TI-UK believes that the revolving door between government and the private sector can be of benefit to both sectors, provided the system for regulating movements of personnel is sufficiently transparent and robust in order to ensure that there is no cause for any suspicion of impropriety. Unfortunately, several scandals in recent years have revealed that the current system for regulating the revolving door is weak and in urgent need of reform. These weaknesses were assessed in the TI-UK 2011 Report, ‘Cabs for Hire – Fixing the Revolving Door between Government and Business.’ TI-UK believes the following recommendations for reforms, if implemented, would help to reduce the risk of conflicts of interest and make the revolving door work to the benefit of government, the private sector and UK society more broadly:
i.The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACoBA) should be replaced with a new statutory body with sufficient resources and powers to regulate the post-public employment of former Ministers and crown servants. The rulings of this new body should be mandatory and enforceable;
ii.The composition of the new body should be more representative of UK society - for example, by including representatives of civil society;
iii.The new body should begin its work by carrying out a thorough audit of all positions under its remit, to assess potential risk areas. New rules could then be drafted to reflect the severity of risk associated with particular roles (e.g. those that involve major decisions on public procurement of goods and services from the private sector). It should be mandatory for the new regulatory body to consult departments for advice on the risks associated with particular appointments;
iv.The period during which former Ministers and crown servants must undergo scrutiny for appointments in the private sector should be extended from two years to three. The implications of this change for recruiting individuals to government should be fully assessed;
v.Parliament should enact legislation as soon as possible in order to make it mandatory for individuals andorganisations engaged in significant lobbying activity to register and disclose information on their activities.
vi.The remit of regulation should be extended to include appointments to non-commercial entities;
vii.The new body should disclose full information about the procedures for assessing applications and the reasons for its judgements; and
viii.The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority should draw up post-public employment rules for MPs – this is an area that is not regulated at present.