PM in rare veto of permanent secretary job

The prime minister has intervened to block the appointment of David Kennedy, the chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, as the new permanent secretary of the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

By CivilServiceWorld

05 Dec 2012

Kennedy’s appointment had been recommended by a selection panel that included Sir Bob Kerslake, the head of the civil service, and Lord Stern – author of a 2006 report that warned of the costs of climate change – but David Cameron exercised his right to veto Kennedy’s appointment before the proposal had been formally put to energy secretary Ed Davey, CSW understands.

A DECC insider confirmed that Davey had been happy to appoint Kennedy, but emphasised that his selection had been the outcome of the civil service appointment process rather than a result of specific backing from the secretary of state. The insider added that there is a feeling of disappointment in DECC: “It means there’s a longer period of hiatus, so we are not happy from that standpoint. It’s very unfortunate that this has happened because it has delayed us getting a new perm sec.”

CSW believes this is the first time that a prime minister has exercised their right to veto the appointment of a candidate chosen through an open recruitment process – meaning that it hasn’t happened for at least ten years. Cameron’s decision is likely to have been shaped by senior Tories’ fast-waning enthusiasm for the Climate Change Act, which many see as threatening the UK’s economic competitiveness.

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