July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector
Nick Hardwick today took up the post of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons, succeeding Dame Anne Owers DBE. Attending an unannounced inspection at HMP Holme House in Teesside, Nick Hardwick said:
"It is a great honour to be taking over as HM Chief Inspector of Prisons from Dame Anne Owers today. Under her leadership and that of her predecessor, Lord Ramsbotham, the Prisons Inspectorate has established a world wide reputation for its work. It is a daunting act to follow.
"The Inspectorate itself in very good shape but the environment in which we operate has become much more challenging. The seemingly irresistible force of rising prison numbers meeting the immovable object of reduced resources risks crushing prison standards between them and mean very difficult choices have to be made.
"The Inspectorate is productive and effective and I will ensure that we continue to fulfil our primary duty of ensuring our inspections provide Ministers and the wider public with the authoritative, independent and principled evidence on which to make and assess those choices.
Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice said:
"I am pleased to welcome Nick Hardwick as the new HM Chief Inspector of Prisons. His experience as Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission sets him in good stead to undertake this important role.
"I would like to thank Dame Anne Owers DBE for the outstanding contributions she has made over the past nine years in improving the organisations she has inspected. The progress she has made leaves the Inspectorate in great shape. As the new Minister for Prisons I look forward to working with Nick to build on the good work of his predecessor in shedding light on an area of real public interest and concern."
Nick Hardwick was identified following a rigorous and open selection process, which took into account the Commissioner for Public Appointment’s Code of Practice as best practice.
Nick Hardwick was previously the first Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission from 2003 to 2010. His earlier career was in the voluntary sector, where he began working with young offenders for NACRO (The National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders.
From 1986 to 1995 he worked as Chief Executive of Centrepoint – a charity and housing association for young homeless people. He was the Chief Executive of the Refugee Council from 1995 to 2003. He is currently chair of the Housing Ombudsman Service and a trustee of New Horizon Youth Centre. Nick has a BA (Hons) from Hull University in English Literature and has an Honorary Doctorate in Social Sciences from the University of Wolverhampton. He was awarded a CBE in 2010.
HM Chief Inspector is a Crown Appointment and reports to the Justice Secretary on the treatment of prisoners and conditions in prisons in England and Wales. HM Chief Inspector also reports to the Home Secretary on conditions and treatment in all places of immigration detention in the United Kingdom.
The post of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales was established by the Criminal Justice Act 1982, amending the Prison Act 1952.
Nick Hardwick was announced as the preferred candidate for the role of chief inspector of prisons by the Ministry of Justice on 3 March 2010. The Justice Select Committee endorsed Nick Hardwick’s appointment on 18 March 2010. The Ministry of Justice announced on 23 March 2010 that Justice Secretary Jack Straw had recommended Nick Hardwick’s appointment to HM the Queen.