Special Advisers

Inquiry status: report published on 14 October 2012, Government response published 10 July 2013

Over the term of the current Parliament, concerns have been raised about the propriety and actions of formal and informal special advisers to the Secretaries of State for Education and Defence, the Prime Minister and First Minister of the Scottish Government. In 2012, PASC carried out an inquiry on special advisers.

Following the publication of the Government Response, the Committee wrote to the Cabinet Office about Special Advisers and quasi-judicial decisions by ministers; and transparency around numbers and pay bands of special advisers.

The Chair's letter to the Cabinet Office and their response can be found in publications section below under "correspondence".



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    • Reports and associated evidence – Reports of Committee inquires. This category may also include Special Reports where they are used by a Committee to bring matters relating to conduct of its business to the notice of the House.
    • Responses to Reports - Responses may be published as a Special Report, or as a Command Paper. They may also be appended to a Report should the Committee have substantial comments on the Response, in which case they can be found listed under Reports. 
    • Other oral and written evidence - Evidence taken by the Committee that has yet to or did not result in the publication of a Report. This includes transcripts of recent meetings.
    • Estimate Memoranda - An Estimate memorandum is an explanatory note that accompanies a government department’s estimate (a means by which a department seeks authority from Parliament for its spending plans).
    • Correspondence - Correspondence sent from or received by the Committee or its Chair.