Press release

New Permanent Secretary for the Department of Health

Chris Wormald to leave the Department for Education to be the new Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health.

Chris Wormald has been appointed as the new Permanent Secretary for the Department of Health, following Dame Una O’Brien’s recent announcement that she is to step down from the role. Chris will move across from his current role of Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education. The appointment has been made by the Cabinet Secretary with the approval of the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health.

The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, said:

Chris has done a superb job leading the Department for Education over the last 4 years. He will bring a wealth of leadership, implementation and policy experience to the role at the Department of Health and a great understanding of public services. I look forward to working with him on the challenges ahead for the department.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Una for her enormous contribution to the civil service over the past 25 years.

The Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, said:

I’m delighted that Chris will be the new Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health. Chris has done excellent work across the public sector, with a track record of reform in education, and communities and local government, in particular. I’m greatly looking forward to welcoming him to the department.

The Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, said:

Chris Wormald has done a superb job in leading the Department for Education over the last 4 years. He has played a crucial role in major reforms to restore rigour to exams, transform the school system with academies and free schools, and to support the most vulnerable children. Ministers and staff will miss Chris hugely when he moves on, and we wish him all the best in taking up this new challenge.

Chris Wormald said:

After 4 years at DfE, it will be a privilege and an honour to join the Department of Health. I’m very excited by the opportunity to work on the many important challenges the department deals with.

I’m looking forward to working with the ministerial team, the staff of the department and its many partners as we implement the government’s ambitious agenda over the course of the Parliament.

Una O’Brien said:

It is great news for the department and the wider health and care system that Chris Wormald, with his wide experience, will be leading the organisation through its next phase. I look forward to working with him to manage the transition ahead of my departure.

Further information

  1. Chris Wormald was appointed Permanent Secretary for the Department for Education in March 2012. His previous posts include:
    • Director General in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Office
    • Head of the Economic and Domestic Secretariat, Cabinet Office
    • Director General for Local Government and Regeneration at the Department for Communities and Local Government
    • Principal Private Secretary to Estelle Morris and Charles Clarke
  2. Read more about Dame Una O’Brien.

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