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Civil Service shake-up: two perm secs step down

The government has announced a shake-up at the top of the Civil Service, with two permanent secretaries stepping down.

Ursula Brennan is to retire from her role as permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice during the summer recess, with Richard Heaton moving from his role as perm sec at the Cabinet Office to replace her.

John Manzoni, chief executive of the Civil Service, will take on Heaton’s former role in addition to his current responsibilities.

Paying tribute to Brennan, cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, said that she has made a tremendous contribution across a wide range of government departments and agencies.

“She is widely admired as a role model throughout the Civil Service and has worked tirelessly to promote and inspire a generation of leaders. She has been a greatly valued permanent secretary colleague and I wish her all the best for the future,” he added.

Brennan informed Heywood she planned to retire before the election but agreed to stay on until the summer to ease the transition.

Speaking about her time in Whitehall, she said: “In four decades in the Civil Service, I have had the great privilege of working in support of critical public services. From health and social security to rural development, and from defence to justice, I have been lucky to work with colleagues with strong public service values and a commitment to continuous improvement.”

Meanwhile, at Defra, Bronwyn Hill is also stepping down as permanent secretary after more than four years, to be replaced by Clare Moriarty, the current director general at the Department for Transport's (DfT) Rail Executive.

Sir Jeremy said that Hill had been “an exemplary public servant” over the past three decades.

Moriarty, who is a qualified accountant with experience in the Department of Health, the Ministry of Justice, and the DfT, said she was "thrilled" to take over at Defra.

“The department has a great role to play on issues that matter to everyone in the country, from the food that we eat to the future of the planet. I welcome the chance to work with Liz Truss and her ministerial team on a fascinating agenda for the years ahead,” she added.

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