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Report

The Boardman review: What the review into standards in public life got right – and what it missed

The Boardman review should be taken seriously by a government that has faced substantial criticism over the past year over its approach to ethical sta

David Cameron

Following revelations around David Cameron’s lobbying for finance firm Greensill Capital at the height of the pandemic, Nigel Boardman was asked by the Cabinet Office to investigate how the government manages such activity and the transfer of personnel between the public and private sectors. This short paper offers our view on what his review, now published, got right – and what was missing.

Boardman’s suggestions are wide-ranging and ambitious. If implemented they will represent a sea-change in how government manages real and perceived conflicts of interest, an increase in transparency into the people and organisations with whom ministers discuss government policy, and a professionalisation of civil service processes that is long overdue.

The report’s 19 formal recommendations, accompanied by several other “suggestions which responsible policy teams might want to consider further”, cover everything from officials’ second jobs to transparency of ministers’ meetings and the national register of lobbyists.* These should be taken seriously by a government that has faced substantial criticism over the past year over its approach to ethical standards.

Administration
Johnson government
Publisher
Institute for Government

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