Wass was Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury from 1974 to 1983 and served as joint head of the civil service in 1981.
He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1971, elevated to Knight Commander (KCB) in 1975 and further elevated to Knight Grand Cross (GCB) in 1980. In 1985, he was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) by the University of Bath.
In 1983, Sir Douglas presented the annual BBC Reith Lectures. In a series of six lectures titled Government and the Governed, he examined the role and responsibilities of government.
Wass died on 4 January 2017 at the age of 93.
- ‘WASS, Sir Douglas (William Gretton)’, Who's Who 2012, A & C Black, 2012; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2011 ; online edn, Nov 2011 accessed 8 March 2012
- Hook, Andrew The Strange career of democracy, Sept. 17, 2009 Archived February 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- "Honorary Graduates 1989 to present". bath.ac.uk. University of Bath. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- Sir Douglas Wass obituary
- BBC Radio 4: The Reith Lectures 1983 - Government and the Governed
- Podcast: Reith Lectures Archive 1976 - 2010
- 5 Part Radio Interview with Sir Douglas Wass on BBC, Douglas Wass: Government and the Governed: 1983
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