News story: UK government’s sale of Green Investment Bank completed

The Climate Change and Industry Minister, Claire Perry, confirmed today (18 August 2017) that the sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to Macquarie Group Limited has now been completed.

The £2.3 billion deal ensures that all the taxpayer funding invested in GIB since its creation, including set-up costs, has been returned with a gain of approximately £186 million.

As well as fully meeting the government’s objectives, the deal secures the future of the GIB with an ambitious new owner committed to growing the business. The Edinburgh office will be home to a new revenue-generating business as well as providing services to the green energy portfolios of both Macquarie and GIB in the UK.

The government decided that moving it into the private sector now would free it from the constraints of public sector ownership allowing it to increase investment in our green infrastructure as we transition to a green economy. GIB’s independent Board supported the government’s decision to sell the business to Macquarie.

In order to build on the company’s success within the private sector, Macquarie and GIB have announced today that the company will now be known as the Green Investment Group (GIG) so that it will be able to make overseas investments.

Climate Change and Industry Minister Claire Perry said:

We led the world in setting up the Green Investment Bank and it is now being copied by others. Now that it’s in the private sector, it will be able to operate on an international level to tackle the global challenge of climate change. It is also perfectly placed to help us finance green initiatives for our Clean Growth Plan and realise the commitments set out in the Paris Agreement.

The green ‘special share’ held by the Green Purposes Company Limited also comes into force now. Five independent trustees have the power to approve or reject any proposed changes to GIG’s green purposes in the future.

The government will continue to hold an interest in a portfolio of a small number of GIB’s existing green infrastructure investments. These assets will continue to be managed by GIB until they can be sold on in a way which returns best value for taxpayers’ money.

Further information

  1. The sale of the Green Investment Group (formerly Green Investment Bank) was announced in April 2017. It was secured through a competitive process and met the objectives outlined when it launched the sales process last year. As well as securing value for money for the taxpayer and freeing GIG from the constraints of public sector ownership, it will enable GIG to grow its support for green projects.

  2. The sale proceeds of £1.75 billion, which has now been received, sees all taxpayer funding invested in GIG returned with a gain of around £186 million. This, together with over £500 million of current outstanding commitments which will now be met by Macquarie and its partners rather than taxpayers, means that the transaction value is around £2.3 billion.

  3. The government has now repealed the relevant provisions of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, removing statutory controls over GIG’s green purposes to ensure that GIG can be re-classified to the private sector.

  4. The government will provide a report to Parliament on the sale, as required under the Enterprise Act 2016 in the Autumn.

News story: Professor Duncan Wingham appointed as Executive Chair Designate of the Natural Environment Research Council

Professor Wingham has been appointed Executive Chair Designate of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) following nearly six years as Chief Executive of the council, Science Minister Jo Johnson announced today.

Professor Wingham’s current term heading up NERC has been extended from 31 December 2017 through to 31 December 2020. He will continue as Chief Executive until the end of March 2018 and, upon the creation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on 1 April, will become NERC’s Executive Chair.

Executive Chairs will be crucial to the ambition for UKRI to be a world-leading research and innovation organisation. They will lead each of the 9 councils that will be part of UKRI, and the role will combine the responsibilities of the current Chair and Chief Executive of each council.

Announcing the appointment, Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

Professor Wingham’s wealth of knowledge and experience in academia and science, and his pivotal role in setting up the NERC Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, makes him well-placed to take on the role of Executive Chair and continue being a key part of our global leadership in the environmental sciences.

Working in close coordination with research communities across the UK, the UKRI Executive Chairs, along with the Government’s additional £4.7bn for research and development, will ensure that we continue to punch above our weight in global science.

Sir Mark Walport, UKRI Chief Executive Designate said:

I am very pleased that Duncan will continue to provide excellent leadership of NERC as its first Executive Chair. As part of UK Research and Innovation’s Executive Committee, Duncan will play a critical role in championing and increasing the impact of Environmental Science research through UK Research and Innovation, thus helping to ensure that UK Research and Innovation is the world’s leading research and innovation public funding agency.

I look forward to continuing to work with Duncan to make sure that the UK maintains its world-leading position in the Environmental Sciences and maximising the contribution it makes to the UK’s research and innovation landscape.

Professor Duncan Wingham, Chief Executive and Executive Chair Designate of NERC said:

I am delighted to be appointed as the first Executive Chair to lead NERC in its new position within UKRI. Environmental science is central to achieving prosperity in harmony with the environment, both here in the UK and globally across the world. NERC has a proud tradition of contributing to that aim.

UKRI provides us with new opportunities to thread environmental science into solutions to the greatest societal and business challenges we face. I look forward to working with all our colleagues within UKRI and across the research community to achieve that.

Notes for Editors

  1. NERC is the UK’s main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. It coordinates some of the world’s most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on earth, and much more. NERC is a non-departmental public body, which receives funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Working internationally, NERC has bases in the most hostile parts of the planet. They run a fleet of research ships and aircraft and invest in satellite technology to monitor gradual environmental change on a global scale. NERC provides knowledge, forewarning and solutions to the key global environmental challenges facing society.

  2. Operating across the whole of the UK and with a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UK Research and Innovation will bring together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England. UK Research and Innovation will ensure that the UK maintains its world leadership in research and innovation, by creating a system that “best environment for research and innovation to flourish. It will come into existence on 1 April 2018.

  3. Professor Wingham received a BSc from the University of Leeds in 1979, and a PhD from the University of Bath in 1984, both in physics. He joined University College London in 1986, where he held lecturing posts at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory and the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. He was appointed as a Chair in the Department of Space and Climate Physics in 1996, and was Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at UCL from 2005 to 2010. He was founder and Director of the NERC Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) from 2000 to 2005, which among other things discovered the widespread mass loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and its origin in accelerated ocean melting. He was instigator and Project Scientist of the Esa CryoSat-1 and CryoSat-2 satellite missions. He was first appointed as NERC Chief Executive in 2012.

News story: Andrea Coscelli named CEO of Competition and Markets Authority

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, has appointed Andrea Coscelli as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Dr Coscelli has held the position of Acting CEO since July 2016, taking on the role from the previous incumbent, Alex Chisholm.

The CMA is the UK’s independent competition authority. It has responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law, with the aim of making markets work well for consumers, businesses and the economy.

Dr Coscelli has been an Executive Director at the CMA since 2013. Prior to joining the CMA, Dr Coscelli was the Director of Economic Analysis at Ofcom, the regulatory and competition authority of the telecommunications, postal and broadcasting industries. He was previously a Vice President at Charles River Associates where he represented many different businesses on competition and regulation matters in various European countries.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark said:

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Andrea Coscelli as CEO of the Competition and Markets Authority. Dr Coscelli is a recognised expert in competition and regulation, and commands respect in the business, and regulatory and academic community. I have no doubt he will make good use of his experience to further the CMA’s position as a world-respected regulatory and enforcement body.

I want to congratulate Dr Coscelli on his success in the role of Acting CEO, and I look forward to working closely with him in the coming years.

Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive Officer of the Competition and Markets Authority, said:

I am honoured to have been chosen to lead the organisation through the next phase of its development. The CMA has a central role to play in helping ensure people get a good deal from businesses. The role of markets is under public scrutiny and we will be actively engaging in that debate. As a core part of our role we will aim to connect right across the UK’s nations and regions to fully understand the challenges different groups of consumers and businesses face, and how we can help them.

We must also help ensure the continuing waves of exciting innovation in products and services fully benefit consumers and growth in the economy. As part of this, we need to ensure we intervene in markets in a timely and effective way, and only when necessary.

The coming years bring significant opportunities and challenges, in particular shaping and resourcing our regime for when the UK exits the EU. We enter this new phase from a strong base, with a skilled staff and well established ways of working.

David Currie, Competition and Markets Authority Chairman, said:

I and the CMA Board are delighted at Andrea’s appointment as Chief Executive. He has been outstanding in his role as Acting CEO over the past year, as the CMA has greatly increased competition and consumer enforcement, and was a key member of the senior team during the organisation’s successful formation. We have every confidence in his leadership as the CMA steps up to the major opportunities and challenges that the next few years will bring.

Notes to editors

The CMA has responsibility for:

  • investigating mergers which could restrict competition
  • conducting market studies and investigations in markets where there may be competition and consumer problems
  • investigating where there may be breaches of UK or EU prohibitions against anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant positions
  • bringing criminal proceedings against individuals who commit the cartel offence
  • enforcing consumer protection legislation to tackle practices and market conditions that make it difficult for consumers to exercise choice
  • co-operating with sector regulators and encouraging them to use their competition powers
  • considering regulatory references and appeals.

Its responsibilities are supported by a range of powers which are based on the Enterprise and Regulatory Act 2013.

News story: £86 million funding announced for new medicine and technology

The government has announced new funding of up to £86 million for UK firms to develop medical breakthroughs.

The package will allow small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop and test new technologies in the NHS. This could include innovations such as digital technologies to help patients manage their conditions from home instead of a hospital, or to develop new medicines.

Access to this funding will also speed up the time it takes to get new technologies from the lab to patients in the NHS.

The announcement is the first step in taking forward the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) – an independently chaired review, which made recommendations to government on speeding up patient access to new technologies.

Technologies that have previously received support are already bringing benefits to patients. For example, MyCOPD is an online system that helps people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) better manage their condition. It has helped over 32,000 patients by helping them improve their breathing, manage flare-ups and track medicine use. This reduces reliance on GP and hospital appointments.

Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy said:

The government’s ambition is that NHS patients get world-leading, life-changing treatments as fast as possible.

That can’t happen unless we support medical innovation and tear down the barriers – like speed to market and access to funding – that can get in the way, especially for SMEs.

Our investment in innovation shows how much we value the UK life sciences sector.

The funding is split into 4 packages. These include:

  • £39 million of funding to the Academic Health Science Networks (ASHNs), enabling them to assess the benefits of new technologies and support NHS uptake of those that deliver real benefits to patients according to the local need
  • £35 million Digital Health Technology Catalyst for innovators – this will match-fund the development of digital technologies for use by patients and the NHS
  • up to £6 million over the next 3 years to help SMEs with innovative medicines and devices get the evidence they need by testing in the real world, building on existing opportunities such as the Early Access to Medicine Scheme (EAMS)
  • £6 million Pathway Transformation Fund, which will help NHS organisations integrate new technologies into everyday practices - this will help overcome more practical obstacles such as training staff on how to use new equipment

Business Minister Lord Prior said:

The government has an important role to play in driving innovation that will increase economic growth and support businesses across the country. Through this funding we will quicken the pace of scientific discovery and innovation in the UK. Our Industrial Strategy will boost our status a global hub for life sciences.

Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) CEO Peter Ellingworth said:

ABHI welcomes the announcement as a further commitment to supporting the UK medical technology sector. These additional funding initiatives will complement work already in place on Innovation Tariff, NICE processes and horizon scanning as part of the overall Accelerated Access Review. The measures could significantly enhance the UK as a destination of choice for MedTech companies, in turn, benefiting patients, the health system and the wider economy.

Ben Moody, Head of Health and Social Care at techUK, said:

The UK is a world leader in health tech but we must not be complacent. The Digital Health Technology Catalyst will be a great boost for innovators in the sector.

The announcement also recognises that the resources needed to generate evidence to show that a technology is worth reimbursing can be prohibitively difficult for SMEs - so the fund to support evidence generation for innovative devices is particularly welcome.

British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA) Chief Executive, Doris-Ann Williams MBE, said:

BIVDA very much welcomes the government’s announcement about funding towards practical support for the introduction of new medical technologies into the NHS.

It is a constant source of frustration that implementation of new tests takes years to achieve. It means that not only are people not benefiting from improved diagnosis and disease management but also that the NHS is losing the chance to gain cost efficiencies along clinical pathways.

We would like to congratulate the Department of Health and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on pulling together these funding streams ahead of the Industrial Strategy to show practical support of their intent to foster healthy and vibrant Life Sciences industries in the UK.

News story: New online maps to help Britons experience their local greenspaces

  • Improved access to greenspaces will help tackle health and environmental issues

The culmination of a project to comprehensively map greenspaces throughout Great Britain is published today (10 July 2017). The greenspace mapping project funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and delivered by the Ordnance Survey provides the public with a rich source of information on the location and extent of greenspaces up and down the country. Greenspaces featured on the map include local parks, play areas, sports pitches and allotments.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

Greenspaces are a vital part of our landscape and this new database and online map will make it easier for people across the country to access local parks and lead healthier lives.

With the completion of this mapping project, we have delivered on an important commitment and shown yet again how innovation can improve everyday lives.

The free comprehensive maps of greenspace, which includes areas such as National Nature Reserves, will provide a hugely valuable resource to the public and public sector organisations who manage these important spaces. As well as providing information about access points to these sites, this rich dataset will provide a framework that will support a wide variety of analysis on our greenspaces to ensure they continue to prosper.

The dataset is available from OS via or can be viewed via OS Maps

News story: Innovative vehicle to grid technology to receive £20 million

The new investment will support vehicle-to-grid projects as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy and create a smarter energy system, while increasing the numbers of electric cars on UK roads.

The projects will investigate technology that allows plug-in electric vehicles to not only draw power from the grid when charging but return it to people’s homes or back to the grid.

There are already 100,000 electric cars and 11,000 chargepoints thanks to government support. As this number grows they become a resource for a smart electricity grid – bringing benefits for drivers and creating a more flexible and efficient energy system.

Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry, Claire Perry said:

The government is a world leader in tackling climate change and we are committed to investing in clean energy innovation to support the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy.

Vehicle to grid technology provides another opportunity for the UK to showcase to the world our leading expertise in research and development which is at the heart of our ambitious Industrial Strategy. This competition could unlock significant economic benefits for the UK - helping to create jobs in this burgeoning sector while helping to reduce our emissions.

The new funding from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) underlines the government’s commitment to innovative technologies. Financial support for energy innovation will double by 2021 and over £600 million is already being invested to accelerate the transition to ultra-low emission vehicles.

The £20 million announced today will be awarded to three types of innovative vehicle to grid projects:

  • feasibility studies – investigating the ways vehicle to grid technology can be used in the future
  • industrial research or experimental development - for example, to develop vehicle-to-grid charging equipment
  • demonstrator trials in the real-world environment - projects that trial vehicle to grid technology in different locations across the country

Transport Minister Jesse Norman said:

Electric vehicles are already helping thousands of motorists cut their fuel costs, and now there is an extra financial incentive for motorists to go green.

The number of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads is at record levels, with the latest figures showing that there are over 100,000 plug-in cars and vans registered.

The government’s ambition is that nearly all cars and vans on our roads are zero emission by 2050.

The competition process will start in the next few weeks with the aim of winners being notified in December and projects starting in early 2018.

Simon Edmonds, Manufacturing and Materials Director at Innovate UK, said:

These competitions present ground-breaking opportunities for UK businesses to develop the next stage of vehicle to grid products and services. The potential of these technologies are huge, both for businesses and consumers.

News story: Businesses get on board with the Prompt Payment Code

32 of the biggest suppliers to the Government have voluntarily committed to pay 95% of invoices within 60 days - and to work towards adopting 30 days as the norm.

This fulfils a key manifesto pledge and will help the cash flow of small businesses. It is estimated that small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK are collectively owed more than £26bn in overdue payments.

The signatories to the code are major strategic suppliers who typically have contracts across government of more than £100m. Together they account for around 40% of government procurement spend.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Cabinet Office, Caroline Nokes said:

This is a major boost to payment practices in the UK. Paying invoices on time is vital in providing healthy cash flow to smaller businesses, to help them survive and thrive.

Small Business Minister Margot James said:

We want the UK to be the best place in the world to start and grow a business, but the UK’s small-to-medium-sized businesses are currently owed over £26bn in overdue payments. Such unfair payment practices hamper a business’s ability to invest in growth, and have no place in an economy that works for everyone.

It is only right that the Government should lead by example, and it’s great to see all 32 of our strategic suppliers signed up and committed to fair payment terms.

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) encourages businesses to sign up to the Code, which is administered by the Chartered Institute for Credit Management (CICM) on behalf of BEIS.

The voluntary code of practice publicly signifies organisations’ commitment to fair payment terms to suppliers, especially smaller businesses.

Philip King, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Credit Managers, said:

It is important to see that all of the Government’s strategic suppliers are now leading by example by signing up to the Prompt Payment Code. The PPC allows suppliers to raise a challenge if they feel they are not being treated fairly by a signatory, and such challenges are proving successful not only in delivering payment but also in further improving practices and processes. It’s vital that businesses feel confident and have certainty that they will be paid on time, as well as having a route to challenge if they need to.

Find out more about the Prompt Payment Code.

News story: Business Minister Margot James urges FTSE 350 firms to improve gender transparency

Business Minister Margot James is urging chief executives of FTSE 350 companies to be transparent about the number of women in their leadership positions and hand over data to independent reviewers on increasing female representation in business.

It comes after the leaders of an independent review into increasing female representation in the senior ranks of the UK’s largest businesses wrote to FTSE 350 companies requesting their latest data for the number of men and women in the executive pipeline.

In November 2016, Sir Philip Hampton, Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline, and Dame Helen Alexander, Chair of UBM, who are chairing the review, set a voluntary target for FTSE 100 companies to increase the proportion of women sitting on executive committees and their direct reports to 33% by 2020. Statistics published at the time showed just 25% of those positions were occupied by women.

The latest statistics on gender representation at the top of business are expected to be published later this year.

Business Minister Margot James said:

Businesses have already made great strides over the last six years by more than doubling the number of women in board positions.

But our largest businesses must continue to grasp the nettle which is why today I am urging CEOs of FTSE 350 companies to help drive the agenda for greater inclusivity in the workplace by becoming more transparent about the gender makeup of their leadership teams.

Sir Philip Hampton and Dame Helen Alexander said:

We look forward to receiving the data from FTSE 350 companies on the gender representation at Executive Committee and Direct Reports over the summer and will be compiling our report on progress and the sharing of best practice for publication later this year.

We anticipate the majority of companies will have robust action plans in place now to address any shortfall of women in their top teams, and welcome efforts from all companies to improve the gender balance, particularly those companies yet to meet the 33% target.

In the coming months, Business Minister Margot James is expected to chair the first ever meeting of the Business Diversity and Inclusion Group, set up to make sure government and industry work more closely to remove barriers in the workplace.

The group will bring together the leaders of four industry-led diversity reviews:

  • Sir Philip Hampton and Dame Helen Alexander
  • Baroness McGregor-Smith, who led a review into BME participation and progression in the workplace
  • Sir John Parker, who is leading a review into diversity on boards
  • Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Government champion for women in finance

Separately, on 6 April 2017 legislation came into effect, requiring employers with more than 250 staff to publish their gender pay gaps. They must publish the following figures on their own website and on a government website:

  • Gender pay gap (mean and median averages)
  • Gender bonus gap (mean and median averages)
  • Proportion of men and women receiving bonuses
  • Proportion of men and women in each quartile of the organisation’s pay structure

Notes to editors

  1. The Hampton-Alexander Review was published in November 2016. The key recommendations were:
    • 33% target for FTSE 350 Boards by the end of 2020
    • 33% target for FTSE 100 Executive Committees and Direct Reports to the Executive Committee on a combined basis by 2020
    • FTSE 350 companies to increase number of women roles of Chair, Senior Independent Director and into Executive Director positions on their boards.
  2. The Government has invited the following individuals and organisations to be founder members of the Business Diversity and Inclusion Group, which will meet quarterly:
    • Sir Philip Hampton and Dame Helen Alexander
    • Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith
    • Sir John Parker
    • Jayne-Anne Gadhia
    • Confederation of British Industry
    • Institute of Directors
    • BITC
    • Financial Reporting Council
    • Equality and Human Rights Commission

News story: Government announces appointment of 2 Acas Council members

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has today (30 June 2017) announced the appointment of 2 new members to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) Council.

Acas is an independent non-departmental public body and the Acas Council is the overarching governance body for Acas. The Council consists of 12 members, including the Chair, and membership is drawn from employer, trade union and independent backgrounds.

Ben Summerskill joins the Council as an independent member and Christina McAnea as an employee representative.

Sir Brendan Barber, Acas chair, said:

I am delighted to welcome Ben Summerskill and Christina McAnea to the Acas Council. Their diverse knowledge and experience within employment relations will be invaluable in our role as independent, impartial and trusted workplace experts.

The Council sets out Acas’ strategic direction, policies and priorities. I look forward to working with Ben and Christina to maintain our reputation as Britain’s leading advisory service on workplace relations.

Additional information

Ben Summerskill

Ben Summerskill is the director of the Criminal Justice Alliance, a coalition of 120 organisations committed to improving the criminal justice system. Previously he was chief executive at Stonewall from 2003 to 2014 , which campaigns for the equality of lesbian, gay and bisexual people across Britain. Before that Ben Summerskill worked as a journalist at titles including The Observer, Express and London Evening Standard.

Christina McAnea

Christina McAnea is Unison’s National Secretary for Health and is the lead negotiator on behalf of NHS workers across the UK. Christina has held various positions at the union since 1987, including Head of Education. Before that she worked at the GMB trade union.

Role of Acas

Acas aims to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides 3 main services:

  • advice on workplace matters through a helpline which received 943,500 calls in 2015 to 2016 and a website with around 10 million visitors annually
  • conciliation services which help resolve disputes between employers and individual employees or groups of employees – last year Acas received 92,172 notifications of individual disputes and was involved in 970 collective disputes
  • tailored training and advice for individual organisations – in 2015 to 2016, Acas trained over 34,000 delegates

Acas is independent of ministers, but is one of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s key partners. Acas’ services contribute to delivering a competitive, efficient and effective labour market which supports economic growth and employment.

News story: Lesley Cowley named as new chair of Companies House

She replaces Brian Landers who served as chairman between August 2012 and March 2017.

Companies House incorporates and dissolves limited companies, registers the information companies are legally required to supply and makes that information available to the public.

Business Minister Lord Prior said:

I am very pleased to appoint Lesley Cowley to this role. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge in transformative digital services to ensure Companies House continues to deliver quality services.

Chair of Companies House, Lesley Cowley said:

I am delighted to be chosen as the new Chair of Companies House and look forward to helping the team transform both the business and the digital services provided to Companies House customers.


Lesley Cowley was appointed non-executive chair of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in October 2014 and re-appointed in October 2016. She was appointed lead non-executive director of The National Archives in January 2016 and a non-executive director of AQL in October 2014.

Lesley Cowley was previously CEO of Nomine between 2004 and 2014. She also served as chair of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and chair of the Country Codes Name Supporting Organisation. She has previously been a member of the UK Government Cyber Crime Reduction Partnership. She was made an OBE for services to the internet and e-commerce in 2011.

Further information

The appointment has been made in accordance with the OCPA Code of Practice. Under the Code, any significant political activity undertaken by an appointee in the last 5 years must be declared. This is defined as including holding office, public speaking, making a recordable donation, or candidature for election. Lesley Cowley has declared no political activity.