Lord Richard Wilson

Chair at Policy Leaders Fellowship

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Former Cabinet Secretary; Former Master, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge

Chair of the CSaP Policy Leaders Fellowship

Richard Wilson was born in Glamorgan and educated at Radley (1956-60) and Clare College Cambridge (1961-65). He was called to the Bar but, rather than practice, entered the Civil Service as an assistant principal in the Board of Trade in 1966.

He subsequently served in a number of departments including 12 years in the Department of Energy where his responsibilities included nuclear power policy, the privatisation of Britoil, personnel and finance. He headed the Economic Secretariat in the Cabinet Office under Mrs Thatcher from 1987-90 and after two years in the Treasury was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Department of the Environment in 1992. He became Permanent Under Secretary of the Home Office in 1994 and Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service in January 1998. On his retirement in September 2002 he became Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, stepping down in 2012.

He remains actively interested in the contribution of academic research to policy making, an interest which led him to take a leading role in the Cambridge University Government Policy Programme which preceded the foundation of CSaP.

  • 11 June 2018, 5:30pm

    Two cultures: can policy makers and academic institutions ever work together effectively?

    The UK has scientific advisers at the top of government, but with science, engineering and technology playing greater and greater roles in our lives there is a correspondingly greater need for a broader understanding of these issues by policy makers.

  • 14 April 2015, 10am

    CSaP Annual Conference 2015

    This year our conference will explore opportunities for improving the way government accesses, assesses and makes use of expertise from the humanities, and offer examples of the significant contribution these disciplines have made to public policy.

  • In news articles

    Humanities at the heart of government: What does policy making stand to gain?

    This discussion covered the role of the humanities in shaping public policy from the view of a civil servant, the toxic and complex issue of the free movement of workers, and the humanities and policy making in a hyperconnected world.