Helen Ghosh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dame Helen Ghosh
Helen Ghosh.jpg
Director General of the National Trust
Assumed office
12 November 2012
Chairman Sir Simon Jenkins
Preceded by Dame Fiona Reynolds
Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
In office
1 January 2011 – November 2012
Secretary of State Theresa May
Preceded by Sir David Normington
Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
In office
7 November 2005 – 31 December 2010
Secretary of State Margaret Beckett
David Miliband
Hilary Benn
Caroline Spelman
Preceded by Sir Brian Bender
Succeeded by Bronwyn Hill
Personal details
Born (1956-02-21) 21 February 1956 (age 61)
Farnborough, Hampshire, England
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Peter Ghosh
Children one son, one daughter
Alma mater St Hugh's College, Oxford
Hertford College, Oxford

Dame Helen Frances Ghosh, DCB (born 21 February 1956) is Director General of the National Trust. She was formerly a British civil servant, and until November 2012 was Permanent Secretary of the Home Office, having moved from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) at the end of 2010. At the time of her appointment at Defra, she was the only female permanent secretary to head a major department of the British Government.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Ghosh was born in Farnborough, Hampshire in 1956, to a civil service scientist and a librarian.[2] She was educated at Farnborough Hill, an all-girls independent Catholic school.[3] She studied modern history at St Hugh's College, Oxford, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1976. She then undertook postgraduate study at Hertford College, Oxford, graduating with a Master of Letters (MLitt) in 1980; her thesis concerned the history of Italy in the 6th century.[4]

She is married with one daughter and one son; her husband Peter Ghosh is a tutor in modern history at St Anne's College, Oxford.[5]

She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath (DCB) in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June 2008.[6] In 2010, The Tablet named her as one of Britain’s most influential Roman Catholics.[7]


Ghosh joined the Department of the Environment in 1979 as an Administration Trainee and held a series of policy roles. She was appointed Private Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Housing in 1986–88 and Head of the Housing Policy and Home Ownership Team in 1992. In July 1995, she joined the Cabinet Office on loan as Deputy Director of the Efficiency Unit then moved to a more operationally focused role in 1997 in the Government Office for London, where she worked as Director for London East and European Programmes, which brought her into contact with a variety of EU bodies, in particular those administering regeneration funds.

Between May 1999 and November 1999, she was Head of the New Deal for Communities Programme at the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, working on cross-cutting and delivery issues. She then joined the Department for Work and Pensions as Director of the Children's Group, which had responsibility for child benefit, child support, child poverty issues and the Tax Credit Programme.

She rejoined the Cabinet Office on 22 October 2001, as Head of Central Secretariat[3] and, in 2003, became Director General for Corporate Services at HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC),[8] where she played an important part in the transformation programme merging the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise to form the new department. She was appointed Permanent Secretary at Defra on 7 November 2005.[9][10] She replaced Sir David Normington as Permanent Secretary at the Home Office in January 2011.[11]

On 13 August 2012 it was announced that she would be stepping down from her role at the Home Office to become Director General at the National Trust.[12] She took up the post on 12 November 2012.[13][14]

Non-executive positions[edit]

Ghosh is a former board member of the National School for Government,[15] and a committee member and former chair of the Blackfriars Overseas Aid Trust, based in Oxford.[16] She was elected a Rhodes Trustee in 2011.[17]


  1. ^ Bawden, Anna (21 March 2007). "The gender agenda". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "On the charm offensive". The Guardian. 1 March 2006. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Cabinet Office (30 October 2001). "Senior Appointment: Head of Central Secretariat". Government News Network. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 7 December 2010.  (via Wayback Machine)
  4. ^ "GHOSH, Dame Helen Frances". Who's Who 2014. A & C Black. November 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Taylor, Jeremy (27 January 2013). "It’s never too late to have your dream job". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Queen's Birthday Honours". The Independent. 14 June 2008. Retrieved 14 June 2008. 
  7. ^ "The Tablet's Top 100". The Tablet. 11 September 2010. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Inland Revenue (10 March 2003). "Inland Revenue Board Changes". Ernst & Young LLP. Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 7 December 2010.  (via Wayback Machine)
  9. ^ "New Permanent Secretary of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs" (Press release). Prime Minister's Office. 13 October 2005. Archived from the original on 12 November 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  10. ^ Written answers by Lord Bach to Parliamentary Questions asked by Baroness Byford, Hansard, 19 December 2005.
  11. ^ "Dame Helen Ghosh to become Home Office Permanent Secretary" (Press release). Home Office. 6 December 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  12. ^ "Top civil servant Dame Helen Ghosh to leave the Home Office". The BBC. 13 Aug 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "Helen Ghosh takes over as National Trust Director-General". The National Trust. 12 November 2012. 
  14. ^ "Will Lady Calamity wreck the National Trust?". Daily Mail. 1 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "National School Becomes New Government Department" (Press release). National School of Government. 21 December 2006. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 4. The National School Board comprises: Sir Brian Bender (Chair), Permanent Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry : Sir John Elvidge, Permanent Secretary, Scottish Government : Helen Ghosh, Permanent Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs : .... 
  16. ^ "288585 – Blackfriars Overseas Trust". Charity Commission. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  17. ^ "Dame Helen Ghosh elected Rhodes Trustee". The Rhodes Trust. 12 March 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Brian Bender
Permanent Secretary of the
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Succeeded by
Bronwyn Hill
Preceded by
Sir David Normington
Permanent Secretary of the
Home Office

Succeeded by
Mark Sedwill