- Current education permanent secretary to move to DH
- Chris Wormald has previously worked at Cabinet Office and Department for Communities and Local Government
- Appointment comes at a time of extreme financial pressure
The Department for Education’s top civil servant is to take over at the Department of Health to fill the vacancy left by outgoing permanent secretary Dame Una O’Brien, it has been announced this afternoon.
Chris Wormald has served as permanent secretary at the Department for Education for four years, and previously worked in senior roles in the Cabinet Office, and at the Department for Communities and Local Government.
It was revealed a month ago that Dame Una would step down at the end of April this year.
Mr Wormald’s appointment has been made by the cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, with the approval of prime minister David Cameron and health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Sir Jeremy said: “Chris has done a superb job leading the Department for Education over the last four years. He will bring a wealth of leadership, implementation and policy experience to the role at the Department of Health and a great understanding of public services.
“I look forward to working with him on the challenges ahead for the department.”
He also thanked Dame Una for her “enormous contribution” to the civil service over the past 25 years.
Mr Wormald’s appointment comes at a time of severe financial strain the DH, with a projected overspend of over £2bn among NHS providers, and capital resources being transferred to avert a revenue overspend.
Mr Hunt praised Mr Wormald’s “track record of reform in education and communities and local government in particular”.
Mr Wormald said it was a “privilege and an honour to join the DH”, adding that he was “very excited by the opportunity to work on the many important challenges the department deals with”.