Dominic Raab seeks director to run MoJ private office amid bullying claims

Justice secretary has insisted a director fill the "demanding" £95,000-a-year PPS job
Dominic Raab. Photo: Uwe Deffner/Alamy

The Ministry of Justice is seeking a director-level official to be Dominic Raab’s principal private secretary, whose job will include resolving “tensions” within the department.

The job – which is being advertised as No.10 prepares to launch an investigation into complaints about the justice secretary’s behaviour – is “extraordinarily varied, interesting, and demanding”, according to the advert.

Applicants must have the “the confidence and credibility to intervene and act as a trouble-shooter to resolve policy issues and tensions within and beyond the department”, the advert says.

Unlike most PPS jobs, which are filled by deputy directors, the £95,000-a-year job is being advertised as a director-level post.

CSW understands Raab has personally requested that a director lead his private office – something he also did in his first stint at the ministry, which he joined in September 2021. The PPS job was advertised this September – after Raab was replaced by Brandon Lewis in Liz Truss's reshuffle – as a deputy-director post, with a £73,500 pay packet. The latest recruitment round opened following Raab's reappointment as justice secretary last month.

A few weeks after being appointed justice secretary in Boris Johnson’s cabinet, Raab removed his PPS from the role because he considered them to be too junior, replacing them with a director-level interim PPS. They were offered the job of deputy principal private secretary instead, which they declined, moving to another team within the department.

A source close to the minister said Raab believed a more senior official would help to strengthen the private office and support its ability to deliver the government’s agenda.

A former official told CSW earlier this week that Raab’s “reputation” had made recruiting a PPS difficult. “Nobody would apply... nobody wants to work for him,” they said.

The official alleged that Raab was “known as a bully” at the Ministry of Justice and made a habit of “intimidating and belittling” civil servants. Raab has denied the allegations.

Rishi Sunak this week ordered an investigation into two formal complaints against the cabinet minister, including one which alleged he had overseen a “perverse culture of fear” at the department.

The PPS will represent Raab, who is also deputy prime minister, and “resolve the most urgent policy issues within and beyond the department”, the job ad says.

They will manage a budget of around £5.5m and work with the MoJ’s private office and parliament directors to lead a team of more than 80 civil servants in the private office directorate – which includes private secretaries, comms officials and support staff.

They will have a “strong focus on performance, ensuring that progress is made in all areas” of the secretary of state’s agenda; ensure ministerial, special adviser and private office teams work well together; and develop “highly influential and effective working relationships” with ministers, spads, policy officials and others.

“You will provide strong, strategic, and inspiring leadership for your team, and secure the confidence of ministers and officials across the department and wider government,” the job advert said.

“You will be joining a great team and working on some of the most complex and important issues that make lives better for the citizens we serve.”

Responding to allegations about Raab's behaviour this week, a spokesperson said: “Dominic has acted with professionalism and integrity in all of his government roles. He has an excellent record of driving positive change in multiple government departments by working well with officials. He holds everyone, and most of all himself, to the high standards that the British people would expect of their government.”

Raab has pledged to "thoroughly rebut and refute" the claims against him.

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