Probation chief Paul McDowell resigns over 'perceived' conflict of interest

4 February 2015

The chief inspector of Probation for England and Wales has resigned from his position due to a perceived conflict of interest.

Paul McDowell has taken the decision due to a perceived conflict of interest over his wife’s senior role with Sodexo, which is a provider of probation services.

McDowell said it was “imperative that any inspectorate is independent and seen to be so”.

A statement from McDowell said: “Although we have measures in place to manage any conflicts of interest, and I would always carry out my duties without fear or favour, it is clear that a perception of conflict around my post remains. It is therefore right that I resign.”

In a written statement Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “I have considered carefully all of the potential mechanisms and systems that could be introduced and used to manage any actual or perceived conflict of interest. However Mr McDowell has decided that, in the circumstances, he will resign.

“Throughout this process Mr McDowell has acted with utter transparency and professionalism.”

He added: “At time of his appointment Mr McDowell’s position was fully reasonable and the appropriate pre-appointment processes in place at that time were properly followed. The Justice Select Committee will be involved in the appointment of a permanent successor in the usual way.”

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