Cumberlege Connections

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Cumberlege Connections is a consultancy founded in 2001 by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, a Conservative peer in the House of Lords.


Ostensibly set up to offer, in Cumberlege's own words, "training courses", Cumberlege Connections is - the Lady maintains - "not a lobbying company".[1] According to the official website, the firm's unique selling points are as follows:

"Experiential Learning: Our programmes are firmly rooted in the principle that the best way of learning is by “doing”. Our training sessions are designed to be as interactive as possible, giving all participants the opportunity to put into practice the tactics and strategies learnt throughout the day. We always ensure that participants on our programmes will have an experience that they will never forget, embedding learning which individuals can draw on in the future.
"In-depth knowledge of Politics and the NHS: Cumberlege Connections, and Julia Cumberlege in particular, has experience of working at all levels in the NHS. She has a natural empathy and understanding of the working situations and politics, both with a small and large “p” that affect their everyday working lives.
"Network: The network of contacts and excellent relationships that Julia has established during her exceptional career ensure that we have assembled a team of the highest calibre to support us in our programmes.[2]

Programmes offered include a two-day course titled 'Politics, Power and Persuasion', aimed at nursing and midwifery leaders[3] and available at a cost of £550.00 (ex vat).[4] Also available is 'The Westminster Experience' in which senior NHS managers, clinicians and non-executives are offered "an opportunity to better understand the influence that national politics has on the NHS and in turn, how you can better influence for the benefit of your organisation".[5] This one-day course is available for £1200.00 (ex vat).[6]


Former staff


Following a series of "Cash for Influence" claims, it emerged in January 2009 that numerous peers in the House of Lords - including former government ministers - had established private companies through which they could offer their work as consultants to industry without being required to disclose the identities of their clients. Although the practice is within the rules of the House, members are required to declare an interest should they say anything in the chamber or sit on committees which could lead to a conflict of interests with their own companies.[8] Cumberlege was accused of abusing her political position to advance the interests of her private company, having reportedly used a Lords email address to recruit clients to her commercial courses organised by Cumberlege Connections. It was also claimed that she granted a Lords access pass to her business partner, without having declared her partner's interests in the official register.[9]

In her defence, Cumberlege stated:

This is not a lobbying company. It puts on training courses, for example, for young doctors, to tell them about Parliament and politicians. Many people in the NHS are naive about politics, not realising that the boards of their heath trusts are run by politicians... When I realised that the business was taking off I took special measures to separate it from the House of Lords, setting up its own website and employing staff outside. I have never claimed money from the public authorities, not even telephone charges. I have nothing to hide.[10]

However, she also conceded that she had not been "punctilious" in declaring her interests during Lords debates, owing to the fact that "It is such a long list and most of it is pro bono work".[11]

In the Lords Hansard transcript for the 9th November 2009 (during a debate on the Health Bill), Cumberlege states:

My Lords, I am very conscious that when I spoke in the previous debate, I did not fully declare my interest. I said that I work for the NHS, but I believe that I should have said that I run my company, which is called Cumberlege Connections.[12]

Contact, Resources, Notes


Address: Cumberlege Connections Ltd
Snells Cottage
The Green
Newick, Lewes
East Sussex BN8 4LA
Tel: +44 (0)1825 723833
Fax: +44 (0)1825 723873



  1. Andy Tate, "Sussex peer accused of misusing her position", The Argus, accessed 09.09.10
  2. Cumberlege Connections, "About Cumberlege Connections", accessed 09.09.10
  3. Cumberlege Connections, "Programmes for Nursing and Midwifery Leaders", accessed 09.09.10
  4. Cumberlege Connections, "Power, Politics and Persuasion", accessed 09.09.10
  5. Cumberlege Connections, "Programmes for NHS Chairs and non-executive Directors", accessed 09.09.10
  6. Cumberlege Connections, "Westminster Experience", accessed 09.09.10
  7. David Hencke and Rob Evans, "Tory peer accused of misusing Lords to boost her own firm", The Guardian, 29.01.09, accessed 09.09.10
  8. Gordon Rayner and Christopher Hope, "Peers using loophole to 'hide' their consultancy client lists", The Telegraph, 29.01.09
  9. Andy Tate, "Sussex peer accused of misusing her position", The Argus, accessed 09.09.10
  10. Andy Tate, "Sussex peer accused of misusing her position", The Argus, accessed 09.09.10
  11. Andy Tate, "Sussex peer accused of misusing her position", The Argus, accessed 09.09.10
  12. Lords Hansard, "Lords Hansard text for 9 Nov 2009", Column 639 accessed 09.09.10

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