Muzzled by men from the Treasury

John Garrett's letter (12 February) adds significantly to the cause for alarm over the way the Treasury has seized a central role in policy-making that I set out in the NS the previous week ("The great white shark of Whitehall"). But he is wrong to suggest the Treasury is not averse to the National Audit Office assessing the underlying policies that shape its public service agreements (PSAs) with Whitehall departments.

The NAO is currently prohibited by statute from assessing government policies; and Treasury spokesmen at a recent academic seminar were not at all happy about the idea of freeing the NAO to assess the policies behind the PSAs. But we agree on the essential point: there must be pluralistic scrutiny of the whole PSA process, in parliament, by other government departments and agencies of accountability such as the National Audit Office. Neither the Treasury nor the Chancellor should dominate policy-making in the way that they now do.

Professor Stuart Weir
Democratic Audit, University of Essex

Show Hide image

We're hiring! Join the New Statesman as an editorial assistant

The NS is looking for a new recruit.

The New Statesman is hiring an editorial assistant, who will work across the website and magazine to help the office run smoothly. The ideal candidate will have excellent language skills, a passion for journalism, and the ability to work quickly and confidently under pressure.

The job is a broad one – you will need to understand the requirements of both halves of the magazine (politics and culture) as well as having an interest in the technical requirements of magazine and website production. Experience with podcasts and social media would be helpful.

The right person will have omnivorous reading habits and the ability to assimilate new topics at speed. You will be expected to help out with administration tasks around the office, so you must be willing to take direction and get involved with unglamorous tasks. There will be opportunities to write, but this will not form the main part of the job. (Our current editorial assistant is now moving on to a writing post.)

This is a full-time paid job, which would suit a recent graduate or someone who is looking for an entry into journalism. On the job training and help with career development will be offered.

Please apply with an email to Stephen Bush (Stephen. Bush @ with the subject line ‘Editorial Assistant application’.  

In your covering letter, please include a 300-word analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the New Statesman. Please also include 500 words on what you consider to be the most interesting trend in British politics, and your CV as a Word document. 

The deadline for applications is noon on Monday 12th October.