Press release

Sir Bob Kerslake announced as new Head of the Civil Service

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

The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have today announced that Sir Robert (Bob) Kerslake will be the new Head of the Civil Service.

The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have today announced that Sir Robert (Bob) Kerslake will be the new Head of the Civil Service. This follows a competition run by Sir David Normington, First Civil Service Commissioner.

The role of Head of the Civil Service will be separated out from the Cabinet Secretary role when Sir Gus O’Donnell retires at the end of the year. Jeremy Heywood - currently Permanent Secretary at Number 10 - will take over as Cabinet Secretary. Sir Bob will assume his new responsibilities alongside his existing role as Permanent Secretary of the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Before becoming Permanent Secretary of the Department for Communities and Local Government last year, Sir Bob served as Chief Executive of the Homes and Communities Agency - which he established - and as Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council. 

Sir Bob Kerslake said:

I am delighted and honoured to be given this leadership role at such an important time for the Civil Service.  We have immense strengths in the service that we should be justly proud of, but we must also embrace change. I want to engage all parts of the Civil Service in the reform process.

The Prime Minister said:

I am delighted to announce that Sir Bob Kerslake will become Head of the Civil Service in January, working alongside Jeremy Heywood as Cabinet Secretary. Sir Bob brings with him a wealth of experience in both central and local government, gained from over 20 years of public service. 

This is a time of significant change and challenge for the Civil Service - driven by the demands for new skills and capabilities, and the delivery of substantial financial savings without compromising on standards. I feel absolutely confident that Bob and Jeremy will provide the leadership to ensure that our Civil Service continues to be admired around the world for its strength and professionalism.

The Deputy Prime Minister said:

I have known Sir Bob Kerslake for many years, since his time as Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council. He brings a wealth of experience of the public and voluntary sectors and a successful record of leadership at the highest levels. These are challenging times for public servants, but I know that Bob will lead the Civil Service with clarity, determination and pace. I look forward to working closely with him.

The Minister for the Cabinet Office said:

The Civil Service is facing unprecedented challenge.  It needs to deliver better public services in a time of fiscal constraint. Sir Bob Kerslake’s extensive experience of public services make him the ideal leader to shape and reform the Civil Service to ensure that it continues to be admired and emulated around the world.  I look forward to working with him in making this happen.

Sir Gus O’Donnell said:

Bob has been an extremely impressive Permanent Secretary and has excellent wider experience of public service delivery. This stands him in great stead to be an outstanding Head of the Civil Service, and I wish him all the very best in his new role.

The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister announced that they would be restructuring the top job in the Civil Service last month. The Head of the Civil Service will be responsible for providing professional and corporate leadership to the Civil Service, combining this role with their existing departmental role. The Cabinet Secretary will continue to be the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister’s most senior policy adviser and to act as Secretary to the Cabinet, responsible to all Ministers for the running of Cabinet Government.  Both roles will report directly to the Prime Minister, and the Head of the Civil Service will also report to the Minister for the Cabinet Office.