The Institute for Government's report studies the role of parliament in the process of making major public appointments such as the Governor of the Bank of England, the Chair of the BBC Trust and the Chief Inspector of Schools.
Based on over 30 interviews with MPs, officials and experts, it sets out a package of 15 recommendations for reform of the current systems, proposing in particular an "effective veto power" of around 25 top-tier public appointments.
Balancing Act proposes that if a select committee has concerns about a government appointment, the minister should be required to appear in front of them to explain his or her decision. If still dissatisfied, the committee could then refer the issue to the House for resolution.
We also suggest that committees should be consulted over the job specifications of major public jobs before the recruitment process commences, and that they should be given the opportunity to question nominees for chairs of major public inquiries.
Launching the report, the Institute's Director, Andrew Adonis, said, "The credibility and authority of these positions depends on their distance from ministers. In a parliamentary democracy, effective parliamentary scrutiny and accountability are vital to the legitimacy of government. Our proposals, which build on existing good practice, will serve to enhance that legitimacy."