|Occupation||Chief of Staff to Nick Clegg|
|This template uses the Wikidata property:|
Oates began his career as an account manager at political and media relations firm Westminster Strategy. In 1994, he stood as a Liberal Democrat councillor for Grove ward in the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames. During his time as a councillor, he served as Deputy Leader, helped create of a structure for giving power to local residents and gained national exposure for proposing a conference motion on council control over the National Health Service. Oates remained in local and national politics, serving as an election agent for Edward Davey, a winning candidate at the 1997 General Election.
In 1999, Oates took a position at the Westminster Foundation for Democracy where he was assigned to a role as a political and media adviser to the Inkatha Freedom Party in the South African Parliament, advising Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Reverend Musa Zondi.
Oates then returned to the UK in 2001 as a Policy and Communications Co-ordinator at the Youth Justice Board, advising chairman Lord Warner. He also became an associate at Mark Bolland & Associates, the public affairs company set up by Deputy Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales, Mark Bolland and in 2004 became a Director at Bell Pottinger Public Affairs. He was later appointed as Director of Policy and Communications for the Liberal Democrats and in 2009 was given the role of Director of General Election Communications for the 2010 General Election.
After the formation of the coalition government, Oates was appointed deputy communications adviser to the Prime Minister David Cameron and in August 2010 was moved from this position to become Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's Chief of Staff.
In 2010, he also stood as a candidate for the safe Conservative seat of Coombe Hill on Kingston Council and was rated by the Daily Telegraph in September of that year as the fifth "most influential" Liberal Democrat.
He studied at the University of Exeter, where one of his best friends was Thom Yorke who went onto become the lead singer of Radiohead.
- Timmins, Nicholas (21 September 1995). "Health vote is branded `mad' by MP". The Independent. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
- "Revolt Gives Councillors Seats on NHS Bodies", The Guardian, p8, 21 September 1995
- Watt, Nicholas (5 April 2010). "Election 2010: 10 key figures in each main party". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
- "London's 1000 most influential people 2010: Politics". The Evening Standard. 26 November 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
- "Top 50 most influential Liberal Democrats: 25-1". The Daily Telegraph. 21 September 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2010.