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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 StatementTsar 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 Levitt
Tel: 0207 561 1101

William Solesbury
Tel: 0207 561 1101

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