Review of ‘Special Advisers: Who they are, what they do and why they matter’ by Ben Yong and Robert Hazell (Hart). Originally published in The Political Quarterly, Vol. 86, №4, Oct-Dec 2015. The definitive version is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com. More on special advisers on the Institute for Government website.

‘Spad’ is one of the punctuation marks of anti-politics polemic, near onomatopoeic in the way it is spat out. This abbreviation for special advisers — temporary civil servants appointed directly by ministers — breaks up many a sentence about the decline of trust and increase in incompetence that supposedly define our…

Gavin Freeguard

Programme director leading on data and digital government at the Institute for Government. Also twitter.com/WarningGraphicC.

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