News story

Ian Watmore to leave the Civil Service

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

Ian Watmore, Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office, is leaving the Civil Service at the end of June.

CAB 036-12: 16 May 2012

Ian Watmore, Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office, is leaving the Civil Service at the end of June, after a seven year career in the Civil Service, six of them as Permanent Secretary in three different roles, and a long career in the private sector.

He is returning to his home in the North West of England to focus on non-executive and spousal roles in charity, sports, academic and church activities.  

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: 

Ian has played an important role in establishing the Efficiency and Reform Group within the Cabinet Office. This group put in place tough cross-Whitehall controls on property, procurement and ICT in 2010.  As a result we have helped departments deliver billions of pounds in cash savings for the taxpayer.  He has assembled an enormously impressive team in ERG who will carry forward this crucial agenda.  

I want to thank Ian for his hard work, support and dedication in helping deliver this vital agenda, and wish him well for the future.

Sir Bob Kerslake, Head of the Civil Service, said:

Ian has established the efficiency and reform agenda firmly across government.  Under his leadership, we have made great strides in transparency, procurement and eradicating waste in public spending - putting the government on track to deliver £9 billion in cash savings to date and double the amount of business going to SMEs, setting up the Government Digital Service and launching the first government mutual joint venture. Ian has also led creation of the Major Projects Authority (MPA) that oversees projects worth in excess of £400 billion and the new Major Projects Leadership Academy to build the skills of senior project leaders across government. I have greatly valued his support to me as Head of the Civil Service in leading such an ambitious efficiency and reform programme and wish him and his family all the very best for the future.

Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary, said: 

I have greatly valued the enormous contribution Ian has made to the Civil Service since joining in 2004. Over the last two years in particular we have worked closely together as he has established the Cabinet Office as a genuine centre of excellence in driving efficiency and reform across government. On a personal level too Ian has given me unfailing support and superb advice. 

Ian Watmore said:

I have greatly enjoyed my time in the Civil Service, which is one of Britain’s best assets. I admire the wonderful people who work in it, and will miss them greatly. It has been a privilege to have served as a Permanent Secretary in three roles, for three Prime Ministers, and feel lucky to have been able to do this after a long business career.

Notes to editors

  1. Ian Watmore joined the Cabinet Office was appointed Chief Operating Officer at the head of the Efficiency and Reform Group in June 2010.  On 1st January 2012, Ian took on the additional role of Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office.
  2. Melanie Dawes, currently the Director General running the Economic and Domestic Secretariat in the Cabinet Office will be acting Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office pending a competition to find Ian’s successor. 
  3. The Cabinet Office sits at the very centre of government, with an overarching purpose of making government work better.  The Cabinet Office supports the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, helping to ensure effective development, coordination and implementation of policy and operations across all government departments.  It also lead work to ensure the Civil Service provides the most effective and efficient support to Government to help it meet its objectives.
  4. The Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG), based in the Cabinet Office, was set up to ensure that departments across Whitehall adopted a new and ambitious approach to saving money and started working together to ensure the greatest economy of scale when buying goods and services.  ERG ensures departments work together to tackle waste and improve accountability across a range of areas.