How to find a government contact

Unlike politicians, civil servants and special advisors are not public figures, and it can be difficult to find out exactly who you need to approach – and how to get hold of them. Official websites won’t usually publish names or contact details of government staff below the executive team. However, there are ways to find names:

  • General internet searches can be very effective. Special advisors will often be named on party websites (Conservative Home is particularly useful for this) or in the media, especially around the annual Cabinet reshuffle. Googling ‘[Minister’s name] + special advisor’ will often work
  • is a website dedicated to tracking the names of lobbyists, special advisors, and other behind-the-scenes actors. It’s a useful guide, but has a strong ideological bias.
  • (formerly the annual publication Dods’ Parliamentary Companion) is a subscription website that provides, among other information, information on UK and European politicians and senior civil servants.
  • All government departments are required to make data about their civil service staff publicly available at This will not give names of junior staff, but will list all existing positions within the various policy directorates, so it’s a useful way of finding the title of the person you need to speak to. Some departments give the names of some senior civil servants.
  • Government documents posted online – policy papers, presentations etc. – may have authors’ names attached
  • Contact your university Research Impact Officer (or equivalent) – they will very often have contacts they can share with you
  • Increasingly, government departments are hiring Outreach Officers, whose job it is to engage with the public and with external groups. Outreach Officers can put you in touch with the right people, and because of their outward-facing role, their contact details are more likely to be publicly available.
  • Call the department directly, note your institutional affiliation, and then ask who to contact to discuss the particular issue; switchboard staff are often more likely to help than if you call as a private individual