Former Treasury spending DG appointed Cabinet Office second perm sec

James Bowler moves from MoJ, where he led on policy, communications and analysis of the justice system
Bowler attends a select committee hearing as strategy, budget and planning director alongside then-chancellor George Osborne in 2014. Photo: PA/PA Archive/PA Images

James Bowler, a former Treasury official, has been appointed second permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office.

The department confirmed the appointment, first reported by Politico, this morning.

Since March, Bowler has been a director general at the Ministry of Justice, where he led on policy, communications and analysis of the justice system, including the prisons, courts and probation services.

Before that, he spent three years as director general of spending at the Treasury, where he was responsible for overseeing the allocation and delivery of £800bn of public spending, helping to ensure value for money.

In that role he worked closely with the Cabinet Office, leading the Treasury’s spending relationship with the department, as well as with No.10. He also supported spending directors and teams working with other government departments, think tanks and the financial sector.

While at the Treasury he was also co-chair of the Major Project Review Group and joint chair of the Finance Leadership Group.

Previously, Bowler was director general for tax and welfare, where he worked on tax policy development and implementation, welfare reform and the Treasury’s relationships with HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions.

In the same role, he oversaw the preparation of the annual Budget and Autumn Statement, and subsequent legislation.

His earlier civil service roles include director for strategy, planning and budget at the Treasury. Earlier in his career he spent time in No.10 as PPS to prime ministers Gordon Brown and David Cameron, and No.11 as PPS to Brown and Alistair Darling during their terms as chancellor.

Bowler is a policy leaders fellow at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Science and Policy, which aims to strengthen links between academics and policy makers. Other current CSaP fellows, who join the fellowship by invitation, include civil service chief operating officer Alex Chisholm, Home Office second perm sec Shona Dunn and deputy cabinet secretary Helen MacNamara.

Bowler was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 2012 New Year Honours.

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