Fury as Army chiefs land jobs with UK defence companies

 

Two lieutenant generals who left the Army less than 18 months ago are now working for companies fighting for a £400m Government defence contract set to be decided in the coming weeks, The Independent can reveal.

Both appointments were approved by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), with Prime Minister David Cameron’s agreement. MPs have called for the “impotent” body, which gives advice when former ministers and senior civil servants seek jobs in industry, to be scrapped.

Lieutenant General Sir Mark Mans, a former member of the Defence Infrastructure Board, left the army in December 2012. Three months later he landed a job with Capita Defence Services as a non-executive director.

The company is leading one of three consortia shortlisted for the £400m contract to run the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), which manages a budget of billions, and thousands of Ministry of Defence properties.

Telereal Trillium, leading one of the other consortia being considered for the contract, appointed Lt Gen Sir Gary Coward, former Commander (Land), Defence Equipment and Support, as an adviser last June – eight months after he had left the Army.

The role “would involve advising the industry team in bidding and negotiating to become the Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s strategic business partner,” according to Acoba.

In the case of Lt Gen Mans, “The Prime Minister accepted the Committee’s advice that the application be approved” on condition that he wait three months between leaving the army and starting the job, that he not advise on bids or contracts for MoD work for 12 months, and that for two years “not become personally involved in lobbying UK Government on behalf of his new employer”.

As for Lt Gen Coward, the only condition proposed by Acoba was that he should wait for two years after leaving the army before personally lobbying the Government.

The latest example of the “revolving door” – where ministers and senior civil servants get lucrative jobs trading on the knowledge and contacts made in government – has prompted fresh demands for Acoba to be abolished.

Labour MP Paul Flynn  said: “What should be the pinnacle of their careers, for politicians and civil servants of the highest rank, no longer is. Those jobs are now seen as a stepping stone to retirement riches.”

He accused Acoba of being “at best, impotent,” saying that the current system “invites corruption”. A spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services Union ?said: “We would have very serious concerns if this contract were to go to a company with such obvious ties to recently retired military officers.”

There is no suggestion that Lt Gen Coward or Lt Gen Mans has behaved improperly in any way. A Telereal Trillium spokesman said Lt Gen Coward’s “involvement with us on the DIO bid was specifically cleared through all the appropriate MoD channels.”

A Capita spokesperson said Lt General Mans “has not had any involvement in Capita’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation detailed bid submission or advised on the terms of the bid, nor has he had any engagement or discussions with any DIO employees or discussed the DIO bid with any other Government officials”.

Responding to the criticisms of Acoba, a Cabinet Office spokesman said: “The Government is committed to maintaining the highest standards of conduct in public life.”

What is Acoba?

The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) is just what it says – an advisory committee. This means it cannot force anyone to follow the advice it gives.

Its members are largely appointed by the Prime Minister, and the rules on business appointments are drawn up by the Cabinet Office. Established in 1975 to advise on the employment of senior civil servants by private firms, its remit was widened in 1995 to include former ministers.

All ministers are obliged to seek the committee’s advice if they take on any job within two years of leaving office. And Cabinet ministers are expected to wait a minimum of three months before taking private work. The members of the committee are Lord Lang, Mark Addison, Sir Colin Budd, Lord Dholakia, Mary-Jo Jacobi, Sir Hugh Stevenson, Lord Walker, and Baroness Liddell.

The usual forms of advice include asking that people to wait before starting a new job and not lobby former colleagues for up to two years.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss