Appointments watchdog clears Louise Casey for new job
Former troubled families tsar approved to take up role with police, criminal justice, and local government consultancy
Louise Casey Credit: CSW/Tal Cohen
Whitehall’s former troubled families tsar Dame Louise Casey is taking up a new role with a consultancy that specialises in advising on police, criminal justice and local government issues, it has emerged.
Papers released by anti-corruption watchdog the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments this week said that Casey – who stood down as a director general at the then-Department for Communities and Local Government last year following a two year role leading an community integration review – had requested clearance to work for the firm Crest Advisory.
Casey was made a dame for her work in relation to pioneering more joined up, multi-agency approaches to helping families with problems, and joined the civil service from homelessness charity Shelter in 1999.
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ACOBA scrutinises postings sought by former ministers and senior officials within two years of them leaving government roles in a bid to stop them seeking to profit from privileged information or lobbying former colleagues.
In a letter authorising Casey’s proposed new role, committee secretariat Nicola Richardson said the former civil servant had stated that she expected her work with Crest to take up “not more than a few days a month” and that her role would allow the business to “draw on her experience in assisting organisations review their work or stocktake their activity”.
Richardson said Casey had been offered the job by Crest managing director Harvey Redgrave, a former deputy director of the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit under Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron – who was described as “an old friend and work colleague”.
Richardson’s letter said Casey had stated that her role with Crest was “not likely to include any contact or dealings with government” and that her appointment had the endorsement of the director general responsible for local government at DCLG – now the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
She said the committee believed there was “no objective reason for the appointment to be perceived as a reward for decisions made while in office” and accepted that Casey had no official dealings with Crest or its competitors during her last two years in the civil service.
Casey’s appointment is subject to ACOBA’s usual ban on lobbying government for two years after an official’s last day in service and also requires her not to draw on privileged information over the same period.
Separately, ACOBA this week published its advice letter on former prime minister David Cameron’s latest post-government role: a consultancy position with California-based “life science tools” business Illumina.
It said the job would see Cameron “assist the firm’s engagement with foreign governments and stakeholders” in countries outside the UK.
Illumina has a partnership with Genomics England, a company owned by the Department for Health and Social Care that delivers the £77m 100,000 Genomes Project, which is collecting DNA samples and clinical information for analysis.
ACOBA said that neither the Cabinet Office nor the health department had expressed any concerns over Cameron's appointment, but accepted that Illumina was “likely to benefit” from his status and profile as a former prime minister.
Committee chair Angela Browning said Cameron had reported attending meetings with DHSC officials in connection with the 100,000 Genomes Project, but not with Illumina. She said the panel believed Cameron should be subject to a weightier version of its usual ban on lobbying and use of privileged information.
“The committee has recommended an extended lobbying ban, which makes clear that you may not approach ministers or government officials in your capacity as an adviser to Illumina and may only brief them at the request of government,” she said.
The Illumina role is the eighth business appointment listed for Cameron since he stood down as prime minister in July 2016, less than three weeks after finishing on the losing side in his EU referendum.
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