New civil service chief to speed up Blair's reform of Whitehall

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Indy Politics

Sir Gus O'Donnell, who was chosen yesterday as the new head of the Civil Service, will try to drive through big changes to the traditional Whitehall culture before Tony Blair stands down.

Sir Gus O'Donnell, who was chosen yesterday as the new head of the Civil Service, will try to drive through big changes to the traditional Whitehall culture before Tony Blair stands down.

Sir Gus, 52, currently Permanent Secretary at the Treasury, is charged with modernising a civil service machine that, in Mr Blair's view, has been slow to adopt reforms he has tried to introduce since 1997.

A former press secretary to John Major, the Tory prime minister, Sir Gus chaired a review of the Treasury which led to the merger of the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise.

Mr Blair said: "He is ideally suited to lead the Civil Service through the coming period of change as we move to the next level of public service delivery and reform."

Sir Gus succeeds Sir Andrew Turnbull, who is retiring as Cabinet Secretary and head of the Civil Service this summer. His salary, to be determined by an independent panel, will be between £155,000 and £264,000.

Sir Gus said the Civil Service needed to "inject even more pace and passion" into the programme of change begun under Sir Andrew.

His other main task will be to ensure a smooth transition between Mr Blair and the man most likely to succeed him, Gordon Brown, with whom he has a good working relationship at the Treasury.

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