Youth leader

Ex-nurse becomes No 10’s top civil servant

The prime minister has appointed a former nurse as his new permanent secretary and chief operating officer, it has been reported.

The move makes Samantha Jones, who has more than 15 years of experience leading NHS and private sector organizations, the highest ranking public service leader at No 10.

“I look forward to establishing an office for the Prime Minister which will provide him with the professional operation to execute his agenda”

Samantha Jones

She will take on her new duties on an interim basis for six months, before the position is definitively filled.

It’s part of a reshuffle of Boris Johnson’s senior squad after a report into government rallies during the Covid-19 lockdowns suggested there were ‘failures of leadership’ in No 10 and the Cabinet Office.

Ms Jones, who has until now been the Prime Minister’s expert adviser on NHS transformation and social care, will be Downing Street’s first chief operating officer.

It is understood that she will be responsible for reviewing structures and operations in No 10 and will lead the design and implementation of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Meanwhile, a senior No. 10 source described his new role to The Guardian as “leader of the people”.

Beginning her NHS career as a pediatric and general nurse, Ms Jones later became Chief Executive of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust and Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust.

On her reappointment, she said: “I am pleased to have been asked by the Prime Minister to take on the role of Permanent Secretary at No 10.

Boris Johnson

“I look forward to establishing an office for the Prime Minister that will provide him with the professional operation needed to execute his agenda.”

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson added: “I have promised to make changes to my senior squad so we can continue to deliver better to the British people.

“That’s what we are doing now by bringing the best management skills and experiences with a clear vision to unite and improve our country.”

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case said Ms Jones had the ‘mix of skills and experience to take on the job’.

“Samantha’s experience in leading and managing transformation in the public and private sectors will be invaluable as we revise the structures that support the Prime Minister and Cabinet,” he added.