Minister for Women & Equalities Nicky Morgan has confirmed her decision to appoint Pinsent Masons partner David Isaac as the new chair of the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC), despite concerns expressed by two parliamentary committees over possible conflict of interest.
At the same time Professor Lesley Sawers of Glasgow Caledonian University has been named as Scotland commissioner to the EHRC.
Mr Isaacs, a former chair of the gay rights organisation Stonewall, was regarded as well qualified personally for the EHRC role, but concerns arose over his remaining an equity partner at Pinsent Masons, given the extent of its fee-earning work for the Government, including in relation to policy development (click here for report).
Replying to the committee chairs, Harriet Harman and Maria Miller, Ms Morgan said Mr Isaac had decided to put in place arrangements to ensure that he did not receive profit as an equity partner from work conducted by Pinsent Masons on behalf of the Government, while he held the EHRC role. He would also not be involved in aspect of advising Government clients. "I am sure you will agree that this addresses issues raised by the committee, ensuring that any potential or perceived conflict of interest is fully and satisfactorily dealt with", she added.
Mr Isaacs has supported a number of other charities woking in the area and is also involved in driving diversity in the City of London, with a track record for delivering change management programmes.
Professor Sawers also has a record in equality related issues and most recently led on the review of women’s contribution to Scotland's economy. Prior to joining the university in 2013, with a role to support its UK and international business activities, she was chief executive of the Scottish Council for Development & Industry, and before that of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.