Press release

Director General for Civil Service Reform appointed

Katherine Kerswell has today joined the Cabinet Office as Director General for Civil Service Reform.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


11 September 2012
CAB 095-12  

Katherine Kerswell has today joined the Cabinet Office as Director General for Civil Service Reform.

The appointment of Katherine will enable the government to further drive this crucial agenda, ensuring that the Civil Service can be sharper, quicker and more agile. She will work closely with colleagues across departments to implement the actions set out in the Civil Service Reform Plan.

The Civil Service Reform Plan was launched jointly by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, and the Head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake. It set out a series of measures which, when implemented, will amount to fundamental change in the Civil Service. Katherine is tasked with the implementation of this crucial agenda, working across government to ensure real and sustained change.

Katherine has been Chief Executive in four different Councils over the past 14 years and worked in local government for 25 years, where she specialised in customer focus, quality programmes and leading transformational change.  She is a former Chief Executive of Northamptonshire County Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and was most recently Managing Director of Kent County Council, where she delivered a new operational framework, cultural shift and first year budget savings of £95 million.

Announcing today’s appointment, Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary, Richard Heaton, said:

I’m really pleased that Katherine has been appointed.  She is energetic and capable.  
“These are profound reforms that the Cabinet Office is promoting across the Civil Service.  We already have great people working on them, and now we have a leader who will give the work focus and momentum.”

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, said:

The Civil Service Reform Plan which we published in June set out our first steps to reform the Civil Service to ensure it can effectively serve the government of the day. We have a long way still to go to sharpen accountability, collect consistent management information and improve how government runs its major projects.

Katherine brings experience and expertise to this crucial role and I look forward to working with her as she implements the Reform plan. We will continue to draw on ideas and insights from civil servants, senior officials and ministers as we work to improve the civil service.

I want to see a civil service that is flatter, faster, more digital, more unified, with better capabilities and performance management, focused on outcomes not process, with modern terms and conditions, and which is more enjoyable to work for.

Welcoming Katherine to her new role, Head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake, said:

I am delighted that Katherine will be joining the Cabinet Office as Director General for Civil Service Reform.  Katherine will work closely with me and civil servants throughout government to drive forward reform across the civil service, and provide dedicated leadership on this important agenda.

Katherine is an accomplished leader with a track record of successful change management in the wider public sector.  I know that her skills and experience will be ideally suited to the role.

Notes to editors

1. This appointment was made following an external competition and the salary will be £142,000 (as advertised).

2. Katherine most recently worked for Kent County Council, before which she was at Northamptonshire County Council. She is a former Chief Executive of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. She is currently a Non-Executive Director of the UK Border Agency.

3. About civil service reform: in June the Cabinet Office published a Civil Service Reform Plan which set out a series of specific and practical actions for reform, which, when implemented, will lead to real change for the civil service. It is a working document and the first stage of a continuing programme of reform. It will equip a smaller civil service to meet current and future challenges, including the demands of public sector reform and rising consumer expectations, as well as economic and financial challenges. The

Published 11 September 2012