Jonathan Slater

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Former Permanent Secretary, Department of Education
Member of CSaP Advisory Council

Jonathan Slater was the Permanent Secretary for the Department of Education from May 2016 to August 2020. Prior to this, he was the Director General of the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat in the Cabinet Office, providing policy advice and briefing to the Prime Minister, the Minister for Government Policy and the Cabinet on the government’s economic and domestic policies. Jonathan was also responsible for the Prime Minister’s Implementation Unit, which, working with government departments, implements the Prime Minister’s top policy priorities across government.

Before joining the Cabinet Office, Jonathan was Director General of Head Office and Commissioning Services for the Ministry of Defence, where he was implementing the radical reform of the Ministry proposed by Lord Levene. He was responsible both for ensuring that the Head Office was run efficiently and effectively, and for commissioning and contract-managing Defence’s key enabling organisations, from estates to shared services, and from equipment procurement to policing.

Jonathan arrived from the Board of the Ministry of Justice, where he led the department-wide Transforming Justice programme and the Ministry’s strategy, HR, estates and communications functions. Previously, Jonathan was Chief Executive of the Office for Criminal Justice Reform, and Director of Performance & Improvement of the National Offender Management Service.

Jonathan has also been a Director in the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit, leading its work on NHS reform, and setting up the Whitehall capability review programme. Before joining the Civil Service in 2001, Jonathan was a local authority Deputy Chief Executive.

  • In news articles

    Fixing Whitehall’s broken policy machine

    “The leadership of the civil service can change if it wants to,” said the former Permanent Secretary for the Department of Education, Jonathan Slater. The most senior civil servant at the DfE from 2016-2020 across UK government, led an online seminar for CSaP’s Policy Fellows and network for Easter Term 2022.