Vanessa Nicholls


Vanessa has spent most of her 20 year civil service career focusing on security and law enforcement. Her previous posts include Director of Crime and Drugs Strategy in the Home Office, a secondment to the Metropolitan Police (Met) as Strategy Director and, as part of what was Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC), Director for Civil Nuclear Security, Emergency Planning and Non-proliferation, as well as nuclear decommissioning, including Sellafield.

Vanessa initially joined the Civil Service Fast Stream in the Department for Education (DfE) after spending the early part of her career at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and then a secondary school in North London. She moved from DfE to spend 3 years in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, pursuing an interest in good government. Whilst at the Met, Vanessa volunteered for 4 years as a Special Constable, patrolling regularly in the West End of London.

Previous roles in government

  • Chief of Defence Nuclear
  • Chief Operating Officer, Operations Group