New Lottery watchdog to supplant axed Oflot

Oflot, the much-maligned National Lottery regulator, is to be scrapped and replaced by the new National Lottery Commission on April 1.

The newly structured watchdog will attempt to distance itself from the controversy that surrounded Oflot, and its connections with allegations of corruption and favours linked to G-Tech, a former member of operating consortium Camelot.

The new body – with five commissioners rather than one director general – will choose which company runs the National Lottery between 2001 and 2008. Invitations to apply for the licence go out at the end of this year, and the appointment will be made at the end of next year.

Culture secretary Chris Smith has named the commissioners. They are: former Conservative junior minister Robin Squire; feminist and former Virago Press boss Harriet Spicer; Citizen’s Advice Bureaux chief Dame Helena Shovelton; founder and director of the Charities Advisory Trust Hilary Blume; and Brian Pomeroy, senior partner at Deloitte & Touche consulting group and chairman of homeless charity Centrepoint. They will choose one of their number to be chairman, on a salary of 84,275. A chief executive has yet to be appointed.

The new commissioners may look more kindly on a not-for-profit application to run the Lottery, rather than reappointing Camelot, which has been accused of making excess profits. But they are still obliged to appoint the operator offering the greatest returns to charity.

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