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?
What a difference a year makes! As the new department continues to settle in, we have moved from mobilisation, through transition, to transformation. The department looks and feels different, and with the delivery of the Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Strategy we have begun to demonstrate the power in combining business with energy.
On a more specific note, I was impressed we were able to deliver a draft bill for the Energy Price Cap just five working days after the prime minister’s announcement of the policy.
These initiatives couldn’t have been realised without the hard work and commitment of our civil servants. I’m pleased that our latest People Survey results have demonstrated great progress, with BEIS increasing its score on organisational objectives and purpose by 23%.
BEIS is really developing a personality of its own and I’m hugely proud of our achievements this year and look forward to building on this success in 2018.
What was your most difficult decision in 2017?
After the PM’s Lancaster House speech and the EU exit white paper, I sat down with my senior leadership team to work out how the department would need to change to play its full part in Brexit. We decided Brexit would have to be a priority for every group in BEIS, not only the International Group, and we would need to redeploy a significant amount of staff as well as hire additional external expertise. This was a difficult decision because we did not know exactly what all these people would be doing, only that they would be needed. And so it has proven; in fact, we now need more.
What are your department’s top priorities in the year ahead?
The Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Strategy will achieve nothing if they are not implemented energetically with sustained support across government and with the business, science and research communities. Brexit too will move from mainly planning to mainly doing, whether at the negotiation table or in the building of new institutions, systems and processes for repatriated functions and duties.
For you, no Christmas holiday is complete without...
Spending quality time with my family. This Christmas I hit 50, so we’re off to celebrate – or commiserate – in the sun.