As politicians return to the table to discuss the re-establishment of power-sharing in Northern Ireland, Suzannah Brecknell talks to David Sterling, head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, on civil service impartiality in the absence of ministers and the bruising RHI inquiry. Photography by Kelvin Boyes
After 10 years scrutinising government accounts and trying to stop departments from squandering taxpayers’ cash, the comptroller and auditor general Sir Amyas Morse is standing down from the National Audit Office. Jess Bowie meets him.
The absence of ministers since the collapse of Stormont’s power sharing in early 2017 hasn’t stopped health service leaders in Northern Ireland from pushing forward their transformation agenda. Health department perm sec Richard Pengelly tells Suzannah Brecknell about driving change through shared leadership, hard work, and difficult discussions
An explosives expert and the first woman to lead the Met Office, Penelope Endersby’s arrival at the much-loved weather service was a breath of fresh air. She tells Beckie Smith about being a mentor, climate change, and stepping out of the shadows
The Office for Product Safety & Standards is one of a number of government bodies springing up to help prepare the UK for life outside the EU. Beckie Smith meets its chief executive Graham Russell
As the UK faces increasingly complex global threats, our defence and security organisations must work more collaboratively than ever. Here, CSW hears from Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
As a director general at the Government Legal Department, Susanna McGibbon oversees legal services to a range of departments across Whitehall. She talks to Beckie Smith about her love of inquiries, government legal work in the public eye and life beyond Brexit
As she steps down from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport, perm sec Dame Sue Owen talks to Suzannah Brecknell about abrasive behaviours, existential crises, and why she’s no longer planning a sybaritic retirement. Photography by Louise Heywood-Schiefer
The outgoing chief executive of The Whitehall & Industry Group – and a former senior civil servant in several departments – sits down with Suzannah Brecknell to discuss international negotiations, super departments, and the perils of hierarchies
Jin Sahota is the government procurement expert in charge of unlocking billions for the NHS frontline at a time of record demand. He reflects on three years of trying to get hospitals to work together – and the challenge of maintaining supplies amid Brexit uncertainty.
Taking up the roles of cabinet secretary and head of the civil service at a time of seismic change, Sir Mark Sedwill is leading a 400,000-strong team that is growing fast and working hard amid deep uncertainty. He talks to Jess Bowie and Suzannah Brecknell about his priorities, and what he thinks will define his time as government’s top official
Last year’s novichok attacks in Salisbury brought global threats to the doorstep of the government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. Chief executive Gary Aitkenhead tells Richard Johnstone how it is responding to the changing world