Skip to site navigation

Press release: Special Advisers need better support and supervision, says new study from Constitution Unit

9 June 2014

The weekend resignation of Fiona Cunningham, Theresa May’s trusted Special Adviser, provides yet another reminder of how important Special Advisers are in Whitehall; but also of the inadequate arrangements for their support and supervision.  The need for better support is one of the main conclusions of a recent study by the Constitution Unit, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

“With almost 100 Special Advisers now working for the government, they have become an established feature in Whitehall,” said the Constitution Unit’s director Prof Robert Hazell.  “But people still tend to treat them as transient, undesirable, hoping they might go away.  They won’t.  We need to recognise they are here to stay, and move the debate on to how they can become more effective and more professional in their support for Ministers”.

To that end the Constitution Unit has produced a new Handbook, Being a Special Adviser, which is an invaluable guide for Special Advisers on how to operate in Whitehall.  “It is full of practical tips from recent and current Special Advisers on how to get the best out of the Whitehall machine” said Prof Robert Hazell.  “A new government next year, with a new cadre of Special Advisers, will need to provide much better induction and support if they are to hit the ground running.  Our Handbook is designed to do precisely that”.

Notes for Editors

  • The Constitution Unit is an independent and non-partisan research centre based in the Department of Political Science at University College London.
  • ·The Handbook Being a Special Adviser is published on the Constitution Unit website at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/publications/tabs/unit-publications/158
  • The main output from the Unit’s study is a book, Special Advisers: Who they are, What they do, and Why they matter, by Ben Yong and Robert Hazell, to be published in September by Hart Publishing. 

Join the Debate

Blog

News

The saga of Nepal’s embattled constitutional politics continues

Tue, 28 Oct 2014 11:00:07 +0000

As the deadline for drafting Nepal’s constitution looms, it seems unlikely the Constituent Assembly will be able to deliver on time. The question of federal restructuring has been a particular roadblock, but the opaque nature of negotiations and the exclusion of minority interests have also inhibited compromise, writes Mara Malagodi. Almost a year has passed […]

Read more...

Party conferences and the constitution

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:00:50 +0000

­­­Artemis Photiadou offers an overview of what the three main parties had to say on current constitutional debates at their party conferences last month. Few party conferences have been held against a more intense constitutional backdrop than this year’s, with the Scottish independence referendum result announced on 19 September, Labour’s conference commencing only two days later, […]

Read more...

Regulating the permanent campaign

Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:00:00 +0000

Barry K Winetrobe suggests that some modern electioneering practices, especially when well before the formal election campaign begins, could confuse and mislead voters and should be regulated. A few weeks ago, my local paper ran a classified ad for a meeting with ‘your local parliamentary candidate’. The ad had the promoter/printer imprint on it. I […]

Read more...
Mailing List

Connect with us

RSSFlickr

Footer menu