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Civil Servants: Non-Executive Directorships

Volume 590: debated on Monday 1 June 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether civil servants are still allowed to become directors of companies in the private sector; if so, how many of them are such directors; whether any work in the Ministry of Defence; and whether they are allowed to conceal the fact from members of the public with whom they deal as civil servants. [HL1960]

Civil servants are allowed to become non-executive directors of companies with the approval of their department. It is the Government's policy to encourage Civil Service interchange with other sectors of the economy. The total number of non-executive directorships held by civil servants across all sectors of the economy was 118 in 1996–97, the latest year for which detailed figures are available. This figure includes two senior civil servants working for the Ministry of Defence who held non-executive appointments as part of the department's interchange programme. There is no specific requirement for civil servants to reveal to members of the public any non-executive directorships that they may hold. But they are required to seek the approval of their department for such appointments and to ensure there is no conflict of interest.