The work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith'​s longest-serving adviser is being paid by a thinktank that he set up and which lobbies their department.

Duncan Smith set up the Centre for Social Justice in 2004 as a rightwing research and lobby group focusing on poverty as he rebuilt his political career after being ousted as party leader the previous year, but cut active ties with the thinktank when he rejoined government in 2010.

His policy special adviser, Philippa Stroud, is being paid an income by the CSJ to be co-chair of its board of advisers.

Stroud was formerly executive director at the CSJ, and the arrangement was cleared by both her department and the Cabinet Office, but her continued paid work for the thinktank has now drawn criticism because of the potential for a direct conflict of interest.

The special advisers'​ code of conduct, largely based on the civil service code, stipulates that they "​should not receive benefits of any kind which others might reasonably see as compromising their personal judgment or integrity"​.

Under the heading "​integrit​y"​, an annex to the code, titled the Seven Principles of Public Life, adds: "​Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties."​

The code also makes clear that appointing ministers, in this case Duncan Smith, are held responsible for their advisers'​ conduct.

Full story in the Guardian


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