Permanent Secretary

Dame Antonia Romeo DCB


Antonia Romeo became the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice in January 2021, with responsibility for criminal justice, prison and probation services, civil, family and criminal courts, legal services, and constitutional policy.

Prior to this Antonia was Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Trade (DIT) for four years, with responsibility for trade policy, trade negotiation and market access arrangements with countries outside the EU, global trade promotion and finance, inward and outward business investment, and the GREAT Campaign.

Antonia joined the Civil Service in 2000 as a professional economist following an early career in the private sector at strategic consultancy firm Oliver Wyman.

She has held several senior roles in Her Majesty’s Government, including:

  • Her Majesty’s Consul General in New York and Director General Economic and Commercial Affairs USA, and Special Envoy to the US technology companies, based in New York
  • Director-General and Head of the Economic and Domestic Secretariat in the Cabinet Office, responsible for coordinating policy advice to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, and delivery of the PM’s top priorities
  • Director-General, Criminal Justice at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), responsible for all criminal justice policy and major programmes
  • Director-General, Transformation at MoJ, responsible for reform and savings programmes, strategy, Digital Services, communications, Group HR and Group estates
  • Executive Director, Enterprise and Reform at Cabinet Office, responsible for reforming the Government’s governance and Board model, working with businesses

Antonia sits on the Civil Service Board and Senior Leadership Committee, is the Civil Service Gender Champion, and is President of the Whitehall Choir.

Antonia holds an MA (PPE) from Oxford University, an MSc (Economics) from the London School of Economics, and an Advanced Management Programme diploma from Columbia Business School.


Permanent Secretary

The role of Permanent Secretary carries with it the responsibility of Principal Accounting Officer, ensuring that the resources authorised by Parliament are used for the purposes authorised by Parliament.

Other responsibilities include:

  • agreeing with the Secretary of State the overarching strategy for delivering Ministerial objectives
  • leading, and managing the Ministry to ensure that it operates as effectively and efficiently as possible
  • reporting to the Justice Secretary and to Parliament on overall performance

Ministry of Justice and Civil Service Board

Previous roles in government

  • Permanent Secretary, DIT
  • Director-General Economic and Commercial Affairs USA
  • British Consul General in New York
  • Director General, Economic and Domestic Secretariat
  • Government's Special Envoy to the U.S. technology companies
  • Director General, Criminal Justice