James Bowler

Second Permanent Secretary at Cabinet Office

Second Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office
Policy Leaders Fellow, Centre for Science and Policy

James was appointed Second Permanent Secretary at the Cabinet Office in October, having previously led at the Ministry of Justice on policy, communications and analysis of the justice system, including the prisons, courts and probation services.

Prior to this, James was at HM Treasury as Director General, Public Spending from May 2017, overseeing the allocation and delivery of £800bn of public spending across Whitehall and the public services, and acting as co-chair of the Major Project Review Group and joint chair of the Finance Leadership Group.

Earlier in his career at the Treasury, James was Director General, Tax and Welfare, overseeing personal and business tax policy development and implementation and the relationship with HMRC, as well as welfare reform and the department’s relationship with the DWP. In this role, he also oversaw the preparation of the UK’s annual Budget and Autumn Statement, and subsequent legislation.

James’s previous roles have also included Director for Strategy, Planning and Budget at the Treasury, and responsibility for coordinating Whitehall’s analytical work setting out the case for the UK in the Scotland Referendum. He worked at Number 10 Downing Street as the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary to both Gordon Brown and David Cameron, and at Number 11 as Principal Private Secretary to Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling during their respective tenures as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

James was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 2012 New Year Honours.