Working to make government more effective


In defence of special advisers: Lessons from personal experience

The life of a special adviser and how the role might be made more effective.

Aerial view of Whitehall

This report by Nick Hillman, former special adviser to David Willetts, attempts to explain the job of a departmental special adviser. Based upon the author's experiences in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills it provides an up-to-date outline of the life of a special adviser and considers important issues such as the balance between political and civil service roles, preparation and training, and accountability.

It makes a number of suggestions on how the role might be made more effective, including: introducing formal training, providing a clearer salary scale, clarifying the boundaries of the role, avoiding arbitrary number caps and creating a champion for special advisers to make the case for their role in the way Britain is governed.

Institute for Government

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