Permanent Secretary announces intention to leave post

Written by Kate Shannon on 15 January 2015 in News

Sir Peter Housden will remain until the end of June

Sir Peter Housden has announced today that he will leave office as Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government at the end of June, after five years in the post.

The Civil Service Commission will now begin a full and open recruitment competition to identify his successor.

Housden said: “It has been a joy and a privilege to serve these five years. However, a person cannot do these jobs forever and I want to enable my successor to come into post in good time for the run-up to the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2016.

“I am confident that my successor will find the civil service in Scotland in good heart. This has been a vibrant and challenging period. We have come through with our values intact, with strong capability and in a spirit of partnership across Scotland, and with the UK Government and its agencies.

"I shall hope to contribute to the development of public service here and in other settings in the years ahead. For the next six months my focus will remain the implementation of the Programme for Government. I will make an announcement on my future plans at the end of June.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon paid tribute to Housden and said he will leave behind a “very strong, dedicated team” and a firm structure for his successor to inherit.

“On a personal level I wish Peter and his family all the very best as he looks to continue his long and distinguished career of public service,” she added.

Housden entered public service as a secondary school teacher in Shropshire and served as an education officer in three local authorities before being appointed as Director of Education in Nottinghamshire in 1991. He became the council’s chief executive in 1994, and in September 2000 was seconded to the Audit Commission for six months to lead its work on the NHS National Plan. He then worked at the Department for Education and Skills, where from 2001 to 2005 he was Director General for Schools.

Following this he served until 2010 as Permanent Secretary at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Department for Communities and Local Government in Whitehall. 

Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, said: "I would like to thank Peter for his tremendous work as the Permanent Secretary for the Scottish Government, in particular in leading the Scottish Civil Service through a challenging programme of constitutional debate and change.”

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