Editorial: This revolving door between public and private sector employment is too generous

In many ways it is invidious to single out former HMRC head Mr Hartnett. He has done no more than tread a well-worn path

Share

The appointment of Dave Hartnett, the former head of operations at HM Revenue & Customs, to a part-time job at the accountants Deloitte has drawn adverse comments, as indeed it deserved. Mr Hartnett was last in the headlines for agreeing a so-called “sweetheart” tax deal with Goldman Sachs. The arrangement was declared legal, but it left the impression that, while “little guys” must pay tax as decreed by the Revenue, “big guys” can negotiate their terms.

The Government’s advisory committee on such appointments has set what seem quite lax conditions on Mr Hartnett’s work for Deloitte. In principle, though, the conditions hardly matter. It is the idea of the gamekeeper turned poacher – and for much bigger bucks than he could have earned in government – that leaves a sour taste with the tax-paying classes.

In many ways, though, it is invidious to single out Mr Hartnett. He has done no more than tread a well-worn path. There are certain Civil Service positions – in the upper echelons of the tax inspectorate, defence and diplomacy – which equip their holders to command big rewards elsewhere. Generous public sector pension provision allows such individuals to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Nor is a revolving door between public and private sectors in itself undesirable. There are good arguments for greater mobility of staff, especially at more junior levels, than at present. The chief objection to the career pattern of Mr Hartnett and others is that – unlike in the US,  where people routinely move in and out of government – these post-retirement consultancies are risk-free and it is less the individual’s ability that justifies such high fees, but the knowledge and contacts acquired in government.

It would be hard to ban such moves altogether, though tighter rules and stricter enforcement would be an advance. Perhaps, though, the Government should be more protective of expertise acquired during public service and demand a hefty recruitment fee from private business to ensure that the bounty is shared.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Manager - OTE £40,000

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Benedict Cumberbatch attends a special screening of his latest film The Imitation Game  

Benedict Cumberbatch race row: What's the actual difference between 'coloured' and 'person of colour'?

Matthew Norman
Pressure is growing on Chris Grayling to abandon the Government bid to advise Saudi Arabia on running its prisons (Getty)  

What in sanity’s name is Chris Grayling doing in the job of Justice Secretary?

Matthew Norman
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore