The promise made in the Modernizing Government White Paper, published in March 1999, to create a civil service for the 21st century has come closer to delivery with the appointment of a Managing Director for the Cabinet Office. This is thought to be the first MD appointment in the civil service which has prided itself on using such distinctive titles as ‘Secretary’.The appointment is more than a cosmetic gesture to placate the modernizers. It reflects the shift from ‘administration’ to ‘management’. The new MD, Colin Balmer, will report to the Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary Sir Andrew Turnbull and he will have a seat on the Cabinet Office Management Board. He will play a major role in the delivery key public service priorities and in leading the reform programme for public services.
As an Under Secretary in the Ministry of Defence he was responsible for developing the Department’s overall management strategy and subsequently its financial management.
Most senior officials enter the civil service from Oxbridge, but Colin Balmer joined from school.