Unelected ‘spads’ have no right to order civil servants around. To do that, they must win an election

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.

Source: Controversial powers ushered in for ministers’ advisers | Politics | The Guardian

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9 thoughts on “Unelected ‘spads’ have no right to order civil servants around. To do that, they must win an election

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      So? Two wrongs don’t make a right, and anything Blair did cannot be used to justify the actions of the current government.

  1. Dez

    So who pays and appoints this extra layer of unelected toedy spads? Are they privatising the civil service? Sounds like they are doing what the ministers should be doing so why are we paying for ministers if they are not up to the job…perhaps ministers want to spend their time earning extra money doing other jobs or attending lobbying meetings with the blue chips to do what big business wants them to do eg ignoring common sense in reducing the huge amount of sugar in food and drink; preventing GMO incipients being recorded on produce etc etc etc…

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Ministers pay and appoint spads.
      They used to be nothing to do with the civil service. Now they have been given power over civil servants – undemocratically and illegally, in my opinion.

  2. chris

    they will never be able to bury our democracy before the next general election thanks to Labour 🙂

  3. Giri Arulampalam

    SPADS(or Special Advisors) are appointed in recognition of their expertise in their chosen fields. They are not supposed to be professional bullies!

Comments are closed.