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Queen Mary alumnus confirmed as UK’s top civil servant

Simon Case, who holds a PhD from Queen Mary’s School of History, has been named as Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service from 9 September 2020, succeeding Sir Mark Sedwill.

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A photograph of Simon Case
A photograph of Simon Case

Simon Case studied history at undergraduate level at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 2002. He then undertook postgraduate research in political history at Queen Mary before going on to complete his PhD degree in the School of History in 2007.

Doctoral research at Queen Mary

Supervised by Professor Peter Hennessy, Simon Case’s PhD thesis was titled The Joint Intelligence Committee and the German Question, 1947-61.

The thesis analysed the contribution that the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) made to British policy concerning Germany (both East and West) during the Cold War. Following World War II influence and control over Germany was seen as critical to the security of Europe. As such the country, particularly the city of Berlin, became a battleground in Cold War Europe.

Simon Case’s doctoral research combined recently released JIC archives with existing research on intelligence and defence policy and other Government departments. It revealed how ministers, senior officials and military officers made use of the assessments produced by the JIC in formulating policies towards Germany and the Soviet Union.

Studying the humanities can boost careers

Professor Dan Todman, Head of the School of History at Queen Mary said: "It is great to see our historians going on to such success. Dr Case's career shows the high value that a training in the humanities has for society as a whole as well as for the individual scholar."

After passing his PhD viva at Queen Mary Simon joined the Civil Service where his roles included positions in the Northern Ireland Office. He also worked at Number 10 between 2012 and 2014 where he worked as Private Secretary and later as Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister. More recently he worked as Private Secretary to the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William and was made Permanent Secretary at Number 10 earlier this year.

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