LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has launched a website to open up recruitment of the influential special advisers who work at the heart of government.
The website advertises for “talented and experienced communications and digital professionals”, saying it wants to attract applicants from all walks of life and different parts of the country.
Special advisers, often referred to simply as SpAds, work closely with ministers and government officials. They are not required to be politically impartial like most other government employees and their ability to influence policy often leads to questions from opponents about how and why they were appointed.
The new website ‘spadjobs.uk’ aims to address this criticism by making the process open to all. Applicants will be filtered by private strategic advisory firm Hanbury Strategy, although final hiring decision will still rest with Johnson’s office.
“Successful applicants will go through a rigorous process of written exercises, telephone interviews and a selection panel,” the website says.
It not recruiting policy advisers, only those who will handle communications and digital briefs.
One of Johnson’s most senior advisers, Dominic Cummings, launched a different private recruitment drive last month, saying he wanted to hire “weirdos and misfits with odd skills” to advise the government on policy.
However that approach quickly drew criticism after a “superforecaster” hired as part of Cumming’s plan resigned following criticism of his past comments on the benefits of eugenics and forced contraception.
Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison