It's time for an end to cronyism

Each week it seems another individual secures a role of vital public importance without any advertisement or fair process – and very often that individual has personal and political connections to Government.

Our public bodies perform vital functions. Effective Test and Trace is absolutely key to tackling the pandemic. And we need to have those bodies run by people who are the best-placed to do the job at hand, who were recruited through open competition and appointed because of what they know, not who they know.

Appointing your mates to top jobs isn’t new or the preserve of the Conservative Party: we all remember “Tony’s Cronies” too. But it’s high time we put a stop to it. This is why Runnymede Trust and Good Law Project are challenging the appointment of Dido Harding, as well as a string of other appointments which were made with seemingly no advertisement or fair recruitment process.

The judicial review raises two legal arguments:
1. Recruitment without open competition is indirect discrimination on grounds of, in particular, race and disability, contrary to the Equality Act 2010; and
2. Government appears to have breached its public sector equality duty in s. 149 of the Equality Act 2010 in filling senior public sector roles without paying due regard to the impact of its recruitment approach on those with protected characteristics.

We have instructed Jason Coppel and Hannah Slarks of 11KBW Chambers and Rook Irwin Sweeney. They will work considerably below market rates.

This Government’s approach discriminates against those born without a silver spoon in their mouth. It’s unfair to those who don’t rub shoulders with high-ranking Ministers. And it’s unfair to groups who the data shows are shut out of public life. We intend to change it.

It is only with your support that we can continue to hold Government to account. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here.

Previous Updates

It’s time for an end to cronyism: An update on our costs in this case

Last month we told you about the Court’s decision that the Government had failed to comply with its obligations under equalities laws when appointing Dido Harding and Mike Coupe to important public health jobs during…

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BREAKING: High Court rules Dido Harding and Mike Coupe appointments were unlawful

In a landmark verdict, the High Court has today found that the process leading to the appointments of both Dido Harding and Mike Coupe were unlawful. It held that Matt Hancock broke the law in…

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The chumocracy gets its day in court

Our Judicial Review with the UK’s leading race equality charity Runnymede Trust over the Government’s practice of handing out important roles to their friends, without fair or open competition, reached the High Court this week. 

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Challenging nepotism: a necessary step for equality and levelling up

Guest blog by Dr Halima Begum, Chief Executive of The Runnymede Trust
This week, the High Court will hear Judicial Review proceedings brought by the Runnymede Trust and Good Law Project. Our application represents a challenge…

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Government is ramping up its costs

Government has hit us with a shock legal bill in our challenge with Runnymede over their appointment of Conservative Peer Dido Harding and her ex-colleague Mike Coupe to run the disastrous Test and Trace programme…

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Should the law require Government to appoint based on merit?

It’s been a while since you heard from us in our ‘Jobs for the Boys’ case so we wanted to give you an update. As you’ll remember, the case focused on the appointments of Dido…

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Permission granted on our cronyism challenge – we’re going to Court

We are pleased to announce that our judicial review with Runnymede over the Government’s practice of handing public sector jobs to its mates without open recruitment has been granted permission. We will have our day…

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Jobs for their mates: We’re suing

Kate Bingham heads up Britain’s vaccine task force. She’s a venture capitalist with no public health experience, married to a Conservative minister. Dido Harding leads the Test and Trace system. She has no public health…

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