About us

What we do

The Civil Service Board is responsible for the strategic leadership of the Civil Service, to make sure it works as a coherent and effective whole. It's chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, Sir Jeremy Heywood, supported by the permanent secretaries.

The Civil Service Board works with sub-groups to develop policies on long-term development of the Civil Service, for example around:

  • leadership
  • employee relations
  • capability

The Civil Service is made up of all government organisations (except for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office). It also includes the Welsh Assembly Government and the Scottish Government.

Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service

As Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood is the Prime Minister’s most senior policy advisor. He acts as Secretary to the Cabinet and is responsible for:

  • supporting all ministers in the running of government
  • providing professional leadership to the Civil Service

Permanent secretaries

A permanent secretary is the most senior civil servant in a department. Each supports the government minister at the head of the department, who is accountable to Parliament for the department’s actions and performance.

The permanent secretary is the ‘accounting officer’ for their department, reporting to Parliament. They are responsible for the day-to-day running of the department, including the budget.

Scottish and Welsh Permanent Secretaries

The Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government is accountable to the Scottish Parliament and the Permanent Secretary of the Welsh Assembly Government is accountable to the National Assembly for Wales. They both contribute to the Civil Service governance along with other permanent secretaries.

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