A selection of some of our speakers for the 2023 events included:

Alex Chisholm

Alex Chisholm

Civil Service Chief Operating Officer and Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office

Alex Chisholm became Chief Operating Officer for the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office in April 2020. Prior to that he was the Permanent Secretary to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Previous roles in government:

  • Permanent Secretary, BEIS 2016 to 2020
  • Joint Permanent Secretary, BEIS 2016 to 2016
  • Permanent Secretary, DECC 2016 to 2016
  • Chief Executive of the Competition and Markets Authority 2013 to 2016  

Angela MacDonald

Angela MacDonald

Second Permanent Secretary and Deputy Chief Executive, HM Revenue and Customs

Angela became HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Deputy Chief Executive and Second Permanent Secretary in August 2020. Angela is an Operations professional with 30 years’ experience of service delivery, transformation and change in both the public and private sector.

Angela joined the Civil Service in 2009 to deliver reforms in Child Support. Following four years as a Director at DWP, leading service delivery and transformation, Angela moved to HMRC in 2017 and became the Director General for Customer Services.

Before joining the Civil Service, Angela worked in a number of operational, sales and marketing roles at Aviva plc and its legacy companies.  

Antonia Romeo

Antonia Romeo

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice

Antonia Romeo became the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice in January 2021, with responsibility for criminal justice, prison and probation services, civil, family and criminal courts, legal services, and constitutional policy.

Prior to this Antonia was Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Trade (DIT) for four years, with responsibility for trade policy, trade negotiation and market access arrangements with countries outside the EU, global trade promotion and finance, inward and outward business investment, and the GREAT Campaign.

Antonia joined the Civil Service in 2000 as a professional economist following an early career in the private sector at strategic consultancy firm Oliver Wyman.

She has held several senior roles in Her Majesty’s Government, including:

  • Her Majesty’s Consul General in New York and Director General Economic and Commercial Affairs USA, and Special Envoy to the US technology companies, based in New York
  • Director-General and Head of the Economic and Domestic Secretariat in the Cabinet Office, responsible for coordinating policy advice to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, and delivery of the PM’s top priorities
  • Director-General, Criminal Justice at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), responsible for all criminal justice policy and major programmes
  • Director-General, Transformation at MoJ, responsible for reform and savings programmes, strategy, Digital Services, communications, Group HR and Group estates
  • Executive Director, Enterprise and Reform at Cabinet Office, responsible for reforming the Government’s governance and Board model, working with businesses

Antonia sits on the Civil Service Board and Senior Leadership Committee, is the Civil Service Gender Champion, and is President of the Whitehall Choir.

Antonia holds an MA (PPE) from Oxford University, an MSc (Economics) from the London School of Economics, and an Advanced Management Programme diploma from Columbia Business School.  

Beth Russell

Beth Russell

Second Permanent Secretary, HM Treasury

Beth Russell has recently been appointed as the Second Permanent Secretary to the Treasury and is based in the Darlington Economic Campus.

Beth has worked in the Treasury since 2000 in a range of policy roles across tax, welfare and public spending. Previous to her current role she was the Director General of Tax and Welfare in the Treasury and the Director General leading the Treasury economic campus in Darlington. 

Her previous Treasury roles included Director of Personal Tax, Welfare and Pensions (2013-2017), Principal Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (2011-2013), Deputy Director of General Expenditure Policy (2008-2011), Deputy Director of Environmental and Transport Taxes (2005-07) and Speechwriter for Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor (2001-2005) and Prime Minister (2007-2008).  Beth started her career in Department of Social Security as a policy adviser on welfare (1996-2000).

Cat Little

Cat Little

Non-Executive Director, Head of the Government Finance Function, and Second Permanent Secretary, HM Treasury

Cat started her career at the accountancy firm PwC, dedicated to Government and Public Sector finances, mainly working in assurance roles. Over more than a decade, Cat worked with clients across Health, Local Government, Higher Education and Central Government sectors.

Cat joined the Civil Service in 2013 first at the Legal Aid Agency where she worked on the digitisation of civil legal aid, and removing the long standing financial accounts qualification as the Director of Finance and Digital.

Cat went on to become the Group Finance Director at the Ministry of Justice overseeing all aspects of financial management and supporting prison reform, courts reform and transformation programmes. In 2017, Cat joined the Board of the Ministry of Defence as Director General Finance. In this role she was the primary financial advisor to ministers, the Defence Board and Accounting Officer and led the finance, commercial and analytical functions across Defence. During this time, Cat led the reform of Defence Acquisition and Procurement as part of the Modernising Defence Programme and instigated the Financial Improvement Programme. Cat led the oversight of the Defence portfolio, and was the Race Champion for the Department.

Cat joined HM Treasury in 2020 as Director General Public Spending. She took on the role of Acting Permanent Secretary in September 2022, and in October 2022 was appointed to Second Permanent Secretary. In this role Cat oversees public spending, international and national security policy. She combines this with her positions as head of the Government Finance Function and Chair of the Finance Leadership Group for Government. Cat is a chartered public finance accountant and represents the UK as a member of IFAC, PAIB and is also a co-opted member of CIPFA Council. Outside of work Cat lives in the Kent North Downs, enjoys running, cycling and walking the dog with her wife Ruth.

Dame Bernadette Kelly

Bernadette Kelly

Permanent Secretary, Department for Transport

Bernadette Kelly became Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport on 18 April 2017.

From September 2015 to April 2017, Bernadette Kelly was Director General, Rail Group in DfT. Prior to that she was a Director General at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) from April 2010.

Bernadette joined the Civil Service after graduating. She has spent most of her career working on public policy in relation to business and the economy. She has led work in government to reform the planning regime for major infrastructure; boost housing supply; establish the Competition and Markets Authority; strengthen utility regulation; reform corporate governance; and on industrial strategy and local growth and devolution.

In addition to DfT and BIS, Bernadette has worked in the Department for Communities and Local Government, HM Treasury, the Cabinet Office and the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit; as well as on secondment to ICI plc.

Bernadette was awarded a Damehood (DCB) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2022. Prior, Bernadette was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 2010.

David Williams

David Williams

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence

David Williams was appointed as MOD Permanent Secretary in April 2021.

David Williams was appointed Second Permanent Secretary for the duration of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in March 2020.

David was appointed as Director General of Finance at the Department of Health on 16 March 2015. The role became Director General of Finance and Group Operations in July 2016.

Previously he was Director General of Finance at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) where he has held a number of senior posts including:

  • Director Financial Management
  • Director Equipment Resources
  • Director Financial Planning & Security

Dr Andrew Goodall

Andrew Goodall

Permanent Secretary, Welsh Government

Dr Andrew Goodall was appointed to the role of Welsh Government Permanent Secretary in November 2021 and leads the Welsh Government Civil Service in delivering the priorities of the First Minister and acts as the Principal Accounting Officer for the Welsh Government. Prior to this he was Director General of Health and Social Services/Chief Executive NHS Wales, a position he had held since June 2014.

Dr Goodall has been an NHS Chief Executive in Wales for 16 years. Previous posts include Chief Executive of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, a position held from the Health Board’s inception in October 2009 until 2014 after NHS re-organisation to the integrated Health Board model. 

During his 30 year NHS career, Dr Goodall has held planning and operational positions across a number of NHS organisations across South Wales as well as national roles. He has particular areas of interest in improving patient safety, quality and patient experience; partnership working and collaboration across Public Services; and delivering frontline services through service improvement and modernisation.

Dr Goodall has a law degree from Essex University and a PhD in Health Service Management from Cardiff Business School. Dr Goodall was awarded a CBE in the 2018 New Year Honours for his services to the NHS and public services.  

Fiona Ryland

Fiona Ryland

Government Chief People Officer

Fiona Ryland has been the Government Chief People Officer since September 2022.

Fiona joined the Civil Service from University College London (UCL) where she was Vice-President of Operations.

Before that, Fiona led the HR, Communications, Corporate Responsibility and Business Excellence teams for Compass Group UK and Ireland. She also has extensive experience of HR management and operations at retailers including Comet, Dixons and Asda - in particular, establishing new apprenticeship and graduate programmes to benefit young people and colleagues at early stages of their career.

Fiona graduated in Chemical Engineering from Bath University and also has a BSc in Psychology from the Open University.

Outside of work, Fiona is married and lives in the Chilterns. She is an avid Leyton Orient supporter.

Gareth Rhys Williams

Gareth Rhys Williams

Government Chief Commercial Officer and Non Executive Director, Crown Commercial Service

Gareth Rhys Williams was most recently Chief Executive Officer of PHS Group, a leading provider of outsourced workplace services in the UK. Gareth is an experienced CEO and Non Executive Director, with a consistent record of reinvigorating and reinventing listed and private equity backed companies through creative growth strategies. He has a strong record of driving transformational change in large, complex and federated organisations.

Before joining PHS, Gareth was CEO of Charter International, the FTSE 250 engineering group, until its successful sale to Colfax Corporation in 2012. Prior to that, he was CEO of Capital Safety Group Ltd, since sold to KKR, and CEO of Vitec Group plc, the supplier of broadcast and photographic equipment and services.

Jaee Samant

Jaee Samant

Director General, Public Safety Group

Jaee Samant was appointed Director General for Public Safety at the Home Office in November 2021.

She was the Director General for Market Frameworks at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) from 2017 to October 2021.

She joined the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in 2013 as Labour Market Director. Before that she was the Home Office’s Crime Director from 2009 to 2013.

Jaee has been a civil servant since the early 1990s and has worked in a wide range of strategy and policy roles at the Department of Employment, the Department for Education and Employment, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Cabinet Office and the Home Office. She has had secondments to the BIG Lottery Fund and the BBC.

Jaee spent some of her childhood in India, Singapore and Hong Kong before moving to the UK at the age of 12. She worked in banking for a year before joining the Civil Service.  

James Bowler

James Bowler

Permanent Secretary, HM Treasury

James Bowler became Permanent Secretary of HM Treasury in October 2022.

Prior to this, James served as Permanent Secretary for the Department for International Trade (DIT), and before that, he served as Second Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office leading the COVID Taskforce from October 2020. In this role, he was responsible for the management and leadership of the taskforce that set out the government’s strategy to tackle the pandemic and its impacts. Prior to that he served as Director General of Policy, Communication and Analysis in the Ministry of Justice, 2020.

For much of his civil service career, James has worked at the Treasury. He served as Director General for Public Spending (2017 to 2020), Director General for Tax and Welfare (2015 to 2017) and Director for Strategy, Planning and Budget (2012 to 2015). Across these roles, he oversaw key policy areas such as the preparation and allocation of the Budget, spending and tax policy.

James served as a Principal Private Secretary, both to David Cameron and Gordon Brown as Prime Minister and to Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 2012 New Year Honours.

Jeremy Pocklington

Jeremy Pocklington

Permanent Secretary, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero

Jeremy Pocklington is the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ).

Jeremy was previously Permanent Secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (September 2021 to February 2023), and Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (March 2020 to September 2021).

He was Director General, Housing, Planning and Building Safety at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government from August 2018 to March 2020. Before that, he was Director General, Energy and Security at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and in the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) from February 2015 until August 2018.

Before joining DECC Jeremy was Director of the Enterprise and Growth Unit at HM Treasury responsible for policies on growth, business and infrastructure and for advising on public spending for BIS, DfT, DECC and DEFRA. From 2009 to 2012 he was Director of the Economic and Domestic secretariat at the Cabinet Office. He joined the Treasury in 1997 and has held a range of posts on financial regulation, tax, fiscal policy and corporate finance as well as working as an assistant private secretary to 2 Chief Secretaries.

Jim Harra

Jim Harra

Permanent Secretary, HM Revenue and Customs

Jim began his career in the Inland Revenue as an Inspector of Taxes in 1984. In January 2009, he was appointed Director of Corporation Tax and VAT, responsible for optimising the design and delivery of these business taxes.

Jim became Director of Personal Tax Customer Operations in March 2011, and Director Personal Tax Operations in October 2011. He was appointed Director General Business Tax on 16 April 2012. Jim took up the post as HMRC’s Second Permanent Secretary and Deputy Chief Executive on 1 January 2018.

Jim was appointed as HMRC’s First Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive in October 2019.  

JP Marks

JP Marks

Permanent Secretary, Scottish Government

JP Marks was appointed Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government on 5 January 2022. Before this, JP was Director General Work and Health Services at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Previous roles in the Civil Service include:

  • Director General for Operations on temporary promotion from March 2018
  • Operations Director and Area Director for South of England
  • Strategic Design and Planning Director in the Universal Credit Programme
  • Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
  • Head of Corporate Relations and International Policy at the UK Pensions Regulator
  • Speechwriter to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Current roles outside the Civil Service include:

  • Trustee, St Giles Trust and Trustee, Treloar Trust
  • Trustee, DWP Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Fund

Justin Placide

Justin Placide

Head of Home Energy Retrofit Enablers Team, Co-Chair, of both Civil Service Race Forum (CSRF), and Faith and Minority Ethnic (FAME) Network 

Justin is Head of Home Energy Retrofit Enablers Team from The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). He is responsible for encouraging energy performance improvements in existing properties. He leads his team on policy development, project delivery and service management helping Government work towards achieving the Net Zero target.

Laurence Lee

Laurence Lee

Second Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence

Laurence Lee is the Second Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Laurence joined the MOD in June 2021.

As Second Permanent Secretary his responsibilities include digital transformation across Defence, security and resilience (including cyber security), space policy, science and technology, safety, Defence strategy, net assessment and challenge, trade and economic security, and strategic relationships with industry.

Laurence was previously a Director General at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, where he spent most of his career. He has served overseas in Afghanistan and the Caribbean and has led work on international security, including in both operational and policy roles focused on hostile states, counter-terrorism and organised crime. He also has a background in finance, strategic planning and change management.

Madeleine Alessandri

Madeleine Alessandri

Permanent Secretary, Northern Ireland Office

Madeleine Alessandri CMG is the Permanent Secretary for the Northern Ireland Office.

Madeleine Alessandri CMG was the UK Deputy National Security Advisor and Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Resilience and Security. She joined government service in 1988 and has held a wide variety of positions in the Diplomatic Service and in National Security both in the UK and overseas.

She was made a Commander of Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) in 2017.  

Megan Lee Devlin

Megan Lee Devlin

Chief Executive, Central Digital and Data Office

Megan Lee Devlin is Chief Executive of the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO), responsible for leading the government’s digital transformation from the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) in the Cabinet Office. CDDO leads the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) function for HMG by putting the right conditions and capabilities in place to enable departments to transform through digital and technology. Megan joined the Civil Service from McKinsey & Company, where she worked with private sector and public sector organisations on technology, analytics and organisational transformation topics.

Nick Smallwood

Nick Smallwood

Chief Executive, Infrastructure and Projects Authority and Head of the Government Project Delivery Function

Nick Smallwood is the Chief Executive Officer of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority and Head of Government’s Project Delivery Function.

Nick is the former Vice President for Projects Engineering and Chief Projects Engineer at Shell. Nick has 40 years' experience of managing complex project portfolios and having developed Shell’s Global Project Academy. At Shell, Nick was accountable for managing how projects were delivered and a variety of significant improvement programmes.

Nick was also a trustee of the board of the Association for Project Management (APM) until November 2019, where he contributed to the overall development of the UK’s project management profession.  

Peter Schofield

Peter Schofield

Permanent Secretary, Department for Work & Pensions 

Peter became the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions on 16 January 2018. Previously he has worked:

  • as Director General for Finance at DWP from July 2016
  • as Director General for Housing and Planning at the Department for Communities and Local Government
  • as Director of the Enterprise and Growth Unit at HM Treasury
  • as a director in the Shareholder Executive
  • on secondment to 3i PLC
  • in a number of roles, including Private Secretary to the Chief Secretary, at HM Treasury

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Sir Ian Diamond

UK National Statistician, Permanent Secretary, Chief Executive of UK Statistics Authority, Office for National Statistics

Professor Sir Ian Diamond is the UK’s National Statistician. He was the chair of the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) from August 2018 to August 2019.

Sir Ian, who was knighted in 2013 for his services to social science and higher education, was the Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen until 31 July 2018.  

Sam Beckett

Sam Beckett

Second Permanent Secretary, Office for National Statistics and Deputy Chief Executive, UK Statistics Authority

Sam became Second Permanent Secretary at the ONS and the Deputy Chief Executive at the UK Statistics Authority in September 2020. In this role, Sam looks after Economic, Social and Environmental Statistics, alongside corporate services. She is also joint head of the Government Economic Service. Directly prior to ONS, she was acting Permanent Secretary at BEIS, where, among other things, she oversaw the covid response. Prior to that she was the Director General at BEIS responsible for the Department’s broad and complex EU-exit preparations.

Sam has over 25 years’ experience in BEIS, Cabinet Office and HM Treasury in roles spanning micro and macro-economics, strategy, policy and corporate services delivery. Sam has a degree from New College, Oxford and an MSc in Economics from the LSE. She was made a Companion of the Bath (CB) in 2020.

Sapana Agrawal

Sapana Agrawal

Director, Modernisation and Reform

Sapana is responsible for the Modernisation and Reform Unit and Evaluation Task Force. Previously she was a Director in the COVID-19 Taskforce in the Cabinet Office. Sapana has spent time in both the public and private sector, working both domestically and globally for firms including McKinsey and the Clinton Foundation. Sapana’s experience includes working with the NHS on transformation programmes, running a number of startups that have brought real-life changes for people facing a range of health challenges (e.g., insomnia) and co-founding a charity to help get hot meals to NHS staff during the pandemic. As an experienced leader, Sapana has helped drive McKinsey's own expansion in technology and innovation and in recent years has led McKinsey’s work globally to support organisations to operationalise reskilling programs as part of major digital transformations. .

Sarah Healey

Sarah Healey

Permanent Secretary, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Sarah Healey was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) on 7 February 2023.

Prior to this, she was Permanent Secretary of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) from 2019 and before that worked in the Cabinet Office where she was the Director General overseeing the development and implementation of economic and domestic policy following two and a half years working on negotiations and preparations for the UK to leave the EU. Previously, Sarah was Director General in DCMS, where she led on integrating all digital responsibilities into the organisation, Director of Private Pensions at the Department for Work and Pensions and Director of Education Funding and of Strategy at the Department for Education.

Sarah joined the civil service in 2001 to work in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. She has degrees from Magdalen College, Oxford, and the LSE.

Sarah Munby

Sarah Munby

Permanent Secretary, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Sarah Munby became Permanent Secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on 20 July 2020.

Sarah joined BEIS in July 2019 as Director General, Business Sectors. Before that, Sarah worked at Mckinsey, where she led their Strategy and Corporate Finance practice in the UK and Ireland. She has worked with some of the UK’s largest companies to change their strategic direction, and led much of McKinsey’s work on productivity across the UK economy. Sarah began her career in the Civil Service, as an Assistant Economist in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Shona Dunn

Shona Dunn

Second Permanent Secretary, Department of Health and Social Care

Shona became Second Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in April 2021.

Before joining DHSC, Shona was:

  • Second Permanent Secretary at the Home Office from 2018 to 2021
  • Director General, Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat, Cabinet Office, 2016 to 2018
  • Director General, Education Standards, Department of Education, 2013 to 2016

Simon Baugh

Simon Baugh

Chief Executive, Government Communication Service, Cabinet Office

Simon Baugh was appointed the Chief Executive of Government Communications in October 2021.

He has twenty years’ experience in strategy and communications roles in the public and private sectors. His previous roles include:

  • Director of Communications, Home Office
  • Director of Communications and Engagement, Department for Exiting the EU
  • Director of Strategy and Communications, Department for Transport
  • Director of Media and Public Relations, Heathrow Airport Holdings
  • Director of Internal and Passenger Communications, BAA
  • Head of Public Affairs, Heathrow Airport
  • Senior Consultant, AS Biss & Co

Simon Case

Simon Case

Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, Cabinet Office

Simon Case was appointed Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service in September 2020. Before this he was appointed Permanent Secretary at No10, focusing on Covid-19 and the response to the pandemic.

He has also served in the Royal Household, having previously been Private Secretary to HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Prior to this, he held many other notable positions across government, serving under both Cameron’s and May’s administrations as Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister.

He has also served as Director General for Northern Ireland and Ireland, as well as Director General for the UK-EU relationship throughout his time in government. Simon has amassed over 15 years of experience in the Civil Service.  

Simon Ridley

Simon Ridley

Second Permanent Secretary, Home Office

Simon has previously served as:

  • Head of the Cabinet Office COVID-19 Taskforce, from March 2020 to March 2022
  • Director General, Withdrawal Agreement, Transition Taskforce, from January 2020 to March 2020
  • Director General Future Economic Partnership, Department for Exiting the European Union, from July 2019 to January 2020
  • Director General, Decentralisation and Growth, Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, from 2015 to 2019
  • Chief Executive, Planning Inspectorate, from 2014 to 2015

Sir Chris Wormald

Sir Chris Wormald

Permanent Secretary, Department for Health & Social Care

Sir Chris Wormald was appointed Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health in May 2016.

His previous posts include:

  • Permanent Secretary for the Department for Education
  • Director General in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Office
  • Head of the Economic and Domestic Secretariat, Cabinet Office
  • Director General, Public Service Reform, Cabinet Office
  • Director General for Local Government and Regeneration at the Department for Communities and Local Government
  • Principal Private Secretary to Estelle Morris and Charles Clarke  

Sir Matthew Rycroft

Matthew Rycroft

Permanent Secretary, Home Office

Sir Matthew Rycroft was appointed Knight Commander of Saint Michael and Saint George for his services to British Diplomacy, Development and Domestic Policy in the King’s New Year Honours 2023.

Sir Matthew Rycroft CBE is the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office. He was appointed on 17 March 2020.

Sir Matthew was previously Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Development from 22 January 2018 to 16 March 2020.

From April 2015 to January 2018 Matthew was the British Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

From March 2011, Matthew was the FCO’s Chief Operating Officer. In that role he oversaw the running of the FCO and its network of 270 posts around the world, including all the Human Resources, Finance, Estates, Security, Information Technology, Protocol, Procurement and Corporate Services. He deputised for the Permanent Under Secretary in his absence.

Sir Matthew was born on 16 June 1968 and brought up in Southampton and Cambridge. He has a degree in maths and philosophy from Merton College, Oxford.

Sir Matthew joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1989. After a few months at the UN in Geneva and then on the NATO desk in London, he spent four years in the British Embassy in Paris.

In 1995-96, Sir Matthew was head of the political section of Eastern Adriatic Department in the FCO. In this role he was a member of the British delegation to the Dayton peace talks on Bosnia.

After 2 years in the FCO’s Policy Planning Staff covering European and trans-Atlantic issues and brief secondments to the US State Department and US Congress, Matthew joined the British Embassy in Washington, following US domestic politics from 1998 to 2002.

From 2002 to 2004, Sir Matthew was Private Secretary to the Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs, covering all foreign, European, Northern Ireland and defence issues in No10. He received a CBE for this work.

He was British Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2005 and the FCO Europe Director from 2008.

Sir Matthew is married to Alison. They have 3 daughters, born in 1998, 2000 and 2005. Sir Matthew speaks French and Bosnian, plays the double bass, and enjoys soccer and other sports.

Sir Philip Barton

Sir Philip Barton

Permanent Under-Secretary, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Sir Philip Robert Barton KCMG OBE is the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

Prior to his appointment to lead the FCDO, Philip was British High Commissioner to India from June to August 2020. Before that he was Director General in the Cabinet Office working on the UK’s longer-term response to the COVID-19 crisis. He was previously Director General, Consular and Security in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from April 2017 until January 2020.

Philip joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1986 and is a career civil servant. He has been posted overseas in Caracas, New Delhi, Cyprus, Gibraltar as Deputy Governor and Washington as Deputy Ambassador. He was British High Commissioner to Pakistan from 2014 to 2016.

Philip was Acting Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee from 2016 to 2017. He has also worked in the Cabinet Office as Director General on the 2016 Anti-Corruption Summit and Director Foreign Policy and Afghanistan/Pakistan Co-ordinator supporting the National Security Council. He was Private Secretary to Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair.

Previously, Philip worked in the FCO in London on international economic relations, the EU and South Asia. He has also been seconded to the International Institute for Strategic Studies as a Consulting Senior Fellow focusing on South Asian issues.

In the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Philip has been a member of the Management Board and Executive Committee, Sounding Board Chair, a Non-Executive Director of FCO Services and was Board Champion for tackling Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination from 2017 to 2020.

Philip was born in 1963. He studied economics and politics at Warwick University and has a Masters degree in economics from the London School of Economics. He is married to Amanda and they have a daughter and a son.

Susan Acland-Hood

Susan Acland-Hood

Permanent Secretary, Department for Education 

Susan Acland-Hood has been the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education (DfE) since September 2020.

Susan’s previous roles in government include:

  • Chief Executive at HM Courts and Tribunals Service - 2016 to 2020
  • Director of Enterprise and Growth at HM Treasury - 2015 to 2016
  • Director of Education and Funding at the Department for Education - 2013 to 2015
  • Policy Advisor on home affairs and justice, and then education policy at Number 10
  • Head of Strategy at the Home Office

She has also held senior roles in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and in the Social Exclusion Unit. Her civil service career began in 1999 at the Department for Education and Employment.

Susanna McGibbon

Susanna McGibbon

HM Procurator General, Treasury Solicitor and Permanent Secretary, Government Legal Department 

Susanna took up the role of Treasury Solicitor and Permanent Secretary of the Government Legal Department on Monday 8 March 2021.

Her previous roles include:

  • Director General, Directorate B, Government Legal Department, 2018 to 2021
  • Director of Litigation, Government Legal Department, 2012 to 2018
  • Legal Director, Department of Communities and Local Government, 2009 to 2012
  • Legal Director, Department for Business Innovation and Skills, 2006 to 2009  

Tamara Finkelstein

Tamara Finkelstien

Permanent Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Tamara Finkelstein was appointed Permanent Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2019, having previously led the department’s work on EU Exit Delivery. Before that she led the Building Safety Programme in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Much of her career has been at HM Treasury where she started as an economist, and her roles included private secretary and speechwriter to the Chancellor, and leading on public services expenditure including health, education and housing.

She has worked in a number of other government departments on policy and delivery in health and children’s services including as Deputy Head of Sure Start, and as Director General for Community Care at the Department of Health and Social Care, with responsibility for social care and community services.

Her board experience includes roles on the boards of NS&I, the Debt Management Office and the UK Border Agency. She was Secretary to Lord Hutton’s Independent Public Service Pensions Commission.

She is head of the Government Policy Profession and senior sponsor of the Civil Service Jewish Network.

Tom Read

Tom Read

Chief Executive, Government Digital Service

Tom Read became the Chief Executive Officer of the Government Digital Service (GDS) in February 2021. Tom joined GDS from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) where he was Chief Digital and Information Officer. While at MOJ he spearheaded reforms to modernise technology used across prisons and the legal aid service.

Tom is a digital technologist by background with experience across a range of industries including banking, media, and consulting. Tom was Head of Applications at the Guardian Media Group from 2008 before joining HMG as Cabinet Office Chief Technology Officer in 2013.

Vincent Devine

Vincent Devine

Government Chief Security Officer, Cabinet Office

Vincent Devine was appointed Government Chief Security Officer and Head of the Government Security Function in December 2021.

Vincent joined the civil service in 1993 and has worked in a wide range of security and national security roles, including postings in the Balkans, Ukraine and Northern Ireland. He joined the Cabinet Office from the Ministry of Defence, where he had been Chief Security Officer since 2018.