The Prime Minister has marked the New Year with a government reshuffle and, whilst many Cabinet members have remained in place, some key posts for the sector have changed hands. As new, if familiar, faces head up Work and Pensions, Education and Justice, and jobs given to several junior ministers regarded as rising stars, ERSA will be writing to seek meetings with relevant ministers this week. ERSA’s media response to the reshuffle is here.

Esther McVey, the MP for Tatton, is the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. ERSA enjoyed strong, productive relationship with her during her time as Employment Minister, with attendance at our conferences, awards and fringe meetings, plus many frontline centres, and is likely to be very different from her predecessors.

Alok Sharma replaces Damian Hinds as Employment Minister, having previously been Minister for Housing and Planning.  His background is in management accountant and he was previously a PPS to Hoban when at HMT.  Sarah Newton will remain as minister with responsibility for the Work and Health Programme.

Kit Malthouse, former Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council, also joins the DWP team as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State. His will be responsible for family support, housing and child maintenance. 

Damian Hinds is the Secretary of State for Education, bringing his knowledge of the DWP with him into the new role. Anne Milton stays in post as Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills and Minister for Women.

David Gauke, the outgoing Work and Pensions Secretary, replaces David Lidington as Justice Secretary, who has moved to the Cabinet Office. Rory Stewart replaces Sam Gyimah as Minister of State for Justice, taking on his prison reform role. He moves from his role as Minister of State for Africa. Tracey Crouch remains as Civil Society Minister.

Two Departments were given a rebrand. The Department for Communities and Local Government has become the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, reinforcing housing as a priority under Dominic Raab. In addition, the Department of Health becomes the Department of Health and Social Care, with Jeremy Hunt remaining in position.

Kirsty McHugh, ERSA’s Chief Executive, commented on the appointment of Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey:

‘ERSA warmly welcomes the appointment of the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. ERSA enjoyed a close working relationship with Esther McVey during her time as Employment Minister, during which time she had responsibility for many substantial employment support programmes and worked closely with ERSA on a wide range of issues, including how subcontractors fared within back to work provision.  The minister’s return is particularly helpful given the high turnover of ministers at Work and Pensions.  Good government depends on the ability of ministers to accumulate knowledge, experience and wisdom in their specialist area – Esther will bring that in droves to the department. We particularly look forward to working with Esther on replacing the European Social Fund, Universal Credit reforms and supporting disadvantaged groups.’