Brian Bender

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Sir Brian Bender KCB is a retired top Whitehall mandarin who is now chairman of the London Metal Exchange (LME) and a senior adviser to PR and lobbying firm MHP Communications.

Life after the civil service

Bender's last position before leaving the civil service in April 2009 was as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform. The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments granted him 'unconditional approval' to take up his role at MHP (formerly known as Mandate Communications) in July 2010 and as chairman of the LME in April 2010. [1]

He retired on an annual income of £75,000 with a lump sum of up to £220,000 to £225,000 - a pension that the Telegraph newspaper estimated would be worth £1.85million if bought on the open market. [2]

Corporate hospitality

Bender was reportedly Whitehall's biggest recipient of corporate hospitality in 2008. Hospitality came from firms such as KPMG, BT, Shell and Vodafone and included tickets for him and his wife for the Derby, Wimbledon and the Chelsea Flower Show.[2]

A spokesman for the union of senior managers in the public service, the First Division Association defended Bender's record of accepting such hospitality.

It is vital that senior civil servants maintain contacts and relationships outside government. It should not be regarded as extraordinary that civil servants in the department that deals with business have contacts with private enterprise or that those in the department for culture attend cultural events.
Corporate hospitality, at the low levels outlined, is accepted practice in business for maintaining relationships. It would be ludicrous to suggest that conduct could be influenced by the offer of a meal or attendance at a function.

The spokesman added that the key was to ensure that "any hospitality does not compromise 'personal judgment or integrity'". [2]


According to his biography on MHP Communications' website:

Brian retired from the civil service in 2009, having been a Permanent Secretary (the most senior civil servant in a UK government department) for nearly 10 years. His last post was leading the Department for Business, and before that the Department for Trade and Industry and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (leading the process of creating that Department in 2001). In his career Sir Brian has overseen a range of policy areas including energy, climate change, science and innovation, better regulation, and, latterly, helping business through the economic downturn. He also led cross-Government work on risk management. Brian has considerable EU experience, having served twice in the UK Representation in Brussels. He was also Head of the European Secretariat of the Cabinet Office 1994-98. [3]

In April 2010 he was appointed chairman of the Board of the London Metal Exchange and was given "unconditional approval" by ACOBA to take up the role.[4]

He was also given "unconditional approval" to take up his role with Mandate Communications (now MHP Communications) in July 2010.[4]


  • member of the Offshore Advisory Board of Mainstream Renewable Power[3]
  • Governor of the Institute for Government[3]
  • Governor of the Dulwich College[3]
  • Associate of Criticaleye,[3] October 2009. Approved by ACOBA "subject to the condition that, for 12 months from his last day of service, he should not be personally involved in lobbying UK Government Ministers or Crown servants, including Special Advisers, on behalf of his new employer or its members".[4]
  • Chair of European Communication and Consultation Group, Honda Motor Co. Ltd, August 2009. Approved by ACOBA "subject to the automatic three-month waiting period from his last day of service and the condition that, for 12 months from the same date, he should not be personally involved in lobbying UK Government Ministers or Crown servants, including Special Advisers, on behalf of his new employer"[4]
  • Adviser, British Standards Institute, October 2009. Given "unconditional approval" by ACOBA.[4]




See: Fracking lobbying firms


  1. Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACoBA) Annual Report 2010-2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Christopher Hope 'Brian Bender, civil servant who accepted most freebies, to retire with £1.85m pension', 13 February 2009, accessed 10 August 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Sir Brian Bender, MHP Communications, accessed 22 February 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Twelfth Report 2010-2011 Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, accessed 8 December 2014 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "AC" defined multiple times with different content