Sir Alex Allan
|Chairman of the |
Joint Intelligence Committee
15 November 2007 – 2011
|Prime Minister||Gordon Brown|
|Preceded by||Sir Richard Mottram|
as Permanent Secretary, Intelligence, Security and Resilience
|Succeeded by||Sir Jon Day|
|Clerk of the Crown in Chancery|
1 August 2004 – 15 November 2007
|Prime Minister||Gordon Brown|
|Lord Chancellor||Lord Falconer of Thoroton|
|Preceded by||Sir Hayden Phillips|
|Succeeded by||Sir Suma Chakrabarti|
|British High Commissioner to Australia|
1 September 1997 – 31 January 1999
|Prime Minister||Tony Blair|
|Preceded by||Sir Roger Carrick|
|Succeeded by||Sir Alastair Goodlad|
|Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister|
|Prime Minister||John Major|
|Preceded by||Andrew Turnbull|
|Succeeded by||John Holmes|
|Born||9 February 1951|
|Relations||Robert Allan, Baron Allan of Kilmahew (father)|
|Alma mater||Harrow School|
University College London
He resigned as the Prime Minister's Independent advisor on ministerial standards in November 2020.
Allan is the son of Robert Allan, Baron Allan of Kilmahew. 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
- 1973 to 1992 – Allan had various appointments in Customs & Excise and HM Treasury, aside from two years as a freelance computer consultant in Australia (1983–1985).
- 1992 to 1997 – he was the principal private secretary to the Prime Minister (John Major to April 1997, and Tony Blair to Aug 1997).
- 1997 to 1999 – he was the British High Commissioner to Australia.
- 1999 to 2000 – he was e-Envoy for the British Government (succeeded by Andrew Pinder).
- 2001 to 2004 – he moved to Western Australia, where he worked on a range of IT, government and international issues. This included chairing of the inaugural iVEC board.
Permanent Secretary of the Department for Constitutional Affairs
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).
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. 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.
Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC)
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. He has access to the Prime Minister at all times and also top secret US and UK intelligence reports.
Independent advisor on ministerial standards
In November 2011 he was appointed by David Cameron as the Prime Minister's independent advisor on ministerial standards. He resigned from the post on 20 November 2020 after PM Boris Johnson backed Priti Patel following a report Sir Alex had compiled that concluded Patel's approach "amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying".
Allan windsurfed to work in a suit and bowler hat down the Thames during a train strike. 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". Allan lists bridge and computers as his interests.
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. 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. On 10 July 2008 a Cabinet Office spokesman said Allan had regained consciousness but for now would remain in hospital to regain his strength.
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.
Nearly a year later (6 June 2009), Allan was seen in public. No explanation has been given of what happened to him.
- Allan, Sir Alex (November 2011). "ALLAN, Alexander Claud Stuart". Who's Who 2012, online edition. A & C Black. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
- "Minutes of evidence before Constitutional Affairs Committee". United Kingdom Parliament. 17 October 2006. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
- "Minutes of 6 February". Information Commissioners Office. Archived from the original on 25 January 2016.
- "Minutes of evidence before Constitutional Affairs Committee". United Kingdom Parliament. 4 June 2006. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
- "Senior British intelligence official is in coma". Associated Press through google. 4 July 2008. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2007.
- "No. 60009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2011. p. 2.
- New Year Honours List 2012: full list, Telegraph.co.uk
- "The Prime Minister's adviser on Ministers' interests: independent or not?" (PDF). publications.parliament.uk.
- "Grateful Dead Lyric And Song Finder". Allan, Alex. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
- Winnett, Robert (16 November 2007). "New intelligence chief reveals all on website". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 June 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2008.
- "Top spy seriously ill in hospital". BBC. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
- "UK spying chief emerges from coma". BBC. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 13 July 2008.
- See Hansard.
- "British Bookplates, More Research Required". Bookplatejunkie. 13 October 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
Sir Roger Carrick
| High Commissioner to Australia
Sir Alastair Goodlad
Sir Hayden Phillips
| Permanent Secretary of the
Department for Constitutional Affairs
Sir Suma Chakrabarti
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice
Sir Richard Mottram
Permanent Secretary, Intelligence, Security and Resilience
| Chairman of the
Joint Intelligence Committee