ACOBA reveals advice to ex-Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and former Treasury spad Rupert Harrison on private sector roles

Lord Maude of Horsham’s request among appointments watchdog’s latest raft of transparency data

By Jim Dunton

07 Jun 2016

Three government departments waved through former Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude’s request to work as an adviser for alternative investment firm Anvest, just-published documents reveal.

Maude – now Lord MaudeHorsham – stepped down from ministerial roles at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills in March in readiness to take on a role on the advisory board at Anvest Partners.

The role is described as relating to “property investment services” in Maude’s entry on the official Register of Lords’ Interests. Anvest’s website lists “student and low-budget housing” as particular areas of interest. However the firm also has hotel and leisure interests, including “glamping”.

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Papers published by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, which adjudicates on requests to work in the private sector made by former ministers and senior civil servants, said the FCO, BIS and the Cabinet Office had raised no objections to Maude’s plans.

Committee chair, and fellow Conservative peer Baroness Angela Browning said the committee had also noted that Maude’s new role would be part time and involve providing advice to executives on strategy, investors and investment.

“Taking into account all the factors, the committee sees no reason why you should not take up the appointment,” she said in a letter to Maude.

The approval is subject to the conditions that Maude does not use privileged information from his time in government for Anvest’s benefit, or engage in lobbying the government on its behalf for two years.

Other ACOBA advice letters published today include an agreement to waive a six-month rule on ambassadors returning to work in the country of their last posting in the case of Sir Peter Westmacott.

It endorsed the application of the former ambassador to Washington DC, who had sought to take up an appointment as a teaching fellow at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government.

It noted that the FCO had said that waiving the rule for Sir Peter would be “beneficial for US/UK diplomatic relations”.

ACOBA also approved former HM Treasury special adviser Rupert Harrison’s request for permission to become managing director of a division of global asset-management giant Blackrock.

In its decision letter on Harrison, the committee said the former chair of the council of economic advisers had the backing of then-Treasury perm sec Sir Nicholas Macpherson for the move.

It added committee members were satisfied he had also “not had access to commercial sensitive information about any competitors of Blackrock”.

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