PRO analysis of the changes in Government Departments and personnel
by Gabriel Hedengren and Nic Conner
The Government has announced sweeping changes to the structure of Departments. In short, they have created two new ones (energy security and science & innovation and technology), abolished one (international trade), and reorganised two (business & culture).
Here is a list of the new departments and who is taking charge in each department:
- Science, Innovation and Technology – headed by Michelle Donelan (until 07/02 DCMS minister)
- Energy Security and Net Zero – headed by Grant Shapps (until 07/02 BEIS minister)
- Business and Trade – headed by Kemi Badenoch (until 07/02 International Trade minister)
- Culture, Media & Sport – Lucy Frazer (until 07/02 Housing minister)
These changes came about for two main reasons: the first being that BEIS has recently been consumed dealing with the energy crisis, so much so, that the issue justified its own department to tackle the crisis.
Second, there was quite a lot of overlap between policies which affected the tech sector, with policy briefs sitting between DCMS and BEIS. So, it made sense to bring those divisions under one roof with one Minister accountable at Cabinet level. Now the DCMS technology team will join the science and innovation team from BEIS to work together to bring to life Rishi Sunak’s vision of turning the UK into a science superpower.
The creation of the SIT will be welcomed by many in the science and technology sector. One of the pinch points tech businesses faced was that policy sat between two separate departments, which made any of governmental strategy impossible to deliver. DCMS and BEIS were, in effect, competing against each other and fighting for the tech turf.
Operationally, the rejig shouldn’t affect the day-to-day work of the Civil Service. In theory, the reforms should create more streamlined management reporting lines. Still, with any merger, there will be a bedding period, from dealing with new email addresses and personnel moving to different office buildings.
Many in the science and technology sector will be happy to see George Freeman retain his brief for science and innovation. He has been a champion for the sector in Government and during his recent short spell on the backbenchers. It should be noted that Michelle Donelan is heading off on maternity leave shortly; it is expected that George Freeman will step up to lead the department; this still needs to be confirmed.
With the redesign of the Government, there has been a mini reshuffle. It should be noted that at the time of writing this blog, Lucy Frazer is leaving the department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as the housing and planning minister. This leaves not only a physical vacancy but a gap in confidence for the property sector, as Lucy was rated highly for her command of the brief. The sector will be eager to see a swift appointment of a talented minister.
With a new structure, new ministers and a clear mission brief from the Prime Minister, there is no better time for businesses to engage with the new team while the departments have a proactive zeal about them. In the first hundred days, the new departments will look to make their mark. If you have already done work to speak to a department, not all is lost, but you will need to understand the new architecture of the halls of power to know the best route to continue the convocation. This is where PRO can help. We regularly monitor and analyse the latest government, Parliament, and regulators developments. We help our clients gain instant insights and speak to the right people.
Here is a list of ministers’ appointees on 7th February 2023:
Energy Security and Net Zero
- Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP as Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
- Rt Hon Graham Stuart MP as a Minister of State in the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero
- Andrew Bowie MP as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero
Science, Innovation and Technology
- Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP as Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
- George Freeman MP as a Minister of State in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
- Paul Scully MP as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
Business and Trade
- Rt Hon Kemi Badenoch MP as Secretary of State for Business and Trade. She remains as President of the Board of Trade, and Minister for Women and Equalities
- Nusrat Ghani MP as a Minister of State jointly in the Department for Business and Trade and the Cabinet Office
- Nigel Huddleston MP as a Minister of State in the Department for Business and Trade
- Kevin Hollinrake MP as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Business and Trade
- Maria Caulfield MP as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Women) in the Department for Business and Trade, in addition to her current role as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department of Health and Social Care
Culture, Media, and Sport
- Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP as Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport
- Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Equalities) in the Department for Business and Trade
Conservative Party Chairman
- Rt Hon Greg Hands MP as Minister without Portfolio in the Cabinet Office
by Gabriel Hedengren and Nic Conner