Special advisers in the United Kingdom

A special adviser, sometimes known as a SpAd or spad, works in a supporting role to the British government. With media, political or policy expertise, their duty is to assist and advise government ministers.


Special advisers are paid by central government and are styled as so-called "temporary civil servants" appointed under Article 3 of the Civil Service Order in Council 1995. [cite web|url=http://www.civilservicecommissioners.org/web-resources/resources/a6831c096d4.pdf|title=Civil Service Order in Council 1995|accessdate=2008-03-10|publisher=Civil Service Commissioners] They contrast with "permanent" civil servants in the respect that they are political appointees whose loyalties are claimed by the governing party and often particular ministers with whom they have a close relationship. For this reason, advisors may resign when a general election is called to campaign on behalf of their party. [cite web|url=http://www.red-star-research.org.uk/subframe4.html|title=Special advisors|accessdate=2008-03-10|publisher=Red Star Research] Special advisers have sometimes been criticised for engaging in campaigning activity while still on the government payroll. [cite web|url=http://www.order-order.com/2007/05/shop-spad-maguire-grasses-blears-spad.html|title=Shop-a-SpAd : Maguire Grasses Blears' SpAd|accessdate=2008-03-10|publisher=Guido Fawkes blog]

Code of conduct

Advisers are governed by a code of conduct which goes some way to defining their role and delineates relations with the permanent civil service, contact with the media and relationship with the governing party, inter alia:

Former special advisers

Some former special advisers, such as Ed Balls, James Purnell, Ed Milliband and David Milliband, go on to become Members of Parliament or, like Lady Vadera, are given a peerage in order that they may take up a ministerial post. A large number have also gone on to accept lucrative jobs in the private sector. Other famous special advisers include former Director of Communications and Strategy Alastair Campbell and Jo Moore, who was embroiled in scandal while working as advisor to the Transport, Local Government and Regions Secretary Stephen Byers.

Number and cost of special advisers

There is no legal limit on the number of special advisers, although the current total is less than it was under Tony Blair. The government had previously accepted calls, made in 2000 by the Neill Committee on Standards in Public Life, for such a legal cap. By 2002, however, the government had altered its position, saying in response to the Wicks Committee report on standards in public life that "the Government does not believe that the issue of special advisers can be considered as a numerical issue. The issue is about being transparent about accountability, roles and responsibilities and numbers".cite web|url=http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/notes/snpc-03813.pdf|title= Special advisers|author=Oonagh Gay|accessdate=2008-03-11|publisher=House of Commons Library Parliament and Constitution Centre] At the last full reporting the government had 68 such personnel in its employment, 18 of whom worked in 10 Downing Street. [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm071122/wmstext/71122m0002.htm#07112240000024 Numbers and Cost of Special Advisers] , written statement by Gordon Brown, 22 Nov 2007 : Column 147WS, Hansard] Special advisors may be paid up to £137,400, although no current advisor is paid more than £102,918 and the majority earn less than £66,708. The total cost of special advisers in 2006-07 was £5.9 million.

Current special advisers

Office of the Prime Minister

*Dan Corry - Head of Policy Unit
*Gavin Kelly - Deputy Chief of Staff
*David Muir - Director of Political Strategy
*Sue Nye - Director of Government Relations
*Justin Forsyth - adviser to the Prime Minister on political press issues
*Joe Irvine - Political Secretary to the Prime Minister

*Theo Bertram
*Konrad Caulkett (p-t)
*Matt Cavanagh
*Jo Dipple
*Michael Jacobs
*Patrick Loughran
*Geoffrey Norris
*Nick Pearce
*Lisa Perrin
*Stewart Wood
*Damian McBride
*Nicola Burdett

Other ministers

Gordon Brown released a [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm071122/wmstext/71122m0002.htm#07112240000024 full list] of special advisers as of 22 November 2007.

External links

* [http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/notes/snpc-03813.pdf Special advisers] - House of Commons Library research note SN/PC/03813, Oonagh Gay, Last updated 26 November 2007
* [http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/special_advisers/code/code.aspx Code of Conduct for Special Advisors] , Cabinet Office, accessed 10 March 2008
* [http://www.civilservant.org.uk/spads.shtml Special Advisers - What are they?] , accessed 10 March 2008, civilservant.org.uk
* [http://www.order-order.com/search/label/SpAd Posts tagged with 'SpAd'] , Guido Fawkes' blog


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nuclear weapons and the United Kingdom — United Kingdom Nuclear program start date 10 April 1940 First nuclear weapon test 2 October 1952 First fusion weapon test …   Wikipedia

  • Nuclear power in the United Kingdom — United Kingdom energy related articles Government energy policy Energy use and conservation Nuclear power Solar power Wind power Energy efficiency in …   Wikipedia

  • Royal Households of the United Kingdom — The Royal Households of the United Kingdom are the organised offices and support systems for the British Royal Family, along with their immediate (royal) families. Alongside The Royal Household, which supports the Sovereign, each member of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom — For the ship, see RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 Infobox British Royalty|majesty name = Elizabeth II title = Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms imgw = 220 caption = Elizabeth II in 2007 reign = 6 February 1952 – present (age in… …   Wikipedia

  • Prime Minister of the United Kingdom — Infobox minister office border = parliamentary minister = prime title = Prime Minister jurisdiction = the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland incumbent = Gordon Brown tookoffice = 27 June 2007 appointed by = Elizabeth II monarch …   Wikipedia

  • Monarchy of the United Kingdom — This article is about the monarchy of the United Kingdom. For information on the other countries which share the same person as monarch, see Commonwealth realm. For the current Queen of the United Kingdom, see Elizabeth II. British sovereign… …   Wikipedia

  • List of Statutory Instruments of the United Kingdom, 2007 — This is an incomplete list of Statutory Instruments of the United Kingdom in 2007. NOTOC 1 100* Cider and Perry and Wine and Made wine (Amendment) Regulations 2007 S.I. 2007/4 * Customs and Excise (Personal Reliefs for Special Visitors)… …   Wikipedia

  • United Kingdom — a kingdom in NW Europe, consisting of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: formerly comprising Great Britain and Ireland 1801 1922. 58,610,182; 94,242 sq. mi. (244,100 sq. km). Cap.: London. Abbr.: U.K. Official name, United Kingdom of Great… …   Universalium

  • Ministerial Code (United Kingdom) — UK government titles Secretary of State Minister of State Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Parliamentary Priva …   Wikipedia

  • Politics of the United States — United States This article is part of the series: Politics and government of the United States …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.