Government rules on civil servants moving to private sector replaced by … nothing

“Rules on civil servants moving to posts in the private sector have been operating with no guidance on their use because the Cabinet Office has failed for five years to produce this, the National Audit Office has found.

Its investigation of the Business Appointment Rules also discovered the rules do not say that a department can reject an application, only that these may be accepted or have conditions attached.

The rules apply when civil servants move to outside bodies and are designed to prevent them using privileged information or contacts gained in the civil service or to prevent any perception of impropriety.

Contentious appointments are supposed to be referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba).

They are administered by the Cabinet Office but the NAO found it removed guidelines for departments on administering the rules in 2012 to write fresh ones, which have never been completed.

The lack of clarity over rejection of applications even saw the Cabinet Office tell the NAO it thought such rejections did in practice happen, but was unable to supply any evidence.

Nor did the Cabinet Office maintain oversight of how departments implemented the rules, relying on them for enforcing compliance, transparency and public scrutiny.

Auditors also found it impossible to discover from transparency data whether all those leaving the civil service for the private sector who should have made an application under the rules in fact did so. …”