Nick Timmins, public policy editor, Financial Times

It is not the fact that Mr Timmins pitches up on a motorbike to Department of Health briefings that has ministers shaking in their boots and earns him this ranking; rather it is his daunting encyclopaedic knowledge of the NHS and ability to scoop top stories and analyse a complex, fast-changing service. He is author of the award winning The Five Giants: a biography of the welfare state and visiting professor in the Department of Management at King’s College London.