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Housing specialist becomes civil service chief

The former chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency has been appointed head of the civil service.

Sir Bob Kerslake will remain as permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government but take on responsibility for leading the 450,000-strong civil service as well.

Sir Bob, who has only been in his current post for a year served for two years as the first chief executive of the HCA from December 2008 to November 2010.

He takes over as head of the civil service from Sir Gus O’Donnell who leaves on December 31. Sir Gus’s other role as Cabinet Secretary will be taken by Jeremy Heywood.

Commenting on the news, Sir Bob said: “I am delighted and honoured to be given this leadership role at such an important time for the Civil Service. We have immense strengths in the service that we should be justly proud of, but we must also embrace change. I want to engage all parts of the Civil Service in the reform process.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I am delighted to announce that Sir Bob Kerslake will become Head of the Civil Service in January, working alongside Jeremy Heywood as Cabinet Secretary. Sir Bob brings with him a wealth of experience in both central and local government, gained from over 20 years of public service. This is a time of significant change and challenge for the Civil Service - driven by the demands for new skills and capabilities, and the delivery of substantial financial savings without compromising on standards. I feel absolutely confident that Bob and Jeremy will provide the leadership to ensure that our Civil Service continues to be admired around the world for its strength and professionalism.”

Sir Bob has also been chief executive of Sheffield City council.

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