New Downing Street special adviser once worked for Gina Miller

Charlotte Lawson has been charged by number 10 with developing the government's relationship with the charity sector

A new special adviser appointed by Number 10 to lead the development of government’s relations with the voluntary sector spent two years working for the controversial philanthropist Gina Miller.

Charlotte Lawson last week joined Number 10 as a special adviser tasked with developing the government’s relationship with the voluntary sector.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Lawson previously spent almost four years as development and strategic partnerships director at the think tank the Centre for Social Justice, which was set up by the former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith.

The profile shows that for a two-year period from June 2012 that mostly overlapped with her time at the CSJ, Lawson carried out work advising charities for Miller Philanthropy, the charity set up and chaired by Gina Miller.

Miller Philanthropy, which changed its name to the True and Fair Foundation in November last year, has produced controversial reports including one in December that claimed one in five charities spent less than half of their income on charitable activities.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations said at the time that the report "wilfully misrepresented the facts". The Charity Commission said it was flawed.

Nobody from Number 10 was available on Tuesday morning to confirm any details about Lawson’s role, but according her LinkedIn profile she will "lead on the development of the government’s relationship with the voluntary sector as part of a newly created government relations team at Number 10".

Asheem Singh, interim head of the charity chief executives body Acevo, said he was looking forward to working with Lawson.

"We are less concerned about her association with the Miller Foundation than we are with the need to create an ongoing, rich dialogue between the charity and social enterprise movement and government," he said.

"We have much to speak about on public services, good governance and the right and duty of charities to campaign."

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