The creation of the post was announced in the Civil Service Reform Plan, and now civil service head Sir Bob Kerslake – who is also the DCLG permanent secretary – has brought Campbell over from his own department, where the new reform chief held the job of director of the strategy and programme team.
Campbell has spent time in the transport, environment and Scotland departments, at the European Commission and in the Cabinet Office. He joined DCLG in 2003.
Asked last month whether the appointment of a director general to lead the reforms risks splitting the task from the top leaders of the civil service, Kerslake told CSW that “it’s not a case of: ‘Hand it all to the director general and you’re on your own, gov.’ There’s a big job for [cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood and I] to do, and the other permanent secretaries.” The new role is, he explained, “to act as the organiser, driver, challenger, communicator here, but the senior leadership has to continue to be part of what we do.”
Heywood added that the creation of the post is a way of making sure “that this time round we’re really very thorough about how we implement [reform]. So having a dedicated director general in the Cabinet Office whose sole task will be to help Bob and me implement this [plan] is quite remarkable”.
Campbell began work last week, replacing the Efficiency and Reform Group’s director of reform Zina Etheridge, who has reportedly moved to the Home Office.