Magazine article Public Finance

DCLG Chief Appointed Top Civil Servant in Scotland

Magazine article Public Finance

DCLG Chief Appointed Top Civil Servant in Scotland

Article excerpt

Peter Housden, the outgoing permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, has been appointed Scotland's top civil servant.

He replaces Sir John Elvidge who is retiring after seven years in the job.

Housden is a former comprehensive school teacher, director of education and council chief executive. He has held the top job at the DCLG since October 2005. He said he was 'genuinely excited' by the challenge of the role, which he will take up on June 22.

'Scotland has its own government, a great sense of pride and ambition and a civil service of passion, achievement and integrity,' he added.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said: ? am obviously sad to lose someone of such courageous leadership, who puts the interests of the department, and of the communities it serves, first.

'Peter faces an exciting challenge in Scotland, and I wish him well.'

Reports in Scotland have speculated that Housden is being moved after being briefed against by Conservative MPs in the run-up to the general election for being too close to Labour ministers.

However, he was also at the heart of a row with Labour ministers over local government reorganisation in England.

Housden had warned that moves by the previous government to turn Norwich and Exeter into single unitary authorities were likely to waste money. In leaked letters to ministers, he said the changes would 'impact adversely on the financial position of the public sector'. The coalition government has reversed the policy.

Elvidge has also been the subject of controversy. …

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