4 Pages


ByFrances Kirkham CBE

There may have been some, especially in government, who thought that the JAC would simply continue what the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) had been doing: that we would take over the DCA staff and adopt their procedures. There was no question of that. A completely new approach is developed. Prior to the creation of the JAC, people from non-traditional backgrounds generally considered that they would never even be considered for appointment. The JAC staff welcomed the involvement of and interest taken by Commissioners and worked hard and imaginatively to implement new processes and cope with the large numbers of applicants. The JAC's fresh approach was widely and publicly criticized, especially by those who perceived their interests to be threatened. Most of the first Commissioners were appointed for terms of either four or five years, with the intention that there would be some continuity as Commissioners completed their term of office and were replaced by new Commissioners.