Ministerial responsibility for civil service reform has changed hands again, with new Cabinet Office minister Jeremy Quin now in charge of delivering the government’s efficiency programme as part of Rishi Sunak’s reshuffle.
Quin replaces Chris Philp, who was Cabinet Office minister for less than two weeks under Truss and has now left cabinet. Like his predecessor, Quin will be responsible for civil service modernisation and HR; the Places for Growth strategy; and Cabinet Office business planning and performance.
He will also oversee the Government Digital Service, the Office of Government Property, the Crown Commercial Service and the Government Communications Service.
Quin is the sixth Cabinet Office minister in just over a year. He is the latest in a string of ministers to oversee civil service reform, responsibility for which has moved between cabinet posts and has not remained in the same hands for more than a few months since Michael Gove left the Cabinet Office in September 2021.
He has previously held a number of junior roles including crime minister in the Home Office and defence procurement minister in the Ministry of Defence.
Oliver Dowden has meanwhile been named chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – the most senior post in the Cabinet Office – replacing Nadhim Zahawi, who is now a minister without portfolio after giving up the CDL title.
The changeover comes amid a reshuffle that brings in some of the freshly appointed prime minister’s allies, but keeps some ministers in key posts.
Recently appointed chancellor Jeremy Hunt will stay on, having been appointed by Sunak’s short-lived predecessor Liz Truss to steady the financial markets after her mini-budget caused economic turmoil.
James Cleverly stays on as foreign secretary while Michelle Donelan keeps her post as culture secretary. Sunak’s leadership rival Penny Mordaunt will remain leader of the House of Commons.
A number of politicians who departed cabinet just months or weeks ago have returned to their previous roles. Most notable is Suella Braverman, who has been appointed home secretary despite resigning from the post last week after admitting she had sent official documents via a personal email account.
Returning ministers include Steve Barclay, who returns as health secretary; Michael Gove, who is back as levelling up secretary; Dominic Raab, who returns as justice secretary and deputy prime minister; and Johnny Mercer, who has been made veterans affairs minister for the third time.
Kemi Badenoch has kept her post as trade secretary and regained her title as equalities minister – an appointment that was criticised by the government’s LGBT advisers the last time she held it under Boris Johnson.
Jacob Rees-Mogg – the former government efficiency minister who drove efforts to get civil servants to spend less time working from home and criticised flexitime arrangements – resigned from his role as business secretary soon after Sunak’s appointment, having previously called the PM a “socialist” and said he would not serve in his cabinet. He has been replaced by Grant Shapps, who was home secretary for less than a week and previously served as transport secretary under Johnson.
Sunak has meanwhile appointed a longtime former civil servant as attorney general. Victoria Prentis, who replaces Michael Ellis, spent 17 years at the Treasury Solicitors’ Department – which later became the Government Legal Department – and led the government’s justice and security legal team before becoming an MP in 2015.
Other appointments include:
- Thérèse Coffey moves from the Department of Health and Social Care to become environment secretary, replacing Ranil Jayawardena. Her deputy PM job goes to Dominic Raab
- Gillian Keegan is education secretary, her first cabinet-level role, after junior ministerial posts in the Foreign Office and Department of Health and Social Care. She is the fifth education secretary in four months and replaces Kit Malthouse
- Mel Stride has been appointed as work and pensions secretary, replacing Chloe Smith and standing down from his role as Treasury Commitee chair.
- Former Conservative chief whip Mark Harper has become transport secretary
- David Davies has been promoted to Welsh secretary after holding junior ministerial roles in the Wales Office
- John Glen, has been promoted from Treasury minister to chief Treasury secretary, replacing Edward Argar
- Former Welsh secretary Simon Hart has replaced Wendy Morton as Conservative chief whip