Rob Varley: Met Office chief executive on the weather service's growing global impact
With the end of 2017 fast approaching, we asked the UK's top civil servants to look back at the year, outline their goals for 2018 – and tell us what they cannot do Christmas without
What are you most proud of achieving in 2017?
As well as vital public facing services in the UK, the Met Office’s impact on the international stage continues to grow.
Our world-class science, technology and operational delivery are enabling, for example: our growing scientific partnerships with China, Brazil and South Africa through the BEIS Newton Fund; our support for DfID’s capacity building in Africa; our Defence role for MoD, NATO and with partners in the USA; our World Area Forecast Centre for civil aviation; and our vital support to partners across the Atlantic helping to mitigate the devastating impacts of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria.
What was your most difficult decision in 2017?
In response to continued budgetary pressures we have seen over a hundred staff leave the Met Office through a voluntary exit scheme this year, many of them long serving with a great wealth of experience.
This in turn has led to some tough decisions on prioritisation, ensuring that we focus our scarce resources in the most effective way for our customers.
What are your department’s top priorities in the year ahead?
We are implementing a major programme of transformation and efficiency.
The priority for the coming year is delivering the transformation whilst continuing to give great service to all our customers, maintaining our world leading science and capability; and so maximising the socio-economic benefits to all our stakeholders.
For you, no Christmas holiday is complete without...
A bracing family walk on a Devon beach on Boxing Day, whatever the weather!