Permanent Secretary

Ursula Brennan


Ursula Brennan has been Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) since July 2012. She is also the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery.

Previous roles include:

  • permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) from October 2010 to July 2012
  • deputy permanent secretary and director of general corporate performance at the MOJ from April to September 2008
  • chief executive of the Office for Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR)
  • director general of Living Land and Seas at Defra from 2004 to 2006

Ursula spent most of her career before this in what is now the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), including leading the strategy on welfare to work and benefit fraud.

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 Under Secretary

    • 2010 to 2012


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  1. Transforming defence: a British perspective on defence in a time of financial challenge

    • 2 February 2011
    • Speech