31 August 2020 22:35
The government is to unveil its new top civil servant on Tuesday to replace Sir Mark Sedwill, who stepped down following hostile briefings linked to No 10, with a 41-year-old outsider closely allied to Boris Johnson expected to be named. Simon Case, a former private secretary to Prince William who was seconded to No 10 in May at the prime minister's request, is to be formally announced as the new cabinet secretary, the Financial Times said, citing three unnamed sources. The Cabinet Office, which is responsible for civil service matters, refused to comment on the report, saying only that the announcement would be made on Tuesday. Sedwill is due to step down as permanent secretary – a key advisory role that makes the holder the head of the civil service – in September. The announcement was made in June, bringing criticism from former colleagues who said Sedwill had been undermined by Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings and others in Downing Street.
While Case would be the youngest cabinet secretary for decades, he has significant government and Downing Street experience. Case unexpectedly left this role in March 2018 to become private secretary to Prince William. In a sign of the regard Johnson and his No 10 team hold for Case, he was brought back to Downing Street in May on what was officially a secondment, with the task of improving the central grip on the response to coronavirus. Case was nonetheless seen as unlikely to replace Sedwill, with the more experienced Chris Wormald, the head official in the Department of Health, seen as the frontrunner. The choice of a relative outsider close to Johnson will be linked by observers to a desire in No 10 to radically reshape the civil service – a process spearheaded by Cummings, who reportedly told aides that a "hard rain" was heading for intransigent officials.
His expected promotion to cabinet secretary comes two months after Sir Mark announced he was planning to step down from the role. In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Sir Mark said it was the right time to go as the government moved to the next phase of its coronavirus recovery plan. As cabinet secretary, Sir Mark advised Mr Johnson on implementing policy and the conduct of government. The new appointment also comes within the wider context of a "fairly radical shake-up" of the civil service, BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley said. This year has seen a number of senior civil servants in various departments unexpectedly announce they are leaving their posts.
Image: Sir Mark Sedwill announced in June that he would be stepping down from the role Government sources have declined to comment on the reports, but a Cabinet Office spokesman said: "An official announcement on the new cabinet secretary will be made on Tuesday 1 September." It comes after Sir Mark Sedwill announced in June that he would be stepping down from the role. His decision followed reports of clashes with Dominic Cummings, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser. Simon Case instantly became a leading contender for the top job in the Civil Service after Boris Johnson poached him from Prince William to work in 10 Downing Street. A former private secretary to David Cameron when he was prime minister, the 41-year-old had been working at Kensington Palace for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. When Mr Case took on the newly created post of permanent secretary in Downing Street, it was also clear Sir Mark Sedwill's days as cabinet secretary were numbered and the ex-courtier was the PM's choice to succeed him. A former private secretary to the Duke of Cambridge is set to be the next head of the civil service, it emerged today. Simon Case, drafted in by Boris Johnson to be the top aide at Number 10 earlier this year, is expected to be unveiled as the youngest Cabinet Secretary in living memory tomorrow. The appointment of the 41-year-old, reported by the Financial Times, represents the latest stage in the Government's dramatic shake-up of Whitehall. Sir Mark Sedwill previously stepped down from the post with a £250,000 package after apparent clashes with maverick adviser Dominic Cummings. Mr Case spent almost two years working as Prince William's right-hand man before temporarily moving to Downing Street earlier this year to assist with the coronavirus response. Simon Case (pictured last year when he was private secretary to the Duke of Cambridge) is expected to be announced as the new head of the civil service tomorrow The appointment of the 41-year-old would represent the latest stage in the dramatic shake-up of Whitehall by Boris Johnson Simon Case (left) delivered a speech on David Cameron's last day as Prime Minister in No. 10 Royal aide becomes youngest Cabinet Secretary in living memory At just 41, many thought that Simon Case would prove too young for the top job in the civil service. Having joined the civil service in 2006, the Cambridge graduate's roles have included helping to deliver the London Olympics in 2012, private secretary to David Cameron, and being part of Theresa May's EU negotiations team. Mr Case was drafted back into Whitehall to become permanent secretary at No10 earlier this year after a spell as private secretary to Prince William. Boris Johnson is said to have personally called Prince William to ask for permission to 'borrow' Mr Case. Downing Street had not had its own permanent secretary for eight years. It was Mr Case, rather than Sir Mark, who was tasked with carrying out the review into the two-metre social distancing rule that resulted in it being downgraded to 'one metre plus'. A Cabinet Office spokesman said: 'An official announcement on the new Cabinet Secretary will be made on Tuesday 1 September.' In June there were reports Mr Cummings told political aides a 'hard rain is coming' in Whitehall, suggesting the Cabinet Office needed radical overhaul. The recruitment of Mr Case as the permanent secretary at No10 was seen as sealing the fate of Sir Mark. Downing Street had not had its own permanent secretary for eight years - since former Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood gave up the title. The former Vote Leave chief, who worked for Michael Gove at the Department for Education, previously described the civil service machine as 'Kafkaesque', and wrote of support for ministers: 'The whole structure of "submissions" and "red boxes" is hopeless. Civil service unions accused No10 of orchestrating a series of 'corrosive and cowardly' briefings against Sir Mark – whom Mr Cummings is said to have seen as a 'roadblock' to a Whitehall shake-up. David Cameron holding his last but one 8am meeting with his staff in No.10 Downing Street the day before he stepped down Sir Mark Sedwill previously stepped down from the post with a huge pay-off after apparent clashes with maverick adviser Dominic Cummings (pictured earlier this month Simon Case, 41, a former aide to Prince William, is expected to be appointed as cabinet secretary tomorrow Boris Johnson is poised to appoint Simon Case, a member of his inner circle, as cabinet secretary tomorrow as he gears up to reform the civil service. The prime minister has chosen Mr Case, 41, a former aide to the Duke of Cambridge, in a surprise move that insiders say is a sign of the government's appetite for a shakeup in Whitehall. The appointment, first reported by the Financial Times, will be announced formally after the cabinet meets tomorrow morning.