a member of the Committee for the Control of Interpol Files. Elizabeth is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a graduate in politics of the University Wales, Aberystwyth (where she is now a fellow). She has honorary doctorates from the Universities of De Montfort, Loughborough and Bradford and was awarded a CBE in recognition of her achievements in the field of data protection in 2002.
KEN JARROLD CBE
Ken is former Chief Executive County Durham and Tees Valley Strategic Health Authority, and is also the former Chair of the Drugs Action Team for Durham. He was formerly Director of Human Resources (and Deputy to the Chief Executive) for the NHS in England, and Chief Executive of the Wessex Regional Health Authority. Ken joined the NHS in 1969 from Cambridge University, and has maintained a career long interest in education and training; he led the development of the Code of Conduct for NHS managers. Among many other areas of interest Ken served on the NHS National Task Force on Corporate Governance. He is also an Honorary Visiting Professor at the Universities of York and Durham and Honorary Doctor of the Open University.
Currently: Chief Executive, The Law Society
As Chief Executive of the Law Society since 2000, Janet is responsible for managing the organisation and has led a radical shake-up of its governance and systems to restore its credibility as a front line regulator for solicitors. Janet's previous appointment was Director for Englandfor the National lottery Charities Commission where she set up and ran the England operation awarding more than £1.5bn to voluntary organisations. Her earlier appointments include the Chief Executive of the National Youth Agency and as a non executive director of a community NHS Trust. She has also served as a member of the Youth Justice Board, as a magistrate, and been a council member for ChildLine.
General Sir ROGER WHEELER GCB CBE
Currently: Constable HM Tower of London
General Sir Roger Wheeler was Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the Army, for three years from 1997 to 2000, prior to which as Commander in Chief Land Forces he was Joint Commander of the UK's forces deployed on NATO operations in Bosnia. Earlier appointments included Director of Military Operations in Northern Ireland. He became a non-executive director of Thales UK PLC in 2001 and Chairman of Thales Air Defence in 2003. He takes an active interest, and holds appointments in, a number of ex-service charities welfare organisations and is a patron of the Police Foundation. He is also a Trustee of the Historic Royal Palaces and of the Royal Armouries.
Currently: KPMG - International Chair Corporate Finance
Appointed as Chair of Corporate Finance in 2002 to add to his role as Global Head of Risk and Compliance, Stephen advises multi-national corporations at the most senior levels on corporate finance matters. He is responsible for the governance, risk, and regulatory ethical and professional practice of KPMG's corporate finance function employing over 2,000 staff in 50 countries. Stephen initially qualified as a solicitor and then gained experience in corporate sales, mergers and acquisitions from legal, banking and financial perspectives. As a Fellow of the Compliance Institute and Fellow of the Securities and Investment Institute."
What exactly is the role of such non-executive directors in running the Serious Organised Crime Agency ? How much power do they really have, compared with that of, say the Home Secretary ?
Remember that unlike any of the main 43 Police Forces, there is no independent "civilian" equivalent of a Police Authority to questiona and check the policies, priorities and budgets of SOCA, it is the creature of the Home Secretary, who could be tempted to meddle and politically micro-manage the organisation.