Alex Allan

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The Honourable
Sir Alex Allan
Chairman of the
Joint Intelligence Committee
In office
15 November 2007 – 2011
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
David Cameron
Preceded bySir Richard Mottram
as Permanent Secretary, Intelligence, Security and Resilience
Succeeded byTo be announced
Clerk of the Crown in Chancery
In office
1 August 2004 – 15 November 2007
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
David Cameron
Lord ChancellorLord Falconer of Thoroton
Jack Straw
Preceded bySir Hayden Phillips
Succeeded bySir Suma Chakrabarti
British High Commissioner to Australia
In office
1 September 1997 – 31 January 1999
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded bySir Roger Carrick
Succeeded bySir Alastair Goodlad
Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
In office
Prime MinisterJohn Major
Tony Blair
Preceded byAndrew Turnbull
Succeeded byJohn Holmes
Personal details
Born9 February 1951
RelationsRobert Allan, Baron Allan of Kilmahew (father)
Alma materHarrow School
Cambridge University
University College London
OccupationCivil servant

Sir Alexander Claud Stuart Allan KCB (born 9 February 1951) is a senior British civil servant who was, until 2011, the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and Head of Intelligence Assessment for Her Majesty's Government.[1] He is currently the Prime Minister's Independent advisor on ministerial standards.[2]

He is the son of The Lord Allan of Kilmahew.

Early life[edit]

Between 1964 and 1969 Allan was educated at Harrow School, followed by obtaining a BA (Hon) degree in Mathematics from Clare College, Cambridge in 1972. In 1973 he also received an MSc degree in Statistics from University College London.

Civil Service career[edit]

Permanent Secretary of the Department for Constitutional Affairs[edit]

Allan was the first Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, having been the last Permanent Secretary of the Department for Constitutional Affairs from which it was created, together with the addition of HM Prison Service and the Office for Criminal Justice Reform, which were taken from the Home Office. Allan served in both of these roles from 1 August 2004 to 15 November 2007. An historical attribute of the role of Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and its predecessor departments (which included the Lord Chancellor's Department) is that it carries with it the role of Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, an ancient Office, which entails responsibility for overseeing the creation of Letters Patent under the Great Seal, discharged by the Crown Office, itself based in the House of Lords. The Clerk of the Crown in Chancery also has various other responsibilities, including the State Opening of Parliament, and the Prorogation of Parliament. Until the role of the Lord Speaker was carved out of that of the Lord Chancellor, the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery occupied one of Parliament's most prestigious rooms, adjacent to those of the Lord Chancellor. Allan was the last Permanent Secretary and Clerk of the Crown in Chancery to enjoy this splendid room, which he agreed to surrender to the House Authorities so that they could provide suitable accommodation for the newly created Lord Speaker. The only alternative would have been for his political master, the Lord Chancellor, to have given up his room.

On 17 October 2006, Allan submitted oral evidence to the Constitutional Affairs Committee. He was questioned on the 're-organisation of the centre of the Department' (for constitutional affairs) which he stated in his annual report. Allan was asked what he thought were the key changes he had made to the department since his two years in the post. He stated that the key changes to the Department for Constitutional affairs were structural. Allan admitted the department faced big challenges and that there was a lot still to be done. Allan was also questioned over the 'chaos' of the Oracle system (a computer system used by the department).[3]

On 6 February 2007 Allan attended a meeting with the management board for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). His duty was to brief the board about the Department for Constitutional Affairs' approach to information rights and the ICO itself.[4] In this meeting Allan recognised inadequate pay as being a key issue in the ICO and across the Department for Constitutional Affairs.

On 4 July 2007, before the Constitutional Affairs Committee, Allan was asked whether he had written an article for MP Vera Baird in the Times. He denied the accusation.[5]

Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC)[edit]

On 15 November 2007 he was appointed Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and Head of Intelligence Assessment. Allan's role is to collect intelligence from the Security Service, MI5, the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, GCHQ and other sources of intelligence, and present them to ministers as threats develop.[6] He has access to the Prime Minister at all times and also top secret US and UK intelligence reports.

Allan was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2012 New Year Honours.[7][8]

Personal life[edit]

Allan married artist Katie Clemson in 1978. She died on 23 November 2007.

He is responsible for a Grateful Dead lyric and song finder website.[9]

Allan windsurfed to work in a suit and bowler hat down the Thames during a train strike.[10] He published his personal details on his own website, including his address, telephone number and details of family and friends, which was described by a security official as "a serious breach".[10] Allan lists bridge and computers as his interests.

In May 2012, Allan married Sarah Stacey in Froyle, Hampshire.


On 3 July 2008 it was reported that Allan was unconscious and seriously ill in hospital after he collapsed at his home earlier in the week. Government sources said that there was no sign of foul play.[11] It has been suggested by the media that Allan was poisoned by one of several organisations, including Al Qaeda, or the Russian Government, but this was dismissed by New Scotland Yard.[12] On 10 July 2008 a Cabinet Office spokesman said Allan had regained consciousness but for now would remain in hospital to regain his strength.[13]

David Miliband MP briefly mentioned Alex Allan and his illness in Parliament (17 July 2008):

Very briefly, I would like to put it on record that I have known Alex Allan for 11 years now, and a couple of hon. Members referred to his recent illness and passed on their best wishes to him. I am delighted to say that he will be able to recognise the warmth and strength of that feeling when it is passed on to him in hospital. I am sure that we all wish him a speedy and full recovery from his illness.[14]

On 13 October 2008 he reportedly responded to an enquiry concerning a personal bookplate (designed by Anne Jope).[15] The unusual bookplate depicts a skeletal figure operating a computer.

Nearly a year later (6 June 2009), Allan was seen in public.[16] No explanation has been given of what happened to him.


  1. ^ Allan, Sir Alex (November 2011). "ALLAN, Alexander Claud Stuart". Who's Who 2012, online edition. A & C Black. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  2. ^ The Prime Minister's adviser on Ministers' interests: independent or not?, (2012)
  3. ^ "Minutes of evidence before Constitutional Affairs Committee". United Kingdom Parliament. 2006-10-17. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  4. ^ "Minutes of 6 February". Information Commissioners Office. Archived from the original on 2016-01-25.
  5. ^ "Minutes of evidence before Constitutional Affairs Committee". United Kingdom Parliament. 2006-06-04. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  6. ^ "Senior British intelligence official is in coma". Associated Press through google. 2008-07-04. Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
  7. ^ "No. 60009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2011. p. 2.
  8. ^ New Year Honours List 2012: full list,
  9. ^ "Grateful Dead Lyric And Song Finder". Allan, Alex. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  10. ^ a b Winnett, Robert (2007-11-16). "New intelligence chief reveals all on website". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
  11. ^ "Top spy seriously ill in hospital". BBC. 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  12. ^ Brogan, Benedict (2008-07-04). "British spy chief in coma as Yard denies assassination claims". Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  13. ^ "UK spying chief emerges from coma". BBC. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-07-13.
  14. ^ See Hansard.
  15. ^ "British Bookplates, More Research Required". Bookplatejunkie. 2008-10-13. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
  16. ^ See Pictured: Alive and Tweeting...the spy who nearly died in coma mystery

Offices held[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sir Roger Carrick
High Commissioner to Australia
Succeeded by
Sir Alastair Goodlad
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Hayden Phillips
Permanent Secretary of the
Department for Constitutional Affairs

Succeeded by
Sir Suma Chakrabarti
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice
Preceded by
Sir Richard Mottram
Permanent Secretary, Intelligence, Security and Resilience
Chairman of the
Joint Intelligence Committee

Succeeded by
Jon Day

External links[edit]