Slater takes over from Wormald as policy profession head

DfE perm sec confirms move on Twitter as he hosts annual conference

Jonathan Slater. Photo: Baldo Sciacca for CSW

By Richard Johnstone

17 Feb 2020

The Department for Education's permanent secretary, Jonathan Slater, has taken over from Sir Chris Wormald as head of the civil service policy profession.

Slater revealed the move on Friday, when he tweeted about hosting the annual Policy Excellence conference on policymaking in the civil service.

Slater said that he was “delighted to welcome policy professionals from across government as head of profession”, and the Cabinet Office subsequently confirmed to CSW that Slater had now taken on the role.


He succeeds Wormald, who has held the post since 2012, first as Slater's predecessor at DfE and then as perm sec at the Department of Health and Social Care since 2016.

Delighted to welcome policy professionals from across Government as Head of Profession #policyexcellence2020

— Jonathan Slater (@PermSecDfE) February 14, 2020

The Cabinet Office said Slater would soon be setting out his plans as head of the profession on the website. It could not immediately confirm if Wormald has been given a new champion role with the civil service.

In a series of tweets today, the policy profession set out details of the Policy Excellence event.

Sessions included considering how to empowering communities to build better outcomes for citizens, how policymakers can lead across the entire public sector, and what technology considerations need to be taken into account when designing and delivering public policy.

Final session of the day led by @PermSecDfE tying what’s been said, heard and learnt together and how these themes will input into the work around the future of the Policy Profession #policyexcellence2020

— Policy Profession (@PolicyProfUK) February 14, 2020

Wormald’s time as the head of the policy profession saw him work to boost the skills of there profession across government. In 2018, he urged civil servants to “go back to school” to ensure their skills are kept up to date, and to ensure that officials are mixing with academics. He has also worked to improve knowledge management across government, but acknowledged last year that government has relied on civil servants not to leave in order to retain institutional knowledge and information.

“You do want people to stay in post for a long time and become actual experts. But that can’t be, shouldn’t be, an excuse not to do the knowledge management bit,” he told the Institute for Government last April.

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