Permanent secretary at CLG and former boss of Homes & Communities Agency takes top mandarin post

Sir Bob Kerslake, permanent secretary at CLG, has been announced as the new head of the civil service.

Kerslake, who joined the communities department a year ago from serving as the chief executive of the Homes & Communities Agency, will take on his new responsibilities alongside his existing role after cabinet secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell retires at the end of the year.

As previously announced, Sir Gus’s responsibilities will be separated out after he steps down, with Jeremy Heywood - currently permanent secretary at Number 10 - set to take over as the new cabinet secretary.

Kerslake, also a former chief executive of Sheffield council, said he was honoured to be appointed to the role at “such an important time for the civil service”.

“We have immense strengths in the service that we should be justly proud of, but we must also embrace change. I want to engage all parts of the civil service in the reform process,” he added.

Prime minister David Cameron said: “I am delighted to announce that Sir Bob Kerslake will become head of the civil service in January, working alongside Jeremy Heywood as cabinet secretary. Sir Bob brings with him a wealth of experience in both central and local government, gained from over 20 years of public service. This is a time of significant change and challenge for the civil service - driven by the demands for new skills and capabilities, and the delivery of substantial financial savings without compromising on standards. 

“I feel absolutely confident that Bob and Jeremy will provide the leadership to ensure that our civil service continues to be admired around the world for its strength and professionalism.”