Former mandarin may have 'unfair advantage' in his new private job
8th November 2021

Former mandarin may have ‘unfair advantage’ in his new private job advising companies, watchdog warns

  • Julian Critchlow may have an ‘unfair advantage’ in his new job with Bain & Co
  • As a civil servant he was the mandarin in charge of the UK’s net zero strategy
  • But in his new role Mr Critchlow will advise major companies on the same topic
  • A watchdog limited the subjects Mr Critchlow is allowed to advise on for Bain

The former mandarin in charge of the UK’s net zero strategy may have an ‘unfair advantage’ in his new private job advising major companies on the topic, a watchdog has warned.

It ordered Julian Critchlow to wait six months between leaving the civil service and starting as a senior adviser with consultancy Bain & Co.

The ruling was from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, which monitors the revolving door between Whitehall and big business.

Julian Critchlow left BEIS seven months ago and will be moving on to a new role as a senior adviser with consultancy Bain & Co 

It has set out conditions for his new role, such as limiting the subjects he can advise on.

The committee warned: ‘He seeks to advise Bain on the matters he had responsibility for in office.

‘There is a risk his access to information while in government could offer an unfair advantage to Bain.’

Mr Critchlow spent 30 years working for Bain before moving to the business department in 2018.

But in March, he left and applied to the committee to return to his former employer.

Acoba said it did not believe he was offered the job because of what he had learned in Whitehall but went on: ‘There remains a risk in relation to his access to information.’

It said his former department is still developing a number of projects and so ‘the Committee felt it was necessary to limit Mr Critchlow’s role with Bain to prevent him from advising on his policy involvement on specific matters, to avoid the risk he would offer unfair insight into policy development at BEIS’.

The watchdog ruled Mr Critchlow is not allowed to offer advice on heat and buildings strategy, international energy or developing an emissions trading system until next year

He is not allowed to offer advice on heat and buildings strategy, international energy or developing an emissions trading system until next year.

Acoba also ‘thought it was necessary to put a significant gap between Mr Critchlow’s access to information and his joining Bain’, making him wait for six months after his last day in ‘Crown service’ to start his new job. He began there in October.

In addition he was told he must obey the standard rules for all senior civil servants moving to the private sector, such as a ban on lobbying former colleagues or Ministers.

The letter also reveals that Mr Critchlow had previously been ‘responsible for a contract between BEIS and Bain’.

But this was said to be just ‘for one week’s pro bono work; and there is no other commercial relationship between Bain and BEIS’.

A BEIS spokesman said last night: ‘Mr Critchlow left the Department seven months ago. The Committee’s recommendations have been, and will continue to be, followed.’

Bain added: ‘We are happy to confirm that we have made the appropriate arrangements to ensure that the restrictions, conditions and limitations placed upon Julian Critchlow by Acoba as a condition of his re-employment by Bain are adhered to.’

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