Independent report

Defining the boundaries within the Executive: Ministers, Special Advisers and the permanent Civil Service

The ninth report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, published April 2003

Documents

Ninth Report – Defining The Boundaries within the Executive: Ministers, Special Advisers and the permanent Civil Service - Full Report

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Ninth Report – Defining The Boundaries within the Executive: Ministers, Special Advisers and the permanent Civil Service - Summary

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Detail

Following its examination of implementation of earlier recommendations on standards in the House of Commons, the Committee’s Ninth Report focussed its attention on implementation of the other areas of public life covered by the First Report – Ministers, civil servants and special advisers. The report reviewed the implementation of the relevant recommendations in the First and Sixth Reports, taking account of the need to “examine current concerns”, and also of recent developments within the Executive.

The report made 34 recommendations designed primarily to clarify the definitions and secure the maintenance of boundaries within the Executive. Key recommendations included:

a short Act (introduced after public consultation on the Bill) to define the civil service and special advisers in legislation rather than through Orders in Council – a series of recommendations set out the proposed elements of such an Act; an independent office-holder – the Adviser on Ministerial Interests – to provide advice to Ministers on compliance with the relevant sections of the Ministerial Code; the nomination of two or three senior individuals who the Prime Minister could invite to conduct an investigation into allegations of a breach of the Ministerial Code. The individual selected would report their findings to the Prime Minister, and their report would be published; the establishment of special advisers as a defined category of government servant distinct from the Civil Service; the same investigative mechanism to apply to allegations of breaches of the relevant Code by special advisers; the need for Parliamentary debate and agreement on the existence of any special adviser posts with executive powers.