Cabinet Office offers up to £185k to replace Chisholm as perm sec

The salary on offer is at least £20,000 lower than Chisholm's current pay packet
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By Tevye Markson

22 Nov 2023

The Cabinet Office has launched a recruitment campaign for its next permanent secretary after Alex Chisholm announced he would step down.

A salary of between £170,000 and £185,000 is on offer to Chisholm’s successor, who will also take on his civil service chief operating officer role.

Chisholm announced earlier this month that he will step down from both roles in the spring. According to the latest data, from September 2022, Chisholm – who succeeded Sir John Manzoni in both roles in 2020 – received a pay rise last year that boosted his earnings to £205,000-£209,999.

This is at least £20,000 higher than the salary on offer to candidates seeking to replace him. However, the job advert states: “More may be available to secure an outstanding candidate – subject to approval from the chief secretary to the Treasury”.

As civil service chief operating officer, Chisholm has helped to drive digital reform and promote better data literacy across government, as well as championing the Places for Growth agenda. 

Speaking to CSW earlier this year, Chisholm said the latter programme, which sees civil service roles relocated across the country to improve diversity and support growth, is what officials cite most often when he asks them which reforms have been successful.

According to the job advert, the role involves leading the ongoing transformation of the civil service; being the principal adviser to the minister for the Cabinet Office; maintaining a sharp focus on the delivery of ministerial priorities; providing strong leadership to staff in the Cabinet Office; and working with perm secs to drive efficiencies. 

The role holder will also be responsible for ensuring issues of diversity, representation and inclusion are at the heart of everything the civil service does and will be answerable to parliament for managing the department’s budget, the job description adds. 

The job advert says the successful candidate will need to demonstrate “extremely well developed political sensitivity”, a sharp intellect, confident, inclusive and compassionate leadership skills and a track record of delivery in large and complex organisations. It says experience of the private sector and complex supply and delivery chains is also desirable.

Applications close on Sunday, 10 December.

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