The NHS Appointments Commission breached the code of openness and transparency in its controversial appointment of a chair for NHS London.
A ruling from the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments ruled that an information pack for candidates did not make clear that those with experience of the public, private and voluntary sectors would have an advantage over those with experience of only one sector.
There were also a large number of 'unintentional errors in the record-keeping' which made it difficult to follow the audit trail.
However, OCPA commissioner Janet Gaymer said she found no evidence of any breach of equal opportunities or political bias in the process that led to the appointment of Dr George Greener.
The investigation came after a complaint from Lord Harris of Haringey, who failed to reach the shortlist for the London SHA chair and used the Freedom of Information Act to ask about the process.
Appointments Commission chief executive Roger Moore told HSJ that he had apologised to Lord Harris. It is the second time this year Mr Moore has had to say sorry to an unsuccessful candidate. In August 2006 he apologised to former primary care trust chair Michael Lynch over comments recorded in his assessment for a new PCT chair job.