Mark Sedwill is to join the Home Office as permanent secretary. He is currently director-general (political) at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the prime minister’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sedwill, whose new role starts on 1 February, replaces Helen Kilpatrick, acting permanent secretary since Dame Helen Ghosh left the department to join the National Trust.
Alex Aiken has been appointed executive director of government communications. He joins from Westminster City Council, where he was director of communications and strategy. He previously spent seven years at the Conservative Party, latterly as deputy director – a detail mysteriously omitted from the Cabinet Office press release. Aiken will begin work on some Cabinet Office projects this month, before formally taking up the role in April. He replaces Godric Smith, who’s had the job on an interim basis since the departure of Jenny Grey last autumn.
Meanwhile the Number 10 Policy Unit head, Paul Kirby, is to leave in March and return to KPMG; his replacement will be a political appointment, Number 10 has said. The Department for Work and Pensions’ social justice director, Mark Fisher, has been appointed acting senior responsible owner for universal credit. The Homes and Communities Agency has appointed Richard Hill, its director of programmes and deputy chief executive, as interim chief executive. And the Department for Transport has appointed its corporate group chief Clare Moriarty as rail director-general.