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.

Role

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

References


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