First of all a huge thank you to the hundreds of people who have texted, emailed, and sent LinkedIn messages of congratulations.
However, as a civilian I have been chastised by the Cabinet Office and former colleagues so I have two apologies to make. The first is to my former colleagues in Cabinet Office where, due to my desire to keep words to a minimum, they are concerned that I have not detailed the full terms of the appointment. This has meant that they have had to make several calls to journalists so that they can add the fine detail into their articles… they could have just posted to this blog, buy hey ho.
As I would not wish to be party to the Cabinet Office getting a reputation for opaqueness, being economical with the truth or avoiding answering FOI requests I have detailed the full text of the appropriate section from the letter following the approval from the Prime Minister.
The second apology is to former colleagues who have asked me "what the hell am I doing going through the appointments commission process" as they are concerned that others might now need to follow where in the past many have ignored it, and the Cabinet Office have not policed it.
First of all it is worth saying that I agree with the process. It is right that when former officials leave service before they join a new organisation it is validated that the role has been given on merit and not on past official dealings. We would all agree that it is wrong for an official to have recently signed a contract with a company and then suddenly turn up in a new high paid job at that company. Just as it would be wrong that they had commercial confidential information on their competitors or had inside knowledge on a new unpublished Government policy that might advantage the new employee.
When I decided to leave Government in March 2010, I discussed this matter with Sir Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, and I made it clear then that I would commit to use the appointments code.
Having only met Huawei twice (although in the spirit of declaring who we have all met I did bump into one Huawei person after I had done a presentation and I told him I couldn't speak to him so that might count as the third) in seven years before I physically left; I have undertaken no procurements with Huawei, or have any commercial information on their competitors that might be of use to Huawei and as you know I led the transparency agenda on technology – so there was no advanced policy information either. The tariff, and resultant personal cost of this contact, is detailed above.