Duncan Brack

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Revolving Door.jpg This article is part of the Revolving Door project of Spinwatch.

Duncan Brack was special adviser to secretary of state for energy and climate change Chris Huhne [1]from 2010 until Huhne's resignation in 2012. He is now a freelance environmental policy analyst and adviser, and an associate at the Chatham House and Green Alliance think tank. [2]


Think tanker

From 1995 to 2003, Brack was Senior Research Fellow then Head of the Sustainable Development Programme at the think-tank Chatham House (also known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs). From 2003 to present, he has been in the Energy, Environment and Development Programme; as Associate Fellow and Senior Research Fellow. His areas of expertise in this regard are listed on the Chatham House website as follows:

  • International environmental crimes
  • Illegal logging and the timber trade
  • Ozone depletion and the Montreal Protocol
  • International environmental regimes
  • Trade and environment[3]

Liberal Democrats role

Brack is a former Director of Policy for the party (1988 – 1994).[4] [5] He has also been a specialist adviser to the House of Commons Environment Select Committee and Environmental Audit Committee.

Upon his appointment as a government special adviser, Brack stood down from his role on the Liberal Democrats' Federal Conference Committee (FCC) - but continued as a member of the Federal Policy Committee (FPC). He is currently vice-chair of the FPC and vice-chair of the general election manifesto drafting group.

Special adviser on energy and climate change

From 2010 to 2012 Brack was special adviser at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, focusing mainly on UK, European and global climate policy and low-carbon investment.

Freelance consultant

Brack stood down as special adviser after Ed Davey replaced Chris Huhne in February 2012. Under government rules all Special Advisers must make an application regarding any future employment to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA), which then makes a recommendation to the appropriate Permanent Secretary.

According to ACOBA's November 2012 report, Brack sought permission in May 2012 'to set up as an independent consultant providing policy research and analysis on aspects of international environmental policy; writing and editing on current political issues and political history; and providing policy research and advice on aspects of UK government and environmental policy'.

The Committee however noted with concern that Mr Brack had accepted commissions with Chatham House, Westminster Explained, Maitland Communications and WWF before receiving approval from ACOBA for this independent consultancy. Nevertheless, it found these commissions permissible under the terms of his consultancy.

When considering the application, the Committee noted that Mr Brack had previously had dealings with some of the organisations he listed as possible clients but it recognised that they were not of a contractual nature, that he had contacts with these organisations prior to becoming Special Advisor and that the majority of his work will not be strongly related to his experience at DECC.

Terms set by ACOBA for Brack:

  • for six months from his last day of service he should submit a fresh application for any commission he wishes to accept with companies in policy areas within his remit at DECC (Climate policy (UK, EU and international), nuclear, gas, carbon capture and storage, biomass and biofuels, Green Investment Bank, energy-intensive industries and environmental taxation);
  • for 12 months from the same date, he should not undertake any work which involves providing advice to any company or organisation on the terms of any bid or contract relating to the work of DECC;
  • that, for 2 years from the same date, he should not become personally involved in lobbying UK Government Ministers or Crown servants, including Special Advisers, on behalf of any of his clients; and
  • once he has received approval to set up as an independent consultant, he must, for two years from his last day of service, seek confirmation from the Committee directly that each individual commission is permissible under the terms of his consultancy before taking it up. If, after enquiry, the Committee takes the view that a commission is, or may be, outside the terms of the consultancy he will be expected to submit a fresh application. [6]

However there is a discrepancy between the two year period listed for the last condition above on ACOBA's website and the Department of Energy & Climate Change's approval letter, which states one year.[7]

Consultancy roles

Since leaving DECC, Brack has undertaken commissions for:

Lib Dem vote for nuclear power a 'chimera'

Nuclear spin.png This article is part of the Nuclear Spin project of Spinwatch.

In September 2013 party members voted at the Lib Dem annual conference to accept nuclear power for the first time, albeit under the condition of no subsidies.

Brack however said the party's idea of allowing limited nuclear without subsidy is a 'chimera' because it would be impossible.


Contact, Resources, Notes



  • The Green Book: New Directions for Liberals in Government, edited by Neil Stockley, Duncan Brack, Paul Burrall and Mike Tuffrey (2013)
  • Duncan Brack, with Rob Bailey,'Ending Global Deforestation: Policy Options for Consumer Countries Programme Report', Chatham House September 2013
  • Duncan Brack, 'Combating Illegal Logging: Interaction with WTO Rules', Briefing Paper, Chatham House, May 2013
  • Duncan Brack, Alexander C Chandra, and Herjuno Kinasih, 'The Australian Government's Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill: WTO Implications', TKN Report, July 2012
  • Duncan Brack and Jon Buckrell, 'Controlling Illegal Logging: Consumer-Country Measures', Chatham House Briefing Paper, March 2011


  1. Department of Information Services, "Parliamentary Information List", accessed 07.09.10
  2. Green Alliance, Duncan Brack, website, undated, accessed 25 April 2012
  3. Chatham House, Duncan Brack, website accessed 1 October 2013
  4. Mark Pack, Duncan Brack stands down as chair of Federal Conference Committee, Liberal Democrat Voice, 24.06.10, accessed 13.09.10
  5. Duncan Brack, LinkedIn Profile, acc 1 Oct 2013
  6. Advisory Committee on Business Appointments Crown Servants, first accessed November 2012, and 1 October 2013 (Last updated: 19 September 2013)
  7. Approval letter - Duncan Brack from Moira Wallace, Permanent Secretary, Department of Energy & Climate Change, 20 July 2012 NB there is a discrepancy between the period listed in the DECC approval letter for seeking confirmation from the committee (one year) and the ACOBA website (two years).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, Appointments taken up by former Crown servants, 'Commissions [up to] November/December 2012', document last updated 19 September 2013
  9. Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, Appointments taken up by former Crown servants, dated May 2012, date of approval June 2012