Select Committee on Public Administration Fourth Report

Annex 1

Letter from the Clerk of the Committee of 20 July 2000 to all Government Departments

The Committee are currently inquiring into the role of special advisers to Ministers and the part they play in the government machine.

The Committee note the evidence of Professor Anthony King on 12 July that 'we know a fair amount about how many there are in government at the moment and we know a good deal about what they are paid, but I do not think we know enough about who they are, their educational background, their career histories'. Professor King also felt that not enough was known about the work they are currently doing, saying 'is it true, as is sometimes alleged, that some part-time special advisers are taking advantage in the rest of their time of knowledge and contacts gained as special advisers? Is it the case that special advisers are spending their time on party political matters at the tax-payer's expense?'

The Committee understand that there are two special advisers working in your Department, namely x and y. Would you be able to let the Committee know in respect of each his or her age, educational background and career history. Since it appears to the Committee that there are several distinct types of special adviser it would also be useful to know if they are technical experts or political advisers in a party sense.

Alda Barry, Clerk to the Committee
20 July 2000

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