Permanent Secretary

Sir Richard Heaton KCB


Sir Richard Heaton KCB has been Permanent Secretary for MOJ since August 2015. Before that he was Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office (from August 2012).

Sir Richard started his career as a barrister, and joined the Home Office as a legal adviser in 1991. He then worked in legal teams across government, focussing particularly on criminal law, the constitution, and human rights law.

His recent legal and non-legal posts have been:

  • Director of legal services at Department for Constitutional Affairs (now Ministry of Justice)
  • Head of law and governance at Department for Work and Pensions
  • Director General for pensions and ageing society, Department for Work and Pensions

He was also First Parliamentary Counsel from 2012 to 2015.

In April 2014 Richard became the Civil Service Race Champion.

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

Previous roles in government

  1. Permanent Secretary and First Parliamentary Counsel

    • 2012 to 2015


  1. Innovation and continuity in law-making
  2. Making the law easier for users: the role of statutes