Permanent secretary

The search is finally over. I’ve heard that Ursula Brennan will be promoted to become the most senior civilian official at the Ministry of Defence — taking over what is arguably the most rum job in Whitehall.

It is always good to see more women at the top of the civil service, which is still far too dominated by men. Brennan has shown herself to be a dab hand as deputy permanent secretary at the MoD, keeping a cool head in what can be a maddening institution to work in.

There will also be some relief that there is a degree of continuity at the top of the MoD. After all, as well as Brennan’s appointment as permanent secretary, there is a relatively new government, a new chief of defence staff, and a new head of procurement (which still hasn’t been announced in spite of a six month search).

But those wanting to see new blood brought in to this infamously dysfunctional department will be a touch disappointed. Read more