"This project is a great example of how collaboration between government, academia and business can help find innovative ways to engage the public in the work of Government. I'm sure it will be a key resource for historians for many years to come." Sir Jeremy Heywood
Men of Secrets
To watch an interview select a Cabinet Secretary below
The Cabinet Secretary is one of those uniquely British positions in government that exudes power. But how that power is exercised and with what result remain largely a mystery.
Interviews were carried out by Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield and Dr Anthony Seldon.
The Rt Hon Lord Armstrong of Ilminster, GCB, CVO entered the Civil Service in 1964. After a three-year period in the Cabinet Office, he joined the Treasury in 1967, becoming Under Secretary the following year. In 1970 he was appointed Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, Edward Heath. He then moved to the Home Office, becoming Permanent Under Secretary in 1977. He was appointed Cabinet Secretary in 1979 and served throughout Margaret Thatcher’s Premiership until 1987.
The Rt Hon Lord Butler of Brockwell, KG, GCB, CVO, PC entered the Civil Service in 1961. He was Private Secretary to Edward Heath between 1972 and 1974, to Harold Wilson between 1974 and 1975, Principal Private Secretary to Margaret Thatcher between 1982 and 1985, and Second Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury between 1985 and 1987. He was Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service from 1988 until 1998 during the Premierships of Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair.
Lord Wilson of Dinton, GCB entered the Civil Service in 1966, joining the Board of Trade. He subsequently served in a number of departments including twelve years in the Department of Energy. He headed the Economic Secretariat in the Cabinet Office under Margaret Thatcher from 1987 to 1990, and after two years in the Treasury was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Department of the Environment in 1992. He became Permanent Under Secretary of the Home Office in 1994 and Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service in 1998 until 2002.
Lord Turnbull, KCB, CVO entered the Civil Service in 1970, joining the Treasury. After a two year secondment to the IMF in Washington from 1976 to 1978, he returned to the UK, becoming Private Secretary of Economic Affairs to the Prime Minister between 1983 and 1985. This was followed by his service as Under Secretary to the Prime Minister from 1985 to 1988, and Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister between 1988 and 1992. He consequently returned to the Treasury as Deputy Secretary of Public Finances from 1992 to 1993, becoming Second Permanent Secretary of Public Expenditure from 1993 to 1994. He was then appointed Permanent Secretary to the Department of the Environment, 1994 to 1997, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, 1997 to 1998, and HM Treasury, 1998 to 2002. He was Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service between 2002 and 2005.
Lord O'Donnell joined the Civil Service in 1979 as an economist in HM Treasury. He then served as First Secretary in the British Embassy in Washington DC from 1985 to 1988 when he then returned to HM Treasury as Senior Economic Advisor from 1988 until 1989. Between 1989 and 1990 he was Press Secretary to the Chancellor, Norman Lamont and the Prime Minister, John Major. He was Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service between 2005 and 2011 during the Premierships of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron.
Sir Jeremy Heywood, KCB, CVO began his career in the Civil Service at the Treasury. He rose to occupy a range of senior roles, including Head of Securities and Markets Policy and Head of Corporate and Management Change. He also served as Principal Private Secretary to Chancellors Norman Lamont and Kenneth Clarke, before he was appointed Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister from 1999 to 2003. He then spent some time in the private sector as Managing Director and co-head of Morgan Stanley’s UK Investment Banking Division until 2007. Upon returning to the Civil Service, he was appointed Head of Domestic Policy and Strategy at the Cabinet Office, 2007 to 2008, then Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister from 2008 until 2012, when he became the current Cabinet Secretary.