Oliver Robbins

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Oliver Robbins
Prime Minister's Europe Adviser
Assumed office
18 September 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May
Permanent Secretary for the
Department for Exiting the European Union
In office
July 2016 – 18 September 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May
Sec. of State David Davis
Prime Minister's Adviser for Europe and Global Issues
In office
June 2016 – July 2016
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Tom Scholar
Second Permanent Secretary for the Home Office
In office
September 2015 – June 2016
Prime Minister David Cameron
Sec. of State Theresa May
Succeeded by Patsy Wilkinson
Director-General of the Civil Service
In office
January 2014 – September 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Katherine Kerswell
Succeeded by Simon Claydon
Deputy National Security Advisor for Intelligence, Security and Resilience
In office
2010 – January 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Succeeded by Paddy McGuinness
Director of Intelligence, Security and Resilience for the Cabinet Office
In office
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Robert Hannigan
Director of the Prime Minister's Office
In office
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Principal Private Secretary to the
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Gordon Brown
Preceded by Ivan Rogers
Succeeded by Tom Scholar
Personal details
Born (1975-04-20) 20 April 1975 (age 42)
Nationality British
Alma mater Hertford College, Oxford
Occupation Civil servant

Oliver Robbins, CB (born 20 April 1975) is a senior British civil servant who served in several roles and was Permanent Secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union until September 2017.[1][2] Robbins now serves as Brexit advisor for 10 Downing Street.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Robbins was born 20 April 1975.[1] He was educated at Colfe's School, an independent school in Lee, London.[4] He studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Hertford College, Oxford.[1] He graduated from the University of Oxford with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1996.[4]


Robbins joined HM Treasury in 1996 on graduation, serving as Head of Corporate and Private Finance from 2003 to 2006, and then briefly as Head of Defence, Diplomacy and Intelligence finance.

Robbins was appointed as Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street in 2006, replacing Ivan Rogers for the last part of Tony Blair's administration and the start of Gordon Brown's. When Brown re-set the Prime Minister's Office organisation to be more like its pre-1997 form, Robbins briefly served as Director of the Office before leaving Number 10 per se in 2007 to become the Director of Intelligence and Security – later, Director of Intelligence, Security and Resilience – in the Cabinet Office. In 2010, David Cameron's incoming administration re-organised the UK's national security apparatus, and Robbins post was re-formulated as the Deputy National Security Advisor responsible for Intelligence, Security and Resilience.

In January 2014, Robbins was appointed Director-General, Civil Service at the Cabinet Office.[5] In September 2015, Robbins moved to the Home Office as their Second Permanent Secretary under Mark Sedwill.[6][7]

In July 2016, Robbins was appointed the head of the European and Global Issues Secretariat, advising the Prime Minister on the EU and to oversee Britain's exit from the European Union.[8] Shortly thereafter, the secretariat was moved out of the Cabinet Office to become a full department, the Department for Exiting the European Union, of which he became the permanent secretary.[9] On September 18, 2017, Robbins stepped down as Brexit Secretary to become Prime Minister Theresa May's personal Brexit advisor.[3]


In the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours, Robbins was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) "for public service".[10]


  1. ^ a b c 'ROBBINS, Oliver', Who's Who 2012, A & C Black, 2012; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2011 ; online edn, Nov 2011 accessed 18 April 2012
  2. ^ "Permanent Secretary appointed to lead the new EU unit in Cabinet Office". GOV.UK. 29 June 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "Brexit official Robbins moves to No 10". BBC News. 18 September 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "Oliver Robbins". LinkedIn. Retrieved 3 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "Robbins replaces Kerswell as head of civil service reform | Civil Service World". www.civilserviceworld.com. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  6. ^ "Duncan Lewis: Home Office appoints Second Permanent Secretary to oversee borders and immigration". www.duncanlewis.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  7. ^ "UK's DG for civil service reform moves to Home Office". Global Government Forum. 2015-09-16. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  8. ^ "Permanent Secretary appointed to lead the new EU unit in Cabinet Office". gov.uk. Cabinet Office and Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street. 29 June 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2016. 
  9. ^ Elgot, Jessica (2016-06-29). "Immigration official takes charge of UK Brexit unit". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  10. ^ "No. 61256". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2015. p. B3. 

Positions held[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Ivan Rogers
Principal Private Secretary
to the Prime Minister

Succeeded by
Tom Scholar
Preceded by
Robert Hannigan
Director, Intelligence Security and Resilience
Cabinet Office

Position replaced
New title Deputy National Security Advisor
Cabinet Office

Succeeded by
Paddy McGuinness
Preceded by
Katherine Kerswell
Director-General, Civil Service
Cabinet Office

Succeeded by
Simon Claydon
New title Second Permanent Secretary
Home Office

Succeeded by
Patsy Wilkinson
Preceded by
Tom Scholar
as Prime Minister's Adviser,
European and Global Issues
Permanent Secretary
for leaving the EU

June 2016–