Former EY partner hired as head of government risk profession

Clive Martin will spearhead work to produce an accredited learning and development offer for risk-focused officials
Clive Martin. Photo: GOV.UK

By Jim Dunton

17 May 2022

The Treasury has appointed a former partner at consulting giant EY as the first head of the fledgling government risk profession, which is part of the government finance function.

Clive Martin started in the new role two weeks ago. He will work with the finance function’s Risk-Management Centre of Excellence to produce an accredited learning and development offer for risk-management professionals.

Creating a “cross-department risk management profession with certification and training” was one of 28 recommendations made in Nigel Boardman’s review of  procurement during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, all of which were accepted by prime minister Boris Johnson.

Martin’s official GOV.UK biography says he spent 17 years at EY, formerly known as Ernst & Young, where he led the development of client-facing risk practices and ran a digital learning and communication business. The bio says Martin had overall responsibility for everything EY did for some – unnamed – major financial services clients in London, New York and Zurich.

Martin’s LinkedIn page suggests he left EY almost five years ago and ran an eponymous consultancy before starting at the Treasury.

Civil service chief operating officer Alex Chisholm and Treasury director general for public spending Cat Little – who is also head of the government finance function – said they were “delighted” to have hired Martin in a letter to Public Accounts Committee chair Dame Meg Hillier.

Their comments came in an update on government’s work to improve risk-management, which was dated 29 April but only published last Thursday.

It said work was “on track” to instigate the key Boardman recommendation of introducing a programme of training for risk managers in government that had certification and formal accreditation.

Chisolm and Little said the Risk-Management Centre of Excellence had relaunched a skills-and-capability working group that was drawing on existing risk expertise within departments and arm’s length bodies to develop a “high-quality and credible learning offer” for the risk profession.

“The CoE is currently coordinating with Civil Service Learning and undertaking pre-market engagement with potential learning providers,” they said.

“Further to this, the CoE will be looking to develop a strategy for ensuring that a sufficient pipeline of learning and career development for the risk profession and those wishing to enter it is in place to support capacity and continued professional development.”

Chisholm and Little said they were aiming to confirm the name of the learning provider and give an outline of the programme of training in their next quarterly update.

Despite ongoing work in relation to some Boardman recommendations, Chisholm has pushed back against proposals to create a post of government chief risk officer, which was called for by members of the House of Lords Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee in December.

Introducing the new post – at the helm of a new Office for Preparedness and Resilience – was one of a series of recommendations made by peers, based on experience from the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Chisholm told a PAC session in January that a cross-government risk role could blur lines of accountability and prompt buck-passing on the part of perm secs. 

In March PAC members sided with peers and also called for the creation of a chief risk officer and an Office for Preparedness and Resilience.

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