Why did DCMS go against usual practice to appoint BBC Trust Chair?

I have been trying to obtain information from the Department of Culture Media and Sport about their recruitment process last year for the post of Chair of the BBC Trust. The post went to HSBC director Rona Fairhead, who has no previous broadcast experience. In the event the recruitment contract went to Saxton Bampfylde, headhunters where the BBC Director General’s wife, Cynthia Hall is a partner.

As I have blogged, I believe the appointment is fundamentally corrupt, and probably unlawful, and I have asked the CMS Select Committee to investigate. They have not responded.

I sent my first Freedom of Information Act request on 15 September. I have yet to see any evidence that the executive search procurement was done by invitation to tender, as required by government rules for procurements over £10,000. On 16 October  I was sent this, in an email:Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 09.41.28 Having been unable find the document on Contracts Finder or the CCS Executive Search Dynamic Purchasing System I asked the DCMS for direct links to the tender documents. Yesterday they sent this, in an email:

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 09.35.47

So the DCMS are saying that “on this occasion” they did not follow their “current policy”. Why?

I have now made a further request for details of the 8 suppliers alleged to have been approached directly. The response will be posted on my blog.