Peter Housden

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Sir Peter Housden

Peter Housden, Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government.jpg
Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government
In office
June 2010 – June 2015
First MinisterAlex Salmond
Nicola Sturgeon
Preceded bySir John Elvidge
Succeeded byLeslie Evans
Personal details
Born (1950-12-07) 7 December 1950 (age 68)
Herefordshire, England
Alma materUniversity of Essex

Sir Peter James Housden KCB (born 7 December 1950) is a former public official who worked in local and central government. He served as Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government from June 2010 to June 2015, he was previously Permanent Secretary of the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Early life[edit]

Housden was born on 7 December 1950 and was educated at Grove Comprehensive School, Market Drayton, Shropshire,[1] he studied at the University of Essex where he graduated in 1973 with a First in Sociology. He began his career as a comprehensive school teacher in Shropshire and worked as an education officer in three county LEAs.[2]

Public Service[edit]

Housden was appointed as Director of Education in Nottinghamshire in 1991. In 1994, Peter was appointed as Chief Executive and in his seven years in that post managed Nottinghamshire County Council through Local Government Review and a wide-ranging programme of modernisation.[3] In September 2000 he was seconded to the Audit Commission for six months to lead their work on the NHS national plan.

Housden joined the Department for Education and Skills in November 2001 as Director General for Schools, he had overall responsibility for all the Department's work in schools and in early years, and for current priorities on primary standards and secondary reform. He held this role until his appointment as Permanent Secretary of ODPM in 2005.[4]

He was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government from June 2010.[5] In his role as Scotland's Permanent Secretary, Sir Peter was the principal policy adviser to the First Minister and the Cabinet and led significant work on the integration of public services and new approaches to leadership in public services workforces, he was a member of the UK Civil Service Board and its Senior Leadership Committee. As Permanent Secretary in Scotland, his impartiality over Scottish Independence was called into question but was consistently defended by the leaders of the UK Civil Service.[6] [7]

Peter Housden is a Trustee of the RNLI, his publications include 'The Passing of a Country Grammar School' (APS, 2015), 'Local Statesman' (Local Government Centre, Warwick University, 2000), and 'Bucking the Market: LEAs and Special Needs' (NASEN, 1993).

Honours and awards[edit]

Housden was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2010 Birthday Honours.[8]


  1. ^ "People of today: Peter James Housden". Debrett's. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  2. ^ Shannon, Kate (15 January 2015). "Permanent Secretary announces intention to leave post". Holyrood. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Former County Council chief executive gets knighthood". Nottingham Post. 17 June 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Peter Housden appointed Scotland's top Civil Servant" (Press release). UK Government. 21 May 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Scotland's most senior civil servant 'intimidated bosses' over referendum". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  7. ^ Glasgow Herald 7 October 2011
  8. ^ "No. 59446". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2010. p. 2.
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir John Elvidge
Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government
Succeeded by
Leslie Evans