A second Whitehall adviser was appointed to a role at Greensill Capital while working for the civil service part-time, it has emerged amid intense scrutiny over government links to the now collapsed company.
David Brierwood – a former Morgan Stanley banker – combined his role as a “crown representative” at the Cabinet Office with being a director for the supply chain finance business for three and a half years, the Guardian reported.
It comes after Sir Eric Pickles, who chairs the government body responsible for vetting private sector appointments of former civil servants and ministers, called for urgent reform of the system to correct a “number of anomalies” in the appointment system.
He also expressed shock after it emerged earlier this week Bill Crothers, the former chief commercial officer in government, began working for Greensill as a part-time adviser on the board in September 2015 and did not leave his civil service role until November that year in an appointment approved by the Cabinet Office.
According to Mr Brierwood’s LinkedIn page, he was appointed as a crown representative to the Cabinet Office in October 2014 — a position he held until June 2018.
“Crown representatives are appointed to ensure that government gets the best possible value from government contracts,” the description on his page says.
“We have been chosen alongside departments to inspire them to be more commercially savvy and engage early with suppliers, improve relationships and negotiate the best contracts on behalf of government”.
It adds that he joined Greensill Capital as a director just two months after joining the civil service and held the position at the company until February 2021.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing, but links between ministers, officials and businesses are under intense scrutiny following the collapse of the supply chain finance company and revelations about David Cameron’s lobbying activities for the firm.
“Crown representatives do not participate in the procurement process nor are they able to award any contracts,” a Cabinet Office spokesperson told The Independent.
“They are part time senior executives recruited for their working knowledge of a sector to help ensure value for money for the taxpayer.”
“All crown representatives go through regular propriety checks and cannot work with a supplier where there could a conflict of interest,” they added. “Mr Brierwood’s crown representative role was not anything to do with supply chain finance”.
Addressing intensifying questions over the access Greensill has within government and concerns over the appointment of Mr Crothers at the firm while working in the civil service as the chief procurement officer, Boris Johnson told reporters yesterday he “thoroughly” agreed with Lord Pickles’ evidence to a committee of MPs.
“I think the most important thing is for us to get to the bottom of it properly and I want all ministers and civil servants to be making the information that needs to be known to Mr Boardman and let’s see what he has to say. You’re absolutely right, we need to understand what’s gone on here.”
At least three separate parliamentary inquiries are now under way into the scandal around former Conservative prime minister Mr Cameron’s attempts to lobby ministers to allow Greensill access to government support schemes, alongside a government probe launched by Mr Johnson, which will be conducted behind closed doors and report to the prime minister.