Simon Case

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Simon Case
Simon Case (cropped).jpg
Cabinet Secretary
Head of the Home Civil Service
Assumed office
9 September 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Liz Truss
Rishi Sunak
Preceded bySir Mark Sedwill
Downing Street Permanent Secretary
In office
22 May 2020 – 1 September 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded bySir Jeremy Heywood (2012)
Succeeded bySamantha Jones (Acting; 2022)
Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
In office
11 January 2016 – 10 May 2017
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Preceded byChris Martin
Succeeded byPeter Hill
Personal details
Born (1978-12-27) 27 December 1978 (age 44)
Bristol, England, UK
Elizabeth Kistruck
(m. 2007)
EducationTrinity College, Cambridge (BA)
Queen Mary, University of London (PhD)

Simon Case CVO (born 27 December 1978) is a British civil servant who is the current Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service since 9 September 2020, succeeding Sir Mark Sedwill.

Case was Downing Street Permanent Secretary to Prime Minister Boris Johnson from May to September 2020.[1] That role had been vacant for eight years after Sir Jeremy Heywood left in 2012. From January 2016 to May 2017, Case served under David Cameron and Theresa May as Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Case was born on 27 December 1978 in Bristol, England.[3] He was educated at Bristol Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in History.[2][3] While at Cambridge, he rowed and was President of Cambridge University Lightweight Rowing Club.[4] He then undertook postgraduate research in political history and studied at Queen Mary University of London and was awarded Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree from University of London in 2007.[2][3][5] His doctoral supervisor was Professor Peter Hennessy, and his thesis was entitled The Joint Intelligence Committee and the German Question, 1947–61.[6]


Case joined the Civil Service in 2006.[2] He worked first within the Ministry of Defence as a policy adviser.[7] He then worked in the Northern Ireland Office and the Cabinet Office.[2] In 2012, he served as Head of the Olympic Secretariat, a temporary team within the Cabinet Office that was set up to oversee the delivery of the 2012 Summer Olympics.[7][8]

From 2012 and July 2014, Case worked at 10 Downing Street as a Private Secretary to the Prime Minister and then as Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister.[2] He then returned to the Cabinet Office, where he was Executive Director of the Implementation Group.[7] In March 2015, he joined Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) as Director of Strategy.[9]

On 8 January 2016, Case was announced as the next Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister in succession to Chris Martin who had died while in office. He took up the appointment on 11 January 2016.[2][9]

In March 2017, Case was announced as the Director General for the UK–EU Partnership, being succeeded by Peter Hill as Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister on 10 May 2017.[10] He took up the post in May 2017.[11] In this role he was "leading the UK Government's work on exiting and seeking a new partnership with the European Union within the UK Representation to the EU".[10] On 23 June 2017, he was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in recognition of his service as Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister.[12]

In January 2018, he was appointed Director General Northern Ireland and Ireland:[13] in this role, he acted as the lead civil servant for finding a solution to the Irish border issue post-Brexit.[14]

In March 2018, it was announced that Case would be the next Private Secretary to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge; he took up the appointment in July 2018.[15] Also in 2018, Case was appointed a Visiting Professor at King's College London, having previously been a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the university.[16]

Head of the Home Civil Service and Cabinet Secretary[edit]

In August 2020 Case was chosen by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, succeeding Mark Sedwill[17][18] on 9 September 2020,[19] the youngest Cabinet Secretary to date.[20]

In April 2021, in light of the Greensill scandal, Case ordered all civil servants to declare paid roles or outside interests that "might conflict" with Civil Service rules after it emerged that a senior official had joined a firm while still a civil servant.[21]

On 15 June 2021, Case and Prime Minister Johnson jointly signed a Declaration on Government Reform intended to improve the way government operates in the UK.[22]

In December 2021, the Prime Minister appointed Case to lead an inquiry into the Westminster Christmas parties controversy, where government departments had been alleged to have carried out social gatherings in late 2020 in contravention of COVID-19 regulations.[23] Just over a week later, on 17 December 2021, it was announced that he was to recuse himself from the inquiry because of reports that a party had been held in his private office.[24] The next day, on 18 December 2021, Case officially resigned from the inquiry position.[25] His role in the inquiry was taken over by the civil servant Sue Gray.

In a letter to civil servants in May 2022, Case said that up to 91,000 civil servants would lose their jobs to return it to 2016 levels, which would be the biggest decrease in staff since World War Two. Case said civil service staffing had grown "substantially" since 2016, partly because of the pandemic. "We must consider how we can streamline our workforce and equip ourselves with the skills we need to be an even more effective, lean and innovative service that continues to deliver for the people we serve," he wrote.[26]

On 8 September 2022, Case informed then-Prime Minister Liz Truss that Queen Elizabeth II had died.[27]

On 13 September 2022, Case was sworn-in as a member of the Privy Council.[28]

Westminster COVID-19 pandemic controversies[edit]


Case was the highest ranking public official to be implicated in the 'partygate' scandal; however, he stated he would not resign.[29] Junior colleagues were reportedly furious that Case did not have to pay a penalty for the parties, despite having to recuse himself from investigating them.[30]

Case, denied giving Boris Johnson any reassurances that Covid rules and guidance were followed at all times. In evidence from the Commons privileges committee, which is investigating whether the former prime minister deliberately misled MPs over lockdown gatherings.[31]

Lockdown Files[edit]

In early March 2023, The Daily Telegraph published a number of WhatsApp messages from the UK's COVID-19 Lockdown period, named the Lockdown Files. Case, who was said to be in discussion with the then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock, reportedly mocked holidaymakers stuck in hotel rooms by the UK's quarantine policy, saying it was "hilarious" and how he wanted to "see some of the faces of people coming out of first class and into a Premier Inn shoe box".[32] In some messages Case said how some opposition to COVID restrictions were "pure Conservative ideology".[33]

Case described Johnson as "nationally distrusted figure" and warned the public were unlikely to follow isolation rules laid down by him.[34]

Personal life[edit]

In 2007, Case married Elizabeth Kistruck, chief finance officer for at Expedia Inc. They have three daughters.[3]


  1. ^ "Prince William loses right-hand man to Downing Street". HELLO!. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "PM's new Principal Private Secretary: Simon Case". GOV.UK. Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "Case, Dr Simon". Who's Who 2017. Oxford University Press. November 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  4. ^ Kidd, Patrick (2 September 2020). "Dress down to climb ladders". Times. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  5. ^ "Case, Dr Simon, (born 27 Dec. 1978), Private Secretary to the Duke of Cambridge, since 2018." WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. 1 December 2016
  6. ^ Case, Simon. "The Joint Intelligence Committee and the German Question, 1947–61". Queen Mary University of London. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Agbonlahor, Winnie (26 June 2014). "PM's private secretary to lead Implementation Unit". Civil Service World. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  8. ^ Chambers, Joshua (2 November 2012). "The other Team GB". Civil Service World. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Downing Street names Simon Case as David Cameron's new principal private secretary". Civil Service World. 8 January 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Senior appointments at UK Permanent Representation to the EU". GOV.UK. Foreign & Commonwealth Office. 10 March 2017. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Simon Case". GOV.UK. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood". London Gazette. 7 July 2017. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Director General Simon Case". GOV.UK. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  14. ^ O'Carroll, Lisa (26 March 2018). "Brexit official tasked with solving Irish border issue quits". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  15. ^ Ship, Chris (26 March 2018). "Prince William's new Private Secretary swaps Brexit for Royal Household". ITV News. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Clare Lombardelli & Simon Case: New Visiting Professors". King's College London. 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  17. ^ "Boris Johnson picks No 10 official to be head of UK civil service". Financial Times. 31 August 2020.
  18. ^ "Simon Case appointed as Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service" (Press release). 1 September 2020. Retrieved 2 September 2020. The Prime Minister has appointed Simon Case as the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service. Simon is currently the Permanent Secretary in Number 10.
  19. ^ "Simon Case – Biography". GOV.UK. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  20. ^ Zeffman, Henry (23 April 2021). "Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, weighs in to Downing Street makeover row". the Times. Retrieved 25 April 2021. Case, 42, the youngest-ever cabinet secretary
  21. ^ "Greensill row: Civil servants ordered to declare second jobs". BBC News. 14 April 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  22. ^ "Declaration on Government Reform" (PDF). Cabinet Office. 15 June 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  23. ^ Burford, Rachael (8 December 2021). "Boris Johnson orders inquiry into Downing Street 'Christmas party'". Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  24. ^ "Top civil servant Simon Case set to quit No 10 party probe amid rule breach claims". BBC News. 17 December 2021. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  25. ^ Scott, Geraldine (18 December 2018). "'Formidable' civil servant takes over Whitehall lockdown parties probe". Belfast Telegraph. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  26. ^ "Boris Johnson wants to cut up to 91,000 civil service jobs". BBC News. 13 May 2022.
  27. ^ Davies, Caroline; Elgot, Jessica (30 December 2022). "The day Queen Elizabeth died: the inside story of her final hours". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 January 2023.
  28. ^ "Orders for 13 September 2022" (PDF). Privy Council Office. Retrieved 14 September 2022.
  29. ^ "Sue Gray partygate latest news". The Telegraph. 25 May 2022.
  30. ^ Simon Case called Boris Johnson ‘nationally distrusted figure’, Hancock leak shows
  31. ^ Crerar, Pippa; Elgot, Jessica; Walker, Peter (22 March 2023). "Simon Case denies telling Boris Johnson Covid rules were always followed". The Guardian.
  32. ^ "Simon Case mocked holidaymakers 'locked up' in Covid quarantine hotel rooms". The Telegraph. 2 March 2023.
  33. ^ UK’s top civil servant Simon Case considers early exit after WhatsApp pressure
  34. ^ Simon Case called Boris Johnson ‘nationally distrusted figure’, Hancock leak shows
Government offices
Preceded by Principal Private Secretary
to the Prime Minister

Succeeded by
Title last held by
Sir Jeremy Heywood
Downing Street Permanent Secretary
Title last held by
Samantha Jones
Preceded by Head of the Home Civil Service
Cabinet Secretary

Court offices
Preceded by
Miguel Head
Private Secretary to the Duke of Cambridge
Succeeded by
Christian Jones