Treasury seeks second perm sec as Charles Roxburgh exit confirmed

Department offers up to £160,000 for successful candidate
Charles Roxburgh is leaving his role as second perm sec. Treasury photo: HM Treasury/Flickr

By Tevye Markson

20 Jun 2022

The Treasury is looking for a new second permanent secretary, with Sir Charles Roxburgh to step down from the role after six years.

The department is offering £150-160,000 to the successful candidate for the role as the second most senior official at the Treasury.

Roxburgh, who was appointed to the position in 2016, will stand down from one of the government’s highest-profile roles, the Treasury confirmed.

A Treasury spokesperson said: “We are very thankful to Charles Roxburgh for his service as second permanent secretary of the Treasury. His successor will be confirmed in due course, following a thorough and robust recruitment exercise.”

The second perm sec will run the Treasury with permanent secretary Tom Scholar. The job entails taking “an awful lot of decisions” about the operation of the department and playing a big role in helping to run the whole of the civil service as an organisation, Scholar said.

In an interview advertising the role, Scholar said he is “open minded” about the background of the department’s second-in-command.

“Over the years we’ve had people from all sorts of backgrounds come in and everyone brings in a different set of skills and a different set of insight,” he said. 

“That’s also part of strengthening our diversity as well.”

Scholar, who was second perm sec at the department from 2008-2013, said the successful candidate will have their own policy area and the department “can be very flexible on that” depending on their skills and experience.

Successive second permanent secretaries have taken the lead in every area of the Treasury’s responsibilities, the job advert said.

The successful candidate will be a "very senior leader with a real track record of success in their chosen area" and will have experience of inspiring big teams of people, Scholar said.

They will also need to have:

  • Good judgement
  • A strong sense of values and integrity
  • Good experience of operating at board level
  • The ability to develop external relationships
  • Experience of navigating institutional politics and senior structures

The role will include developing and maintaining relationships with stakeholders, including senior leaders in the business and finance sectors, ministers, and other senior civil servants across government.

The post holder will be expected to “develop and maintain these relationships in order to persuade and influence the senior civil service, ministers and external stakeholders to achieve the government’s priorities”, the job advert said.

The second perm sec plays a big role in policy, advising ministers, the chancellor and the prime minister, liaising with senior external stakeholders and driving the work of the team.

The Treasury plays a major role at the centre of government on a broad range of issues, including managing public spending, strategic oversight of the UK tax system, setting the conditions for sustainable economic growth and leading on financial services policy.

Scholar highlighted the furlough scheme during the Covid-19 pandemic, imposing financial sanctions on Russia and action to reduce energy bills as some of the work that the department has done in recent years.

“This is an exciting and challenging time for the Treasury, and we are looking for an exceptional candidate to take on this role,” Scholar added.

Roxburgh was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Jubilee Honours list earlier this month for services to government.


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