Business appointment rules for ministers

Former ministers who have left the government in the last 2 years must apply to ACOBA before taking up a new appointment or role outside government.


Application form for ministers

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When you take up any new paid or unpaid appointment outside of government within 2 years of leaving ministerial office, you must apply for advice from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA).

This is set out in the Ministerial Code, and the departure letter each former Minister receives from their Permanent Secretary.

The purpose of the rules is to avoid:

  • any suspicion that an appointment might be a reward for past favours
  • the risk that an employer might gain an improper advantage by appointing a former official who holds information about its competitors, or about impending government policy
  • the risk of a former official or minister improperly exploiting privileged access to contacts in government
  • unfair questioning or criticism of the integrity of former ministers and civil servants

You also need to ensure you comply with the separate rules as set out by the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists, and the House of Commons Code of Conduct or House of Lords Code of Conduct.

There are different business appointment rules if you are a Crown servant (for example, a civil servant or part of the armed forces).

How to apply for advice from ACOBA

Read the documents above for details on how to apply to ACOBA for advice. Completed applications can be sent to

You can see the advice ACOBA have given to former Ministers wishing to take up new roles.

Early stage advice

You can put in a speculative application as long as you’re able to provide enough information about the position you’re hoping to take up. ACOBA can consider your application even if a formal offer of employment hasn’t been made.

You can also seek guidance from ACOBA if you’re exploring potential employment areas and want a better idea of what restrictions may be imposed.

Contact ACOBA

You can contact ACOBA via:

Updates to this page

Published 21 December 2016

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