Perm secs round-up 2020: Reflections from the top of government on a year like no other

2020 was a year unlike any other, with the coronavirus pandemic upending the work of government and changing how we live our daily lives. Senior figures from across the civil service tell us how the unprecedented 12 months affected them, and look ahead to 2021
Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/PA Images

By Civil Service World

16 Dec 2020

The 2020 perm sec round-up is supported by Raytheon UK

 

 

 

 

'We have paid a heavy price in healthcare postponed': Chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty on a year fighting Covid-19

'Changes at the top of departments always present exciting opportunities': director general of the Attorney General's Office Shehzad Charania reflects on the 'privilege' of leadership during a challenging year

‘2020 has been the most testing time I’ve experienced as a leader’: Scottish Government permanent secretary Leslie Evans looks back at a ‘volatile’ and ‘complex’ year

‘We must rebuild Britain’: IPA chief Nick Smallwood reflects on 2020 and looks to the year ahead

Home Office perm sec Matthew Rycroft reflects on taking over the department in lockdown

‘One of the hardest things has been to retain a sense of community’: GIAA chief Elizabeth Honer on 2020

‘We’ve had to update guidance daily’: Susan Clews, Acas chief executive, on the impact of Covid

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman on a challenging year for education, and how the department will get back to business as usual in 2021

‘Seeing colleagues step up at a time of such uncertainty made me very proud’: GDS DG Fiona Deans on 2020

'Brexit means most of my Zoom calls will be for business rather than festive fun': HMRC chief Jim Harra reflects on 2020

‘It is important that leaders are visible, approachable, and prioritise the wellbeing of their colleagues’: Defra perm sec Tamara Finkelstein's 2020 leadership lessons

‘I will use the hours usually lost on the motorways to pause, reflect and refresh’: National statistician Prof Sir Ian Diamond's festive plans

'This year has thrown us lots of challenges around ensuring people can work from home’: Civil Service Disability Network chair Sue Reeves on 2020

‘Covid has meant we’ve had to adapt our reforms, but we’re still driving change’ Companies House's Louise Smyth on the impact of 2020

‘A key challenge will be how to ensure that the promotion of race equality and inclusion is embedded across reforms’: Civil Service Race Forum chairs review 2020 and look ahead to 2021

‘It was a year of hard choices’: NCA director general Lynne Owens reflects on 2020

‘Understanding which impacts are temporary and which are permanent will be key to 2021’: IPO chief exec Tim Moss’s Covid reflections

‘I've found it really hard not to be able to see people face to face’: DCMS perm sec Sarah Healey on working through Covid

'Brexit means most of my Zoom calls will be for business rather than festive fun': HMRC chief Jim Harra reflects on 2020

‘It is important that leaders are visible, approachable, and prioritise the wellbeing of their colleagues’: Defra perm sec Tamara Finkelstein's 2020 leadership lessons

‘I will use the hours usually lost on the motorways to pause, reflect and refresh’: National statistician Prof Sir Ian Diamond's festive plans

‘Seeing colleagues step up at a time of such uncertainty made me very proud’: GDS DG Fiona Deans on 2020

'This year has thrown us lots of challenges around ensuring people can work from home’: Civil Service Disability Network chair Sue Reeves on 2020

‘A key challenge will be how to ensure that the promotion of race equality and inclusion is embedded across reforms’: Civil Service Race Forum chairs review 2020 and look ahead to 2021

‘It was a year of hard choices’: NCA director general Lynne Owens reflects on 2020

‘I've found it really hard not to be able to see people face to face’: DCMS perm sec Sarah Healey on working through Covid

‘Understanding which impacts are temporary and which are permanent will be key to 2021’: IPO chief exec Tim Moss’s Covid reflections

NAO chief Gareth Davies on Covid: ‘We adjusted to fully remote auditing without compromising on quality’

357m vaccine doses, £65bn in loans, nine industry guides and more: Sarah Munby reflects on 'a busy year' for BEIS

‘The whole of society needs a break this Christmas’: Environment Agency’s Emma Howard Boyd on 2020

'At times like this people want to feel a sense of belonging': Welsh Government perm sec Dame Shan Morgan on 2020

‘The pandemic has highlighted the importance of public information’: National Archives keeper Jeff James on the Covid response

‘Charities’ work saves, sustains and enriches life in countless ways’: Charity Commission’s Helen Stephenson on sector’s Covid response

Net zero, a new supercomputer, COP26 and a Met Office restructure: Prof Penelope Endersby looks ahead to 2021

‘The most isolated people who don’t have LGBT+ support around them are the ones that need support the most’: Kate Hughes, chair of the Civil Service LGBT+ Network, on 2020

‘We have balanced the urgent response to the pandemic with the legal requirements that underpin civil service appointments’: Civil Service Commission chief Pete Lawrence on 2020

DVLA chief Julie Lennard on keeping NHS staff on the roads, and why digital has been so important to their Covid response

‘Our work this year has been the culmination of four years of building a global department’: Department for International Trade perm sec Antonia Romeo on 2020

‘EU exit is going to put us right into the spotlight’: Food Standards Agency chief Emily Miles looks ahead

'2020 was truly a tipping point for HS2': DfT perm sec Bernadette Kelly on a year of getting 'shovels in the ground', and frustrating media battles

‘The pandemic has highlighted the importance of public information’: National Archives keeper Jeff James on the Covid response

‘I am proud of the way the Government Communication Service has come together under difficult circumstances to deliver exemplary public communication’: Government comms chief Alex Aiken on 2020

‘There was exceptional teamwork and rigour’: Head of the government finance function Cat Little reflects on her first Spending Review in 2020

Net zero, a new supercomputer, COP26 and a Met Office restructure: Prof Penelope Endersby looks ahead to 2021

'This year has been a tremendous reminder of the importance of the union': civil service COO Alex Chisholm reflects on 2020

National Infrastructure Commission chief on joining during lockdown: ‘I look forward to being able to hold an all staff meeting in person’

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