Peter Schofield will take over as permanent secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions when Sir Robert Devereux retires at the end of this month, it has been announced.
Schofield is currently director general of finance at Caxton House, DWP’s headquarters, a role he has served in since July 2016.
Devereux announced his intention to retire from DWP back in October, after spending seven years at the helm of the department and leading it through a period of huge change – particularly in relation to the ongoing introduction of Universal Credit. He was previously perm sec at the Department for Transport.
Cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood said he was delighted to appoint Schofield to DWP’s top job, and paid tribute to Devereux’s accomplishments.
“Peter has done an excellent job as finance director general at the department and will bring to his new role a wealth of relevant knowledge and experience,” he said.
“I look forward to working with him as he starts his work delivering DWP’s important mission.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Sir Robert Devereux for his excellent leadership of the department during his time as permanent secretary.”
Newly-appointed work and pensions secretary Esther McVey, who was only promoted to the role in the government reshuffle at the beginning of this week, said she was “looking forward” to working with Schofield on “ensuring we continue to deliver a welfare system that supports people when they need it, and helps them fulfil their potential”.
Schofield said it was “a huge honour” to be appointed to succeed Devereux and build on his achievements.
“DWP is a remarkable organisation – in scale, reach, ability to deliver change, and the motivation and pride of my 80,000 colleagues providing high quality support to over 22 million citizens,” he said. “I can’t wait to start.”
Prior to joining DWP, Schofield was director for housing and planning at the Department for Communities and Local Government.
He has also been director of the Treasury’s Enterprise and Growth Unit and private secretary to the chief secretary to the Treasury.