Whitehall tech policy advisor rocks up on Love Island

Written by Tamsin Rutter on 20 June 2018 in News
News

Civil servant Zara McDermott has joined the ITV reality show

 

The newest participant on reality TV show Love Island is a civil servant who has helped develop government policy on renewable energy technology.

Zara McDermott, who now works at the Department for Education and whose LinkedIn profile describes her as a post-16 education policy advisor, joined the show on Sunday.

But she failed to tell her Whitehall employers she would be appearing on Love Island, instead informing them that she would be taking a career break to work on TV, according to reports.

DfE has not commented on the specific case, but pointed out that civil servants must abide by the civil service code even when they are on a career break.

McDermott joined the Department of Energy and Climate Change on a two-year apprenticeship in September 2015, after finishing her A-levels.

She wrote on her LinkedIn profile that at DECC she was leading on fraud for the Renewable Heat Initiative scheme, contributing to policy development on renewable heating technology, and dealing with parliamentary questions, briefings for minsters and correspondence.

The 21-year-old joined DfE in October last year.

A government source, quoted in the Sun, said: “She said she was taking a career break to work on TV but did not give specific details.

“She needs to be very careful because the rules are quite vague about what would be deemed bad behaviour so she could end up getting sacked.”

A DfE Spokesperson: “We do not comment on matters relating to individual civil servants. Civil service rules state that all civil servants, whether currently working or on an unpaid career break, must abide by the civil service code and their terms of employment during this period.”

The code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants, who must adhere to the values of the civil service including integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality.

In April 2016, McDermott tagged herself at Downing Street in a selfie on Instagram (pictured above), with the caption: “My office for the day… my job is better than yours”.

About the author

Tamsin Rutter is senior reporter at PublicTechnology sister publication Civil Service World, where this story first appeared. She tweets as @TamsinRutter

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Innovation Strategy pledges cross-government plan to ‘tackle legacy technology’
11 June 2019

Other initiatives unveiled in hotly anticipated strategy include pledge to send more civil servants on private-sector secondment

HMRC expands Stratford office to keep more IT staff in London
7 June 2019

Perm sec Thompson reveals that more techies are needed in the capital in light of increased Brexit workload

Great NHSXpectations
24 April 2019

Ben Moody of techUK explains why the new NHS tech organisation has been welcomed by suppliers

DFID puts £20m of aid into education technology research
20 June 2019

Eight-year EdTech Hub project with World Bank and University of Cambridge aims to build largest body of research on subject

Related Sponsored Articles

Unlocking the secret to people behaviour change
18 June 2019

This article from BT outlines how focusing on user experience can drive productivity, better engagement and attract the best talent

Connect for the best cloud experience
11 June 2019

Ensuring the right connectivity between hybrid networks and cloud services can be difficult. BT has provided free advice on how to balance the risk and reward of the cloud

Manage your multi-cloud environment
4 June 2019

It can be complicated managing a multi-cloud environment, so BT is providing a free ebook of tips to help you manage the risks and rewards

Cloud – the next generation
28 May 2019

BT presents the The Cloud Industry Forum's latest research, which explores how prepared enterprises are for the disruption from cloud