Spads, or ‘special advisers’, are unelected and offer political advice to ministers, according to party policies.
It is wrong to give them power over civil servants because they have no democratic mandate to order public servants around.
This is another nail in the coffin of the UK’s democracy – a democracy that, it seems, the Conservative Government is determined to bury before the next general election.
This Blog strongly advises all civil servants of any rank to refuse any instructions given to them by spads – on the grounds that spads have no democratically-conferred mandate to take political power.
Special advisers will be allowed to issue instructions to civil servants and get involved in political campaigns under a new code of conduct issued by the government.
The changes have been criticised for giving potential for conflict in Whitehall, and for being imposed without wider consultation.
Special advisors, known as Spads, work in government departments as the personal appointees of ministers, giving them political and presentational advice that impartial civil servants are not allowed to give.
The new code of conduct was issued last week with little fanfare. It says special advisers can now “convey to officials ministers’ views, instructions and priorities, including on issues of presentation”. The word “instructions” has been added since the 2010 version.
Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative chair of the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, said the changes could lead to further conflict between ministers and civil servants.
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