Boris Johnson has reportedly chosen a Number 10 official as the head of the civil service, indicating the Prime Minister is pressing on with wide-sweeping reforms.
Johnson will appoint Simon Case to head up the civil service on Tuesday, according to the Financial Times.
Case was appointed as the PM’s temporary permanent secretary in Number 10 in May, as part of efforts to steady the ship amid the pandemic.
But few considered him a serious contender given his lack of experience and a reported desire to return to his old job as private secretary to Prince William.
In June Case’s predecessor Sir Mark Sedwill was effectively sacked by Number 10 and will now take a seat in the House of Lords.
His other role as national security adviser has been taken by Johnson’s chief Brexit adviser, David Frost.
In June, the PM’s adviser Dominic Cummings, who had a frosty relationship with Sedwill, told aides a “hard rain is coming” and said he would overhaul an “incoherent” Cabinet Office to create a smaller centre of government.
“Simon’s appointment is very much a ‘hard rain’ appointment. It’s a sign they want to do things quickly. But if the other permanent secretaries don’t recognise that person as “the boss” there will be trouble. Will he find that the levers aren’t attached to anything?”, one official told the FT.
The coronavirus pandemic has exposed weaknesses across the government, with the civil service taking a lot of the flak for these failings.
Jonathan Slater, the top civil servant at the Department of Education, was sacked last week over the A Level exams chaos. He is the fifth permanent secretary to leave their post in the last six months.
More to follow