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

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