Elizabeth Truss MPDepartment for EducationSanctuary BuildingsGreat Smith StreetLondonSW1P 3BT6
June 2013Dear Liz,I am writing in relation to a recent answer that was provided by the DfE in response to aFreedom of Information request from Ms Janet Downs about Academy Brokers, and remarksyou made in a parliamentary debate.In the response to an FOI request to Ms Downs on the 29
May 2013 it is stated:
“Brokers are contractors and are not bound by the Civil Service Code which applies toemployees of the Crown only.”
However, during the Westminster Hall debate on the 12
March 2013 about forced Academyconversion I asked:
I hope that theMinister will answer this question particularly. Is there any code of conductfor those people as to how they should behave? As theMinister with responsibility for theissue of bullying, will she give us an absolute assurance that if there is one, she will publishit, and that if there is not one currently, she will ensure that one is available?
” (Official report,
column c47WH)In your speech in response to the debate you stated:
“[Academy brokers] are not paid on results, an
d they are subject to the civil service code of
conduct.” (Official report, column c53WH)
Clearly these statements cannot both be true.If it is the case that Academy Brokers are not subject to the Civil Service Code, could youexplain why you told the House that they were? Furthermore if it was an inadvertent error rather than an attempt to mislead the House, why did you not correct the record at theearliest opportunity? Over two months have elapsed since the debate, during which timemany people have been relying in good faith on the assumption that the information that yougave to the House was accurate. That is hardly surprising given the emphatic nature of your remarks including reference to correspondence with me (see fuller quote below).
epartmental brokers have contracts with the Department that state their terms andconditions. They are not paid on results, and they are subject to the civil service code of conduct. The Hon Member (
) asked about the code of conduct procedure. Healso referred to it in a letter when there was a complaint, and that was addressed by the
Department for Education.” (Official report, column c53WH)