Press release

Permanent Secretary appointment to new Heywood Fellowship

The Fellowship will allow the Civil Service Permanent Secretary to explore public service and policy issues outside of immediate Government duties.

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In memory of Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary from 2012 to 2018, the Heywood Foundation and the University of Oxford have established a Visiting Fellowship.

The purpose of the new Fellowship will be to allow a Civil Service Permanent Secretary the privilege of exploring issues relating to public service and policy, outside of the immediate responsibilities of Government duties. The Fellowship will be based at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, with support from the Cabinet Office. The fellow will be associated with Hertford College, Lord Heywood’s former college.

The Prime Minister has approved a sabbatical for Oliver Robbins, so he can become the first Heywood Fellow. Mr Robbins will take up this opportunity immediately.

Mr Robbins said:

Jeremy, with his pride in the Civil Service and its values, remains an incredible inspiration to me and many other civil servants. It is an enormous privilege to be given the opportunity to reflect on some of the challenges the Civil Service faces, as the first Heywood Fellow.

Lady Suzanne Heywood, Chair of the Heywood Foundation, said:

On behalf of my fellow trustees I would like to congratulate Olly on this fellowship which was created to continue the passion that Jeremy Heywood (Lord Heywood of Whitehall) had for policy innovation and diversity. We are delighted that Olly will be our first fellow and I know that Jeremy would have felt the same way.

Professor Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, said:

Lord Heywood was an inspiration to many public servants, not just in the UK but around the world. He upheld the values of an impartial, independent civil service while relentlessly seeking innovative ways to improve its service to citizens and governments. We are proud to be working with the Heywood Foundation to sustain his legacy through the creation of the Heywood Fellows. We look forward to welcoming Olly Robbins as the first fellow.

Sir Mark Sedwill, Cabinet Secretary, said:

I am very pleased that the first of these prestigious Fellowships has been awarded to someone who worked closely with Jeremy, and whom Jeremy mentored as one of the leading civil servants of his generation. Olly has had an outstanding career in Government serving several Prime Ministers, including as deputy National Security Adviser, Permanent Secretary of DExEU and, most recently, as the Prime Minister’s Europe Adviser. I know that Olly will use this opportunity to make another strong contribution to the future development of the Civil Service.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

I am delighted that Olly will be the first Permanent Secretary to take up this Fellowship in Jeremy Heywood’s memory, which follows his many years of dedication to public service in a variety of different roles.

Published 9 September 2019