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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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Special Advisers: Who They Are, What They Do and Why They Matter

ISBN13: 9781849465601
Published: August 2014
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £30.00
Paperback edition , ISBN13 9781509913886

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Viewers of The Thick of It will know of special advisers as spin doctors and political careerists. Several well-known ministers have been special advisers, among them David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Jack Straw and Vince Cable.

People also know about the public relations disasters involving Jo Moore, Damian McBride and Adam Smith. But what is the reality? What do special advisers actually do in government? Who are they, where do they come from, and what do they go on to do?

This book is the most detailed study yet carried out of special advisers. The Constitution Unit's research team, led by Dr Ben Yong and Professor Robert Hazell, assembled a comprehensive database of over 600 special advisers since 1979. They conducted written surveys, and interviewed over 100 special advisers, ministers and officials from the past thirty years. They conclude that special advisers are now a permanent and indispensable part of Whitehall, but are still treated as transient and temporary.

The book concludes with practical recommendations for increasing the effectiveness of special advisers through improvements to their recruitment, induction and training, support and supervision, and strengthening their accountability.

Constitutional and Administrative Law
1. Why Study Special Advisers? Ben Yong
2. Special Advisers and British Government Ben Yong
3. Who are Special Advisers? Ben Yong
4. What Special Advisers Do for Ministers David Laughrin
5. Special Advisers and the Policy-Making Process Peter Waller
6. Special Advisers and Communications Peter Waller
7. The Regulation, Accountabilities and Responsibilities of Special Advisers Ben Yong
8. The Comparative Experience of Political Staff: Westminster Jurisdictions and Ministerial Cabinets Ben Yong 9. Improving the Performance of Special Advisers Robert Hazell
10. A Profession Comes of Age Robert Hazell
Appendix 1: Methodology Max Goplerud
Appendix 2: Further Work on the Distribution and Tenure of Special Advisers Max Goplerud x Contents Appendix 3: The Post-government Career of Special Advisers Anna Sellers
Appendix 4: Biographies