Policy tsars: here to stay but more transparency needed
NEWS- 15th October 2013
King's College London researchers Prof. Ken Young, Dr. Ruth Levitt and William Solesbury today launched a draft code of practice for ‘tsars’.
The aim is to inform, prompt and stimulate the debate that has so far been missing about the concerns that our earlier research (see the Summary Report and Final Report) on tsars revealed.
The new code of practice is needed because there are weaknesses in the propriety of these public appointments and shortcomings in the effectiveness of governments’ handling of tsars’ work.
Tsars (media shorthand for Independent Policy Advisers) are not subject to any existing codes of practice or even the Seven Principles of Public Life. Current arrangements are vulnerable to ministerial idiosyncrasy, opaque procedures and lack of accountability.
The new code for tsars is designed to safeguard the public interest (and the public purse), and to encourage higher standards in ministerial and official behaviour; it will not tie up ministers, departments or future tsars with red tape.
The researchers, in the Department of Political Economy at KCL, have developed this new code in consultation with former tsars, civil servants and specialist academics and journalists.
For more information please see the Press Statement, Tsar Profiles and the news story on the KCL website.
Please see below for a video of the presentation of the researcher's findings.
NEWS- April 2013
Ruth Levitt and William Solesbury, with Professor Ken Young, have been awarded a small grant by the King's Policy Institute to develop and promote a simple and appropriate 'code' of guidance on tsar appointments, to address the propriety and effectiveness issues identified in the research report. This work is now underway and will continue to the end of 2013.
Dr. Ruth LevittWilliam Solesbury
Click here for links to articles, blogs and videos
- Government "Tsars" need to be accountable, too Democratic Audit, 28 October 2013
- Revolutionary Code for bringing order to court of the tsars The Conversation, 24 October 2013
- Whitehall's no place for the GOD delusion Daily Telegraph, 23 October 2013
- Dominic Sandbrook in the Daily Mail 23 October 2013
- Policy tsars flexibility and accountability should be compatible Constitution Unit, 18 October 2013
- Code of practice could have stopped Nick Clegg's mistake with Caan Lib Dem Voice, 18 October 2013
- British Politics and Policy @ LSE 17 October 2013
- Open policy making: tsars don't count? Manchester Policy Blogs: Whitehall Watch, 17 October 2013
- Belfast Telegraph (syndicated article), 15 October 2013
- Concerns over Government tsars Evening Standard, 15 Oct 2013
- Interview with Professor John Hills Guardian, 15 October 2013
- Why are tsars so popular with this government? Guardian, 15 October 2013
- Code of practice call over government tsars BBC news, 15 October 2013
- Government tsars- what are they good for? Independent, 14 October 2013
- UCL Constitution Unit talk and video 21 March 2013
- ‘Policy tsars: out of the shadows’ Prospect, February 2013
- ‘Policy tsars: Whitehall’s expert advisors revealed’ Public Money and Management, 33/1, January 2013, 77-80. (pdf)
- ‘Policy tsars: here to stay but more transparency needed’ British Politics and Policy at LSE blog, 26 November 2012
- ‘Tsars in their eyes’ Institute for Government blog, Jill Rutter, 12 November 2012
- ‘Tsar qualities’ The House, 36/1430, 18 October 2012, 40-43 (pdf)
- ‘Coalition has created more policy 'tsars' than Tony Blair’ Daily Telegraph, Rosa Prince, 18 September 2012.
- ‘Tsars in their eyes: how the Coalition is appointing advisors faster than Tony Blair’, The Independent, Oliver Wright, 18 September 2012.
- ‘Our governance has yet to enter the 21st century’, Editorial, The Independent, 18 September 2012
- ‘Tsar gazing’, Civil Service World 5 September 2012, 11(pdf)
- 'Why are there so many government tsars?' King's podcast, 23 March 2012.
- ‘Debate: Tsars – are they the ‘experts’ now?’ Public Money and Management, 32/1, January 2012, 47-8 9 (pdf)