Senior PR industry figures have called for the civil service
management code to be revised to include special advisers such as Tim
Allan, who has announced his move from the Prime Minister’s press office
to director of corporate communications at BSkyB.
Under the current code, Allan is too junior to have to refer his
appointment to a Whitehall vetting committee which has the power to
enforce a waiting period of up to three years before Government staff
take jobs in the private sector.
Simon Nayyar, chairman of the PRCA public affairs committee, said: ’When
a person goes from having insight with key players into a job like this,
given the concerns with cross-media ownership and Rupert Murdoch’s
relationship with Tony Blair, I think it may well be time that the code
Allan would only have had to refer his new job if he: received an
equivalent salary to grade 3 civil servants (over pounds 52,400); had
official dealings with BSkyB; had access to sensitive information about
BSkyB’s rivals; had been involved in policies benefiting BSkyB for which
the job offer could be interpreted as a reward, or had knowledge of
policies beneficial to BSkyB.