Permanent Secretary

Sir Peter HousdenSir Peter Housden

Sir Peter Housden was appointed as Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government in June 2010.  In this role, Sir Peter is the principal policy adviser to the First Minister and Secretary to the Cabinet.  He is also the Principal Accountable Officer for the Scottish Government with personal responsibility for the propriety and regularity of Government finance and for economic, efficient and effective use of all related resources.

Sir Peter is the senior Civil Servant in Scotland and leads the 5000+ civil servants working for the Scottish Government, supporting the Government in developing, implementing and communicating its policies in accordance with the Civil Service Code.  

As such the Permanent Secretary’s objective is to support the Scottish Government’s Purpose to focus government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.  The delivery of the Scottish Government's agenda is underpinned by the National Performance Framework which supports the outcomes-based approach to performance.

Sir Peter chairs the planning group for the Scottish Leaders Forum which drives wider work to deliver improvement across public services in Scotland.  At UK level, Peter is a member of the Civil Service Board and plays an active role in a number of UK-based networks and activities.  He is a Member of the Council of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, a Trustee of the Work Foundation and an Associate Fellow of Warwick University Business School.

Sir Peter served from 2005–2010 as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government in Whitehall and had earlier worked at the Department for Education and Skills where from 2001-2005 he was Director‑General for Schools, responsible for primary and secondary education in England's 27,000 schools. 

Sir Peter entered public service as a secondary school teacher in Shropshire and served as an education officer in three large local authorities before being appointed as Director of Education in Nottinghamshire in 1991.  He was appointed as the Council’s Chief Executive in 1994, and in September 2000 was seconded to the Audit Commission for six months to lead its work on the NHS national plan.