Eight OFMDFM SPADs paid at least £458,400

The Belfast Telegraph’s David Gordon has been asking some “stupid” questions, with the help of a “lazy” Freedom of Information request, of OFMDFM the semi-detached polit-bureau – “OFMDFM said its special advisers are ‘paid within the pay band £57,300-£79,740’.” It’s an industrial wage.. of sorts.. From the Belfast Telegraph report

Special Ministerial advisers are classed as temporary civil servants and are party political appointments. First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have three apiece, while OFMDFM junior ministers Robin Newton and Gerry Kelly have one each. Ministers in other departments have one each.

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  • alan56

    Understand the need for advisors (surely not 8 in one dept), but their names and CVs should be widely in the public domain.

  • Did Martin have his three ‘advisors’ with him on the Rathlin-Corrymeela outing? Graduates of the Kesh?

  • Driftwood

    Understand the need for advisors

    I don’t, why are they needed?

  • Neil

    I would understand the need for advisors if a)they took the advice they were given, unlike say Sammy Wilson or the Ruanator (great nickname, I stole it from someone else on here) and b)they actually came up with something resembling legislation to take advice on. What do they advise on, wardrobe? For they always look very dapper, Marty and Robbo.

  • YelloSmurf

    NI Politics is generally overstaffed. Do we need 108 MLAs, and 12 departments. 6 Departments would do equally well.

    Having said that, I am currently sitting in an MLA’s office (and not being paid, in case anyone asks) which is more than busy enough dealing with screw ups from other branches of government (housing exec etc). So it suggests that, until the executive and depts sort it out, we will need back-benchers and thier staff.

  • abu nicola

    I don’t understand the need for advisors. Isn’t that what senior Civil Servants are paid to do, among other things. You can see the process quite clearly in “Yes Minister”.

  • Calsonton


    I do hope that the taxpayer is not funding your internet link and hardware; not to mention your time to surf the net.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I wonder on what basis SPADs are classified as ‘temporary’ or ‘civil servants’. They are partisan, unlike civil servants. And they were fully employed throughout every suspension of our erstwhile administration (earning more than MLAs when their salaries were cut).

  • cynic

    “Understand the need for advisors

    I don’t, why are they needed?”

    It’s the old KGB model writ large – on each side they probably have one who can read, one who can write and 2 to watch the intellectuals

  • cynic

    Are any of them related to the people they Advise?

  • alan56

    Wonder if anyone on here were to become a minister would they dispense with advisors. A good special advisor can bring specialist knowledge, work as an interface between minister and civil service and also serve as a trusted sounding board for ministers. That is not neccessarily a bad thing. However their quantity, cost and power needs to be closely monitored and everyone should know who they are

  • Driftwood

    They’re a shower of crooks, just like this lot…

    And if only the same outcome were to happen, O happy day!

  • Driftwood

    Meant to add, the similarities are incredible, just change a few names.

  • fair_deal

    “Isn’t that what senior Civil Servants are paid to do”

    The civil service lacks policy specialisation and types of advice that they can provide are restricted.

  • Driftwood

    would they dispense with advisors

    Yep-They can always ask their momma.

    To regard these puffed up Royston Vasey councillors as ‘Ministers’ in a UK region which contains 3% of the UK population is sheer arrogance.

    fair_deal, you are trying to defend expansionist bureacracy, policy specialisation my arse.

    At least the Turks and Caicos islands council got caught.

  • fair_deal


    “policy specialisation my arse”

    Aiming for a level of the debate at knee jerk as usual I see.

    I’m with fraser nelson on this one – special advisers are a good thing in government and our system actually needs more of them not less. See the recent criticism of the civil service by one of the GOATs. In a NI context you can multiply those criticisms.

    As for your concern about cost I’d be happy to lose parts of the civil service to ensure there is no extra cost to the tax payer.

    “At least the Turks and Caicos islands council got caught.”

    Yawn, piss poor internet smearing to imply things you can’t back up against local politicians.

  • Who are these OFMDFM SPADs and which ‘policy specialisations’ do they bring to their posts?

  • Driftwood

    Michael Misick and Peter Robinson seem to have a lot in common. In financial terms anyway.

    submit word here ‘amount’

  • YelloSmurf


    Not my time, but I feel chastened and will now go and do some work.