Advice letter: Michael Driver, Member of the Board of Improvement Finance, Liverpool City Council

Advice letter: Michael Driver, Member of the Board of Improvement Finance, Liverpool City Council

May 2022

1. Business Appointment Request: Michael Driver CP, former Chief Financial Officer, Head of Government Finance and Temporary Permanent Secretary at the Department of Justice (MOJ) and Acting Permanent Secretary at the Department of Justice. An appointment with Liverpool City Council.

Mr Driver sought advice from the Business Appointments Advisory Committee (the Committee) under the Rules for Government Business Appointments for Former Crown Employees (the Rules) on an appointment he wished to take with Liverpool City Council as a member of the Funding Improvement Steering Board. The material information taken into account by the Committee is set out in the annex.

The purpose of the rules is to protect the integrity of the government. Under the Rules, the Committee’s mandate is to consider the risks associated with actions and decisions taken during his time in office, along with information and influence that a former Minister of Liverpool City Council may provide.

The rules state that Crown employees must abide by the advice of the Committee[footnote 1]. It is the applicant’s personal responsibility to manage the suitability of any appointment. Former Crown employees are expected to adhere to the highest standards of decency and to act in accordance with the Seven Principles of Public Life.

2. Committee’s view

When considering this application, the Committee[footnote 2] Consider this role as a Board Member of Unpaid Funding Improvement[footnote 3]. In general, the panel’s experience is that the risks associated with unpaid roles are limited. The purpose of the rules is to protect the integrity of the government by considering the real and perceived risks associated with former ministers using privileged access to contacts and information for the benefit of themselves or those they represent; To mitigate the risks that individuals may make decisions or take actions in office in anticipation of rewards, when leaving government. This risk is greatly limited in unpaid cases due to the lack of financial gain for the individual.

3. Committee advice

The Committee did not consider this appointment to raise any proprietary concerns under the Government’s Employment Appointment Rules. The standard terms below, which prevent Mr. Driver from relying on his privileged information and using his contacts to achieve an unfair advantage for his new employer, would adequately mitigate the risks in this case. The Committee will draw his attention to the pressure below and the ban on contracts and bids that prevents Mr. Driver from using unfairly the communications he made while in Government for the benefit of the Institute.

The Commission advises, under the Government Business Appointment Rules, that Mr. Driver’s role with Liverpool City Council shall be subject to the following conditions:

  • he should not rely on (disclosure or use for his benefit or the persons or organizations to which this advice refers) any privileged information made available to him since his time in Crown service;
  • For two years from his last day of service to Crown, he must not be personally involved in lobbying the UK Government on behalf of Liverpool City Council (including parent companies, subsidiaries, partners and clients); nor should he use, directly or indirectly, his contacts in government and/or ministerial contacts to influence policy, secure business/finance or unfairly benefit Liverpool City Council (including parent companies, subsidiaries, partners and clients); And the
  • For two years from his last day of service to the Crown, he shall not advise Liverpool City Council (including parent companies, subsidiaries, partners and customers) on the terms of or in connection with the subject matter of a tender with, or a contract directly related to, the business of the UK Government.

By “privileged information” we mean official information that a minister or servant of the Crown Prince has had access to as a result of his or her position or function and that has not been made publicly available. Applicants are also reminded that they may be subject to other duties of confidentiality, whether under the Official Secrets Act, the Civil Service Act, or otherwise.

Employment assignment rules make clear that restrictions on lobbying mean that a Crown servant/former minister “should not communicate with government (ministers, civil servants, including special advisers, other relevant officials/public office holders) – wherever this occurs – with the aim of influencing a government decision, policy or awarding / awarding a contract related to their own interests or the interests of the organization in which they work, or with which they are contracted, or with which they hold positions.”

I would be grateful if you would inform us once Mr. Driver has assumed employment with this organisation, or if it is announced that Mr. Driver will do so, either by returning the attached form or by sending an email to the office at the above address. Otherwise we will not be able to deal with any inquiries, as we do not disclose information about dates that have not been taken up or announced. This may lead to a false assumption about whether Mr. Driver complied with the rules.

Please also inform us if Mr. Driver proposes to extend or otherwise change the nature of his role because, depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary for him to submit a new application.

Once the appointment has been announced or publicly accepted, we will post this message on the Committee’s website and, where appropriate, refer to it in the relevant annual report.


Isabella Win Committee Secretariat

4. Annex – Material Information

4.1 Role

Mr Driver describes Liverpool City Council as a local government.

Mr. Driver said the purpose of the role is to support successful implementation and deliver an ambitious program to improve funding across City Council. As a member of the Board of Directors, the role will cover the following key responsibilities:

  • To advise, challenge and support the SRO in achieving results associated with the improvement plan;
  • To provide assurance to delegates about the delivery of results associated with the improvement plan

Mr. Driver does not expect his role to include liaison with the government.

4.2 Transactions in the position

Mr Driver confirmed that he had not been in contact with the Liverpool Council when he was in government and said:

  • had no involvement in any policy development or related decisions that would affect the Liverpool Board;
  • does not have access to sensitive information that would provide an unfair advantage;
  • has no commercial or contractual responsibilities relating to Liverpool Council; And the
  • He has not met the Liverpool Board’s competitors and has no access to sensitive information relating to the competitors.

4.3 Department Rating

The Department of Justice confirmed the details provided by Mr. Driver and asserted that he did not have access to information that could provide an unfair advantage, but indicated that the government finance officer would be familiar with the broader government finance function capabilities program and the broader program. To manage talent etc. and how much this is used to support career/professional development.

Both the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health and Social Care confirmed that they had no concerns.

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