As 2020 approaches, senior figures from across government reflect on their highlights and challenges of 2019, look ahead to the next 12 months and share their favourite festive memories
What was your highlight of 2019?
Professionally, I am very proud of the work HM Treasury has done to get ready to leave the European Union. Even though the exit date has now moved, colleagues across HMT have done an outstanding job in supporting the successful negotiations and ensuring that we would have been ready to leave with no deal, had that scenario unfolded.
What has been the most significant change in your organisation this year?
The growth in numbers as we scaled up to meet the increased demands of preparing to leave the EU. In addition to practical challenges (fitting a lot more people into our space in One Horse Guards Road) we have also had to bring on board a lot of new colleagues. This has required a huge effort in training and coaching new members of the Treasury. We have also refreshed and reinforced our Treasury values, which are an essential underpinning of our culture.
What will be the biggest challenge of 2020 – and how are you preparing to meet it?
After the election, there will be a new government with an ambitious agenda. The first year of a new parliament is always challenging and exciting. At this stage, it’s hard to know what the biggest challenge will be. We’ll need to wait and see what the British people decide in the election. Whatever the outcome, I am confident that the Treasury will serve the new government and the chancellor very effectively in delivering their agenda.
Tell us a favourite festive memory from your youth...
Watching the launch of Apollo 8 on our brand new colour TV. This was so exciting for a nine-year-old. We’d never had a colour TV before. We were getting one as a family Christmas present. My parents had it installed early so we could watch the Apollo launch on 21 December. We watched the TV reports on the mission throughout the Christmas holidays. I can still remember my father bringing home a newspaper with that amazing “Earthrise” photo across the front page.