Press release

PM announces new Chief Executive position at the heart of the civil service

David Cameron has announced the creation of a new Chief Executive post at the centre of government.

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


The new Chief Executive will lead the next phase of civil service transformation and the government’s efficiency and reform agenda.

Sir Bob Kerslake, the current Head of the Civil Service, has announced that he will step down from that role in the autumn and retire as Permanent Secretary of the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) at the end of February 2015, when he will turn 60.

Bob has had an outstanding career in public service over some 35 years, the pinnacle of which was becoming Head of the Civil Service in January 2012. He has been Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government since November 2010. During his time at DCLG he has overseen the department’s work to build more houses, promote local growth and devolve power to people and communities. As Head of the Civil Service he has led the work on Civil Service Reform to create a more efficient, capable and open civil service.

The Prime Minister David Cameron said:

I would like to put on record my sincere thanks to Bob Kerslake for his long and distinguished public service. As Permanent Secretary of DCLG he has supported a far-reaching programme of local decentralisation and planning reform. And as Head of the Civil Service he has put in place a number of important reforms and building blocks that will help over time to transform the effectiveness of our civil service. Performance, efficiency and capability have all improved on his watch and he can look back on his record of achievement with great satisfaction.

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

It’s been a pleasure to work closely with Bob over many years, both when he was chief executive of Sheffield City Council and more recently as Head of the Civil Service. He’s been a dedicated public servant and can look back on a proud record of achievements. I’m particularly grateful for the crucial role he played to secure the 39 local growth deals announced this month. These revolutionary deals with businesses and local government will deliver £12 billion investment to boost jobs, training and infrastructure, and Bob’s knowledge and expertise were vital in delivering them. I wish him all the best when he retires next year.

Sir Bob Kerslake said:

It has been an honour to serve as Head of the Civil Service over the last 2 and a half years. I am enormously proud of all that has been achieved during my time as Head of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary at DCLG. Civil Service Reform is now becoming a reality: we are becoming more efficient, delivering more public services digitally, improving skills across the civil service and opening up the way we work.

DCLG has delivered strongly on the government’s priorities whilst at the same time itself undergoing major change. I have enjoyed a good and productive partnership with Jeremy Heywood as Cabinet Secretary and it has been a privilege to work with the 400,000 civil servants across the country who work tirelessly to serve the public and ministers.

Notes to editors

The Chief Executive will take on relevant functions of the Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office, Richard Heaton. Richard will continue to lead the Cabinet Office in the interim period and will remain as First Parliamentary Counsel. The Chief Executive post will report to the Cabinet Secretary.

The Cabinet Secretary will take the title of Head of the Civil Service, while maintaining his current responsibilities.

The selection panel, chaired by Sir David Normington, First Civil Service Commissioner, will begin the process to recruit the Chief Executive shortly.

Published 15 July 2014