["Politics is the entertainment division of the Military Industrial Complex." ~ Frank Zappa]
Dozens of civil servants and military top brass get top jobs in the private sector WITHOUT official vetting
By DANIEL MARTIN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL
31 August 2016
Air Commodore Jonathan Ager, pictured with Prince Charles, was an assistant chief of staff at Air Command and is now a programme director for an arms manufacturer
Dozens of Whitehall officials and military top brass are walking into lucrative private sector jobs in areas they have worked on – without any independent vetting.
In a further example of the ‘revolving door’ scandal, it has emerged that only the most senior mandarins have to submit job offers for approval by a Westminster watchdog.
There is no requirement to do this for those below the level of permanent secretaries and their deputies. These civil servants and military figures simply have to get their jobs signed off by their own departmental boss, Private Eye revealed.
In one case, a top Brigadier in charge of defence logistics was given the go-ahead to move straight into a job as an arms lobbyist.
The disclosure will spark calls for further reform of the Whitehall appointments system, which allows former ministers and civil servants to take well-paid jobs in exactly the same policy area in which they worked in government.
Critics say the system encourages conflicts of interests – and that the watchdog, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acba), is effectively toothless.
Earlier this year the Daily Mail revealed that since 2008, two thirds of jobs applied for by top ministers and mandarins were in sectors they were responsible for in office.
Now it has emerged that in dozens of cases, Acba does not even consider the job offers. Between May and December 2015, around half of the 50 top Whitehall staff went to work in business areas related to their former job or for consultancies that serve them, analysis by Private Eye found.
The officials had worked across 16 government departments, but the worst culprit was the Ministry of Defence, where six of the 12 staff went straight into the arms trade.
Brigadier Jon Brittain was head of defence logistics and the Joint Forces Command, which brings together air, sea and land forces, until February 2016. But in December 2015, before he had officially left, he got the go-ahead to become partner in Terrington Management, an arms industry lobbyist.
Brigadier Nicholas Davies, whose role within the MoD was ‘redacted’ from government records, and he has run ‘business strategy’ for Raytheon, a hi-tech arms firm
Air Commodore Jonathan Ager was an assistant chief of staff at Air Command until late 2015. He is now a programme director for Lockheed, an arms manufacturer.
Until January last year, Air Vice-Marshal Peter Ewen was director of air support at the RAF, ‘responsible for the procurement, in-service support and airworthiness of the Royal Air Force’s fleets of large aircraft’. Eight months later he became ‘head of air’ for Airbus Defence, the main supplier of large aircraft to the RAF.
Private Eye also uncovered the example of Brigadier Nicholas Davies, whose role within the MoD was ‘redacted’ from government records – which the magazine says means he was commander of the Joint Forces Intelligence Group.
Lucy Robinson, deputy director of the HS2 ‘growth and regeneration team at the Department for Transport, is now director for government policy and funding at London and Continental Railways
Since January he run ‘business strategy’ for Raytheon, a hi-tech arms firm which last year announced a ‘£70million geospatial intelligence deal for the UK Joint Forces Intelligence Group’.
Finally, during 2015 Paul Blakiston moved from being director of ‘value for money benchmarking’ at the MoD to strategic development officer for Babcock Marine – one of the Navy’s biggest contractors, with multibillion-pound contracts for nuclear submarines. Officials at the Ministry of Justice have also made good use of the so-called revolving door, the magazine revealed. Craig Watkins, MoJ director of finance and planning, became business development leader at Ernst & Young, the London-based professional services company. EY was paid by the MoJ to develop its recent privatisation of probation.
At the Department for Work and Pensions, Michael Hewson was account director for the Health Services Directorate ‘leading the team responsible for the policy on the Personal Independence Payment assessment’. He is now an executive at Atos, the private firm that runs PIP assessments.
Lucy Robinson, deputy director of the HS2 ‘growth and regeneration team at the Department for Transport, is now director for government policy and funding at London and Continental Railways – the private firm that runs the Channel Tunnel Rail link and is now working on HS2 rail development.
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