The government is today (21 May 2010) publishing 3 documents to ensure greater accountability and transparency for ministers.
The ‘Ministerial code’ published by the Prime Minister sets out the standards of conduct expected of ministers. In particular, it bars former ministers from lobbying government for 2 years; tightens controls on government cars and numbers of special advisers; and requires the regular publication of ministerial meetings, hospitality, gifts and travel
The list of Cabinet committees - shows the membership of each committee and shows a significant reduction in the total number of committees. It includes a coalition committee to ensure the smooth working of the coalition and resolve any disputes. Each committee has a chair from one party and a deputy chair from the other party who can remit an issue to the coalition committee
The ‘Coalition agreement for stability and reform’ sets out the practical and operational arrangements for how the parties will work together in coalition: how policy will be commissioned and agreed; how appointments will be made and the principles of collective responsibility
The ‘Ministerial code’ covers all aspects of ministerial life from access to official papers and appointments to the use of government resources and the handling of ministers’ private interests:
- Former ministers will be barred from lobbying government for 2 years
- Ministers’ decisions should not be influenced by the hope or expectation of future employment with a particular firm or organisation
- Gifts received and given by ministers above a certain value will be published on a quarterly basis
- Hospitality received by ministers will be published on a quarterly basis
- Ministers’ meetings with external organisations will also be published quarterly
- All ministers’ travel overseas will be published
- The number of special advisers will be reduced
- Tighter controls on the use of official cars - including the code stating that whenever practicable ministers should use public transport
- The code provides for non-executive directors largely drawn from the commercial private sector to join the boards of government departments
- Ministers who occupy an official residence, including the Prime Minister, will not be able to get the accommodation allowance that MPs can claim from Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA)
The documents are published on the Cabinet Office website
Notes to editors
Previously, ministers were only required to publish hospitality valued at over £140. Overseas travel was previously only published annually and for travel costing more than £500 per trip.
At present there are in the region of 80 cars allocated to ministers at a cost of £10 million for 2009 to 2010.