Government Equalities Office chief Hilary Spencer set to quit

Former Civil Service Learning director to become boss of education charity

Hilary Spencer Credit: Civil Service Learning

By Jim.Dunton

29 Aug 2019

The Government Equalities Office is set to lose its top civil servant, Hilary Spencer, who is leaving to become chief executive of education charity the Ambition Institute.

Spencer has been director of the GEO for just over three years, before which she was director of Civil Service Learning. 

Most of Spencer’s Whitehall career has been spent in education and social policy, with earlier roles including director of strategy at the Department for Education and as a principal private secretary.


The Ambition Institute was formally launched in March this year, following the merger of the teacher-development charities Ambition School Leadership and the Institute for Teaching.

It describes itself as a graduate school that “combines the mission focus of a charity, the academic rigour of a traditional university, and the essential classroom connection of a teaching school”.

Spencer said she was honoured to be joining the charity as its first permanent chief executive.

“It's such a privilege to be joining as CEO, to use the expertise I've gained in my time working across govt to lead Ambition in its important mission," she said.

A GEO spokesperson said: “We're grateful to Hilary for all her brilliant work at the GEO, and wish her luck in her new role.”

They added that the GEO, which now sits within the Cabinet Office, was continuing to drive improvements in equality and reduce discrimination and disadvantage for all in the UK.

“Over the last 12 months we have seen employers reporting their gender pay gaps for the second time, the launch of our roadmap for women's economic empowerment across their lives, and a third of our four-year LGBT Action Plan delivered,” the spokesperson said.

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