Jeremy Heywood

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Person.png Sir Jeremy Heywood   PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Jeremy Heywood.jpg
Alma materBootham School, Hertford College (Oxford), London School of Economics, Harvard Business School
SpouseSuzanne Elizabeth Cook

Employment.png Cabinet Secretary Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
1 January 2012 - Present
Preceded byGus O'Donnell

Employment.png Head of the Home Civil Service Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
September 2014 - Present

Employment.png Downing Street Permanent Secretary

In office
11 May 2010 - 1 January 2012

Employment.png Downing Street Chief of Staff Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
10 October 2008 - 11 May 2010
Preceded byStephen Carter
Succeeded byEdward Llewellyn

Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, is supervising a review of the UK's Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) which came into force on 1 January 2005.[1] Ministers launched the cross-party review just hours after papers released under FOI on 17 July 2015 disclosed that British pilots had been clandestinely involved in bombing in Syria.[2]

In September 2015, departmental responsibility for the release of government files, under what is now the 20-year rule, was transferred from the Justice Ministry to Sir Jeremy's Cabinet Office. The Public Records Act 1958 requires government departments to assess files for declassification and transfer them to the National Archives at Kew, or state publicly why they should remain classified. In December 2014, 500 files from 1985 and 1986 were released at Kew, which allowed reporters to go through a full list containing thousands of documents. This year, the Cabinet Office released just 58 highly edited and selective digitised files covering the period 1986-88 to journalists, with the promise of more files to come over the course of 2016. Sir Bob Kerslake, former Head of the Civil Service, criticised the Cabinet Office's intention to publish documents on a monthly basis as a way of managing information — in effect, of burying bad news.[3]


Heywood was educated at Bootham School,[4] an independent school with a Quaker background and ethos in York, before taking a BA in History and Economics at Hertford College (Oxford) and an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics. He also studied for a semester at Harvard Business School.[5]


Sir Jeremy Heywood was appointed Cabinet Secretary following the announcement of Sir Gus O’Donnell’s retirement in December 2011. From September 2014 he also took on the title Head of the Civil Service. Prior to that, Heywood was Permanent Secretary to two successive Prime Ministers at 10 Downing Street. He also spent over three years as a Managing Director including as co-head (with Jonathan Powell) of the UK Investment Banking Division at Morgan Stanley. Before joining Morgan Stanley, Sir Jeremy Heywood occupied a range of senior civil service roles, including as Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister (1999–2003).

Prior to that, he had a variety of senior roles at HM Treasury including:

  • Head of Securities and Markets Policy
  • Head of Corporate and Management Change

He also served as Principal Private Secretary to Chancellors Norman Lamont and Kenneth Clarke and had a spell at the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC.[6]

Sir Cover-up

In October 2015, Sir Jeremy denied being "Sir Cover-up" as he faced accusations of slowing down the release of the Chilcot Inquiry's report into the Iraq War.[7]

In December 2015, Heywood was accused of suppressing the release of government files into the public domain. Among the files containing ‘politically sensitive information’ that should have been released but were withheld are those dealing with the Gibraltar shootings and Pan Am Flight 103.[8]


An appointment by Jeremy Heywood

Jon DayUK/Joint Intelligence Committee/ChairMarch 2012December 2015
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