18 November 2011
The UK Government has selected its Head of the Civil Service to undertake one of the functions of the retiring Sir Gus O’Donnell. Cabinet Secretary responsibilities have been split from the role. Sir Robert Kerslake worked in local government before joining the Civil Service in 2008 to lead housing and over the last year, local government agencies. He will remain as permanent secretary of the Department of Communities and Local Government. This operational experience may relate well to the Government’s plan to decentralise and “contract out” as part of the “Big Society” – the transfer of power from Whitehall to local government. Being neither a career career civil servant nor having a history in policy development distinguishes his skills from those of Jeremy Heywood who has been appointed as Cabinet Secretary. GOD (Gus O’Donnell) is no longer the super mandarin.