Jonathan Stephens

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Sir Jonathan Stephens
Permanent Secretary at the
Northern Ireland Office
Assumed office
June 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Julian King
Permanent Secretary at the
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
In office
Preceded by Dame Sue Street
Succeeded by Sue Owen
Personal details
Born Jonathan Andrew de Sievrac Stephens
(1960-02-08) 8 February 1960 (age 57)
Bromley, Kent, England
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
BA, 1982

Sir Jonathan Andrew de Sievrac Stephens KCB (born 8 February 1960) is a British civil servant who has been Permanent Secretary at the Northern Ireland Office since June 2014, and has served as the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Personal life[edit]

Stephens was born in 1960 in Bromley, Kent, the son of Prescot and Peggy (née Pike) Stephens.[1] He was educated at Sevenoaks School, and Christ Church, Oxford, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He and his wife, Rev Penny Stephens, whom he married in 1983, have one daughter and one son.[citation needed]


Stephens joined the Civil Service in the Northern Ireland Office in 1983, being promoted through various grades before transferring to the Cabinet Office as Director of Modernising Public Service in 2000. In 2001, he was seconded to HM Treasury where he rose to be Managing Director of Public Services 2004–06, replacing Sir Nicholas Macpherson.[2]

In 2006, Stephens was appointed Permanent Secretary of DCMS to replace Dame Sue Street on her retirement.[3] During his time at the DCMS, he oversaw the organisation of major events, including 2012 Olympic Games and 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.[4]

From September 2013 to May 2014, Stephens worked as a reviewer at HM Treasury, and joined the Northern Ireland Office as Permanent Secretary in June 2014.[5] As of 2015, Stephens was paid a salary of between £155,000 and £159,999 by DCLG, making him one of the 328 most highly paid people in the British public sector at that time.[6]

Public Accounts Committee[edit]

On 26 April 2012, Stephens appeared before the Public Accounts Committee at the House of Commons, where he was asked 10 times by Margaret Hodge MP about whether he knew that Adam Smith, a special adviser to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, was acting as a liaison between his department and media owner Rupert Murdoch.[7] Stephens refused to disclose any information about his knowledge or authorisation of the role.


Stephens was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 2013 Birthday Honours for public service, especially to the Olympic Games in London.[8][9][8]

Offices held[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Nicholas Macpherson
Managing Director, Public Services
HM Treasury

Succeeded by
John Kingman
Preceded by
Dame Sue Street
Permanent Secretary of the
Department for Culture,
Media and Sport

Succeeded by
Sue Owen
Preceded by
Julian King
as Director-General,
Northern Ireland Office
Permanent Secretary of the
Northern Ireland



  1. ^ England & Wales births 1837-2006; Vol. 5B, p. 256
  2. ^ HM Treasury. "Departmental Report 2003" (PDF). Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  3. ^ Alistair Smith (27 July 2006). "Jonathan Stephens made DCMS permanent secretary". The Stage. Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  4. ^ "Visiting Practitioner 2014: Jonathan Stephens". Blavatnik School of Government. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "Permanent Secretary for Northern Ireland Office: Jonathan Stephens - Press releases - GOV.UK". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  6. ^ "Senior officials 'high earners' salaries as at 30 September 2015 - GOV.UK". 2015-12-17. Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  7. ^ Kirkup, James (26 April 2012). "Top civil servant refuses to back Jeremy Hunt on BSkyB". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. 
  8. ^ a b "(Supplement) no. 60534". The London Gazette. 15 June 2013. p. 2. 
  9. ^ "Birthday Honours List 2013" (PDF). HM Government. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.