Permanent Secretary Fellowships

The Permanent Secretary Fellowship programme establishes a relationship between a current Permanent Secretary – the most senior civil servant of a government ministry in the UK – and the Blavatnik School, strengthening the links between policymakers and public policy researchers.

These civil service leaders use the Fellowship as an opportunity to reflect upon a policy or operational challenge facing their department, supported by interaction with the scholars and practitioners within the Blavatnik School’s global community and the wider Oxford academic community.

“My time at the Blavatnik School of Government has helped me to test and refine a National Performance Framework for Scotland.” Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government

The programme usually runs from January to December and is shaped around each Fellow’s areas of work, priorities and availability. It can include visits, workshops and discussions on key aspects of their work. The Fellows enrich the life of the School, stimulating debate over pressing current challenges with faculty and students.

Inaugural fellows

The inaugural Fellows for 2018 were Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government, and Sir Chris Wormald, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Care.

The Fellowships were the main driver for a series of seminars and workshops involving senior delegations from both the Scottish government and the Department of Health and Social Care.

The engagement with Scottish government focused on Scotland’s National Performance Framework, a framework ‘to build a more successful and inclusive Scotland’, and how to achieve effective delivery and collaborative leadership. The Scottish government delegates, including Leslie Evans, engaged with our research on delivering public sector reform, education (with RISE) and outcomes-based commissioning (with GO Lab), through a series of workshops held between Oxford and Edinburgh.

To mark the conclusion of the fellowship, Lesley Evans delivered a public lecture at the Blavatnik School, ‘Keeping the faith in an uncertain world.

The Department of Health and Social Care Permanent Secretary Sir Chris Wormald worked with members of our faculty to examine health system complexity, with seminars on outcomes hosted by GO Lab and more activities still ongoing and planned for early January.


The Permanent Secretary Fellowships at the Blavatnik School were created thanks to philanthropic support from The Beecroft Trust – up to three fellows can be appointed each academic year until 2019.