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Monday, November 23, 2020

Friend and advisor

Continuing the chumocracy theme, the Independent reports health secretary, Matt Hancock, is facing questions over the appointment of a close friend and lobbyist to a £15,000-a-year advisor role in his department.

They say that Gina Coladangelo, who met Mr Hancock when both were attending Oxford University, is a director at lobbying firm Luther Pendragon, which promises clients help to “navigate and influence complex legislation”. She was handed a job just as the country went into lockdown in the spring as an unpaid adviser on a six-month contract at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

And in September, Ms Coladangelo was given a role as non-executive director at DHSC, earning at least £15,000 and placing her on the board that scrutinises the department. There was no public record of the appointment:

The Department for Health and Social Care declined to comment on whether there was a conflict of interest with her role when contacted by The Independent.

But her appointment raises further questions over the government’s appointment and procurement procedures relating to the Covid pandemic.

Alex Thomas, progrmame director at the Institute for Government, told The Sunday Times: “It’s reasonable for ministers to take advice from a range of sources, but advisers should be transparent, accountable and appointed on merit.

Transparency is something that is missing from this government.
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