We help companies affected by political change. To access our political and commercial intelligence service, email GUIDE’s Chief Executive on greig@theguideconsultancy.com

Cabinet Committees hint at policy changes

The all-powerful Cabinet Committees (groups of Ministers charged with pushing issues that affect multiple Departments) have been shaken up. Among those changed is the health and social care taskforce, with Priti Patel's removal reflecting a different approach. Whatever changes though, Oliver Letwin remains ubiquitous - showing where real political power lies in Whitehall. Full details of the new line up are here: http://bit.ly/23y3ZDH

Don’t shoot the messenger: MPs vote for best journalists

We asked Populus to survey more than 120 MPs to find out which journalists give the best analysis of what’s really happening in Westminster.

To find out about the Government’s back benches, Tory MPs say turn to Isabel Hardman and Matthew Parris, with fellow Spectator journalists James Forsyth and Fraser Nelson also listed. Tim Montgomerie gets a mention, too – showing he has kept his finger on the Tory pulse even while he’s Stateside…

Labour MPs nominated Owen Jones, Jon Snow and Andrew Rawnsley to help explain the secrets of their side of the House, giving a thumbs up to some of the Guardian’s leading columnists. However, Labour Party members might be less thrilled that the Mail’s Dan Hodges paints an accurate, if rarely pretty, picture of what’s happening under Jeremy Corbyn.

Meanwhile, Iain Macwhirter of The Herald is the runaway favourite of SNP MPs.

Perhaps most importantly, we asked all MPs who gives the best overall analysis of politics – and the BBC scored a hat-trick. The Today Programme’s Nick Robinson won third place, the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg was second, and Andrew Neil from the Daily Politics was comfortably voted the best overall political journalist by Members of Parliament. Maybe a few Ministers will let him interview them now…

Here’s a summary of the final results:



Best overall

Best on Conservatives

Best on Labour


Neil (17%)

Hardman/Parris (16%)

Jones (11%)


Kuenssberg (12%)

Montgomerie (14%)

Snow/ Rawnsley (7%)


Robinson (6%)

Neil/ Forsyth/ Nelson (10%)

Robinson/ Hodges (4%)


For media comment and full data tables, please contact Greig Baker, GUIDE’s Chief Executive, on greig@theguideconsultancy.com

GUIDE is a political intelligence company based in Westminster. We commissioned Populus to interview 122 Members of Parliament between March-April 2016.

In the EU campaign, it turns out tax DOES have to be taxing…

Financial issues could become the weakest card for Remainers, where previously it was their strongest.

Most obviously, as well as being politically embarrassing, the PM’s tax arrangements could give a kick in the shins to the Remain team’s EU referendum campaign. For the next few weeks, anything that further undermines trust in the political establishment is going to make it harder for that establishment to win the plebiscite.

More subtly, a number of negative economic stories started to gain traction over the weekend – with notable examples including fears for Germany’s industrial base and reports of a new bail-out fund being needed to shore up Italian banks.

If people doubt the economic case for voting to stay in the EU, the Remainers may end up wishing they had pushed the emotional case earlier and harder…

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister

Many of our clients ask what a Johnson administration would be like. Three things stand out: its success or failure would depend on his staff appointments, as he is not a details man; it would probably include some form of “compulsory philanthropy” for big companies and the wealthy; and MPs like Andrea Leadsom would enjoy rapid promotion.

Please email us for more details.

A testimonial from Care England

Care England is the leading representative of independent care services in England. They have this to say about GUIDE:

"GUIDE presented Care England with a clear strategy on how to deliver a policy change, which would be very advantageous to our membership.   

This objective was reached ahead of time, and on budget. GUIDE were professional, did all the work associated with the proposal, but kept Care England fully informed throughout the process.

The GUIDE consultancy is professional, reliable, cost-effective and above all, they deliver on the objectives which have been set."

Civil Service school

The Cabinet Office will be working with Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government to promote Social Impact Bonds and train Civil Servants in commissioning techniques. The “Government Outcomes Lab” will focus support on local commissioners, as part of Whitehall’s attempt to coordinate approaches by Local Authorities, the private sector and charities (paradoxically, within the Government’s devolution agenda).

Blurred lines

Budget pressures are blurring the line between central Government and large corporations, with Whitehall asking companies to deliver more and more of its policy agenda. The National Living Wage and Apprenticeship Levy are obvious examples and another step is taken today with the Cabinet Office’s creation of ‘national standards’ for private firms, designed to increase social mobility by tracking employees’ socio-economic background from childhood. For more details, see the announcement here: http://bit.ly/1Uc9xlA

How GCHQ will influence public sector contracts

This month, the Cabinet Office has released more details about the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which will be led by GCHQ’s Ciaran Martin and open for business in October. Its first job will be coordinate with the Bank of England to advise companies (especially financial services firms) on improving their cyber security. Notably, the NCSC will start work at the same time as the National Infrastructure Commission begins to advise Government on preparing for 5G.

All this points to the vital role of digital infrastructure for big Government policies from smart cities, to driverless cars, to public services being “digital by default”. Soon, if private companies want a piece of the public procurement pie, they will have to help deliver improved national cyber security too, just as they are already being forced to deliver social policies like apprenticeships to have a chance of winning any major Government contract.

More social policy by procurement

Companies seeking large contracts with local or central Government will soon have to add boosting IT services to the plethora of social policies (including apprenticeships, wage equality and gender equality) that they have to deliver beyond their core offer if they are to win public procurement bids. The Treasury’s instructions to Andrew Andonis’s National Infrastructure Commission give a hint of what’s to come:

“The Commission will advise the Government and its recommendations will underpin the Government’s 5G strategy, which will be announced in spring 2017.”

We expect all big public sector tenders (including those procuring beyond explicit IT and comms needs) will require a contribution to 5G infrastructure within the next two years. The first companies to adapt to this upcoming change will enjoy significant commercial advantages in terms of market share in the public sector.

Email us for more details.

IDS resignation forces ‘one nation’ policies

Two practical outcomes of IDS’s resignation will lead to more spending on poorer voters. With three months still to go until the EU referendum clears the air, the Government feels it needs to tack to the centre to counter IDS’s criticisms. At the same time, the Prime Minister has promoted pro-Remain MPs, who tend to come from the left of the party. So, to some extent at least, despite the continued pressure of austerity, IDS will have succeeded in his stated aim of changing Government policy “from the outside”, after being repeatedly dismissed while in post.


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