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Advisory Committee On Business Appointments

Volume 592: debated on Tuesday 28 July 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have received the first report of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments. [HL3130]

The committee has submitted its first report to the Prime Minister and today he placed copies in the Libraries of both Houses. Since 1975 the committee has advised the Prime Minister of the day on the propriety of business appointments that Crown servants wish to take up when they leave Crown service. Following a recommendation of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, it now also provides advice directly to former Ministers on their business appointments. The committee's first report offers an account of its work in advising former Ministers from the time they took on this role in November 1995 through the post-election period until the end of March 1998. The report similarly covers the business appointments of senior Crown servants for a two-year period from April 1996 when a number of changes were made to the rules which included bringing special advisers into the system. The committee gave advice to former Ministers on 175 appointments and made recommendations to Ministers on 128 applications from Crown officials.The committee's new responsibilities for giving advice to former Ministers have made its task more onerous. The Prime Minister is very grateful to all the members for devoting their time freely to this important role. The chairman, the right honourable Lord Carlisle of Bucklow QC, has served with distinction for a number of years and will be stepping down shortly, as will the right honourable Lord Thomson of Monifieth, General Sir Charles Huxtable and Sir Robin Ibbs. They kindly agreed to extensions of their appointments to see through the introduction of the business appointment system for former Ministers. The Prime Minister thanks them warmly for the valuable contribution they have made.