Pocklington to lead new energy department in perm secs reshuffle

BEIS perm sec Sarah Munby moves to new science department, while Sarah Healey moves from DCMS to DLUHC
Jeremy Pocklington (right) with levelling up secretary Michael Gove. Photo: DLUHC

Rishi Sunak’s reorganisation of government departments has led to a reshuffle of permanent secretaries stretching from the three new business, energy and science departments to the levelling-up ministry.

Jeremy Pocklington is moving from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to lead the new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

Sarah Munby, who has headed up the now-defunct Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy since 2020, will now head up another of its offshoot departments: the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. The government chief scientific adviser will be based in SIT.

After only a month in the top job at the Department for International Trade, Gareth Davies will take the helm at its replacement, the Department for Business and Trade. Davies previously worked as a director general in BEIS, before becoming second perm sec at the Department for Transport in 2021.

Replacing Pocklington at DLUHC will be Sarah Healey, who has spent the last four years heading up the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Commenting on Pocklington's appointment, Chris Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, said: “Jeremy knows the energy issues very well indeed”.

Pocklington spent two years as a DG in the Department of Energy and Climate Change – the department some have said Sunak is recreating in ESNZ – before then-PM Theresa May shut it down in a 2016 reshuffle. He was then director general for energy and security at BEIS before moving to the housing ministry in 2018.

Pocklington will be joined by BEIS’s recently appointed second perm sec, Clive Maxwell, who will take up the same role at ESNZ. Maxwell was BEIS’s director general of energy transformation between 2014 and 2017, before spending five years as DG of high speed rail at DfT.

Ruth Hannant and Polly Payne, job-share directors general for culture, sport and civil society at DCMS – which has dropped its “digital” brief – will lead the department while it recruits a new perm sec to replace Healey.

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