The Prime Minister's Adviser on Ministers' Interests: Independent or not?
HC 1761, Twenty Second Report of Session 2010-12 - Report, Toegther with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence
- House of Commons - Public Administration Select Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
The Adviser on Ministers' Interests advises Ministers on compliance with the Ministerial Code and carries out investigations of alleged breaches of the Code when requested by the Prime Minister. 'The Prime Minister's Adviser on Ministers' Interests: Independent or not? (HC 1761)' considers the role of the Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests and concludes that role is not independent in any meaningful sense.
The report highlights the lack of independence in three areas:
the role: the independent adviser lacks independence in practice, as he is appointed personally by the Prime Minister, is supported from within the Cabinet Office, and cannot instigate his own investigations;
the appointment process: the closed process by which the adviser is appointed is not suitable for an 'independent' role; and
the choice of candidate: the choice of a recently retired senior civil servant, Sir Alex Allan, is not a suitable choice for a role which requires demonstrable independence from Government.
The Committee started the investigation after the recent resignation of the former Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox: regrettably the then Independent Adviser Sir Philip Mawer was not consulted in the course of the events leading up to the resignation of Liam Fox.
The retirement of Sir Philip shortly after the resignation of Dr Fox provided an opportunity to demonstrate the value the Prime Minister places on having complaints against Ministers investigated in a demonstrably independent way, but this opportunity was missed and the appointment of Sir Alex only became public knowledge after the event.
|Format||Paperback||Published||17 Mar 2012|
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