Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee

ACoBA and Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Report published on 24 April.

Advisory Committee on Business Appointments

Report published

The report notes that ACoBA, in its current form, is a toothless regulator which has failed to change the environment around business appointments. There are numerous loopholes, including, for example, civil servants at lower levels who have responsibility for commercial management. These more junior civil servants are not regulated by ACoBA, only by Government Departments, who are required to publish summary information on the advice and restrictions imposed on their former civil servants.

The Cabinet Office must publish aggregated data on all applications by members of the Senior Civil Service below SCS3, and the departmental decisions made on them, showing proportions approved without conditions, and, in the case of conditionality, the categories of decisions made.

The data must also cover Executive Agencies. Publication should allow public scrutiny of practice across individual departments and Executive Agencies. The Government’s response on this issue was inadequate. All of the above data should be aggregated and available on the ACoBA website.

The Government must take steps to ensure that the ACoBA system is improved swiftly. In the long term, failure do so will lead to an even greater decline in public trust in our democracy and our Government.

Terms of Reference: Role and effectiveness of ACoBA and independent adviser on ministers’ interests

Publications

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