Usha Prashar, Baroness Prashar

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Usha Kumari Prashar, Baroness Prashar, CBE, PC (born 29 June 1948) is a Cross Bench member of the House of Lords. Since the 1970s, she has served as a director or chairman of a variety of public and private sector organisations. She was appointed as chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission in September 2005.

Born in Kenya, she came to Yorkshire with her father Naurhia Lal Prashar and family in the 1960s. She was educated at the independent Wakefield Girls' High School, becoming head girl in 1967. Prashar read Politics at Leeds University, graduating in 1970 with the degree of BA, after which she undertook postgraduate studies in Social Administration at the University of Glasgow.

Lady Prashar was a director of the Runnymede Trust from 1976 to 1984, a Fellow with the Policy Studies Institute from 1984 to 1986, and a director of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations from 1986 to 1991. She was executive chairman of the Parole Board of England and Wales from October 1997 to October 2000. Having been appointed a Civil Service Commissioner in 1990, she was First Civil Service Commissioner from August 2000 to 2005. Lady Prashar was chairman of the National Literacy Trust from 2001 to 2005. She is also a governor of the Ditchley Foundation, which organises conferences at its stately home in Oxfordshire.[1] Lady Prashar is a trustee of Cumberland Lodge, an educational charity initiating fresh debate on the burning questions facing society.[2]

Lady Prashar was a non-executive director of Channel Four Television Corporation from 1992 to 1999, of UNITE Group plc from 2001 to 2004, and became a non-executive director of ITV plc in February 2005. She became a governor of De Montfort University in 1996, and became its Chancellor in 2001. She was appointed a Trustee of the BBC World Service Trust in 2002, and is President of the Royal Commonwealth Society. She is deputy chair of the British Council.[3]

She was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1995 New Year Honours,[4] and was made a Life Peer on 15 July 1999 as Baroness Prashar, of Runnymede, in the County of Surrey.[5]

From July 2009, Baroness Prashar served on the Iraq Inquiry.

She is the Honorary President of UK Community Foundations (UKCF), the umbrella organisation for all community foundations, providing philanthropic advice to clients and delivering UK-wide grant-making programmes.


Baroness Prashar is a member of the International Trade Council[6]


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