Hugh Taylor, permanent secretary, DH

“Keeping the show on the road” is a phrase much connected with Hugh Taylor. Seen as an approachable and somewhat traditional safe pair of hands (which was much needed), he has no ambitions to influence policy.

However, the capability review from the Cabinet Office was very critical of the Department of Health’s internal capacity and capability, rating it in the bottom three government departments. It remains to be seen whether there is another bad report in 2009.

Mr Taylor’s previous roles include being the DH’s strategy and business development group director after posts in the Prison Service, Cabinet Office and NHS Executive.