Dame Vera Baird has announced her "firm intention" to stand for a second term as Victims' Commissioner, as the government launches an open recruitment process.
- Government launches open recruitment process for role of Victims’ Commissioner
- In a statement, Dame Vera Baird makes clear her intention to apply for a second term
- Dame Vera: “I remain unashamedly ambitious for victims. It is my firm intention to stand for a second term as Victims’ Commissioner.”
- The role of the Commissioner will be crucial as the government brings forward its landmark reforms for victims in coming months.
The Government has today (10 March) launched the recruitment process for the role of Victims’ Commissioner.
Dame Vera Baird is the current incumbent Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales and has signalled in a statement her “firm intention” to stand for a second term.
In a public statement, Dame Vera Baird QC said:
“This is a fascinating and challenging role and one that I am privileged to hold. I was delighted to be appointed Victims’ Commissioner under Theresa May’s government almost three years ago. Much has been achieved in this time and I remain unashamedly ambitious for victims. It is my firm intention to stand for a second term as Victims’ Commissioner.”
“With the pivotal Victims’ Bill on the horizon, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to truly transform the victim’s experience of the justice system. This requires a strong, experienced and independent voice to push for the very best for victims at the highest levels of government and public debate. I am proud of my record in post and confident in my abilities to deliver for victims and I look forward to setting out my vision for victims directly to the Justice Secretary.”
June 2022 will mark the end of Dame Vera Baird’s first full term as Victims’ Commissioner. Appointees typically serve three-year terms and can serve up to two consecutive terms in total. In a break from recent precedence, Dame Vera has not been offered an automatic second term.
The recruitment process for the Victims’ Commissioner role opens today (10 March), running for a short window period of three weeks. The successful candidate is expected to take on the role in the following months.
The role of Victims’ Commissioner was first established in 2010 under the Brown government. Designed to be a non-partisan post, the officeholder is tasked with advising ministers on victims’ policy, championing victims’ interests and holding the government to account on its delivery. The role does not possess any statutory powers, but Commissioners can use their platform to advocate for change.
Dame Vera first assumed the role in June 2019. She succeeded Baroness Newlove, the previous incumbent and Conservative peer, following the conclusion of Newlove’s second and final term. Baroness Newlove was first appointed in December 2012 and reappointed without a competitive process in 2016.
Under Dame Vera’s tenure, the role of Victims’ Commissioner has secured widespread and increasing national media interest. Dame Vera has been a forceful and leading commentator on the criminal justice system’s handling of rape, highlighting failures in how it is investigated and prosecuted.
The launch of a recruitment process comes as the government’s landmark Victims’ Bill is expected to be introduced this parliamentary session.
Dame Vera has long championed a Victims’ Law, and, under her leadership, her office has conducted extensive research and engaged closely with the Ministry of Justice on what form a Victims’ Law might take. As recently as February 2022, Dame Vera prepared a detailed 98-page response to the government’s consultation and is set to meet with policy officials to discuss her proposals.
Dame Vera will not be making any further public comment at this time.
- Dame Vera Baird will not be conducting any media around this announcement at this time.
- Dame Vera Baird QC started her term as Victims’ Commissioner on 24 June 2019. Her first term is expected to conclude in late June of 2022.
- A biography of Dame Vera Baird QC can be found on the Victims’ Commissioner’s website.
- GOV.UK: Baroness Helen Newlove reappointed as Victims’ Commissioner (28 January 2016)
- GOV.UK: Extension of Baroness Newlove as Victims’ Commissioner (28 February 2019)