Vanessa Nicholls was appointed Acting Chief Operating Officer for the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) on 21 December 2012.
Vanessa worked at the NSPCC and in a ‘failing’ secondary school in North London before joining the Department for Education and Employment in 1998. She was then part of the first phase of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit from 2001 to 2004, leading on crime and justice issues.
After 2 years as Strategy Director at the Metropolitan Police, Vanessa spent 2006 to 2009 working at the Home Office, responsible for programmes to reduce crime and drug and alcohol abuse. During both posts Vanessa also patrolled as a special constable in the West End of London.
After a year on maternity leave, Vanessa spent a short time at the Institute for Government before becoming Director of Nuclear Decommissioning and Security for DECC in July 2010.
Chief Operating Officer, Operations Group
The Chief Operating Officer (COO) at the Department of Energy & Climate Change is responsible for providing corporate services, infrastructure and skills to deliver cost-effective corporate support across the department. The COO is also:
- Director General of Operations Group including the HR, Legal, Finance & Information Services, Planning & Performance and Nuclear Decommissioning and Security directorates
- responsible for governance and performance assurance of nuclear decommissioning carried out by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA)
- a member of the departmental board
- a member of the Executive Committee
- a member of the Nominations and Governance Committee
- Chair of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Board
- Chair of the DECC Wellbeing Group
- Chair of the Incident Management Board in the event of any DECC emergency