Episode 14

Published on:

18th Mar 2024

Inside the Civil Service with Sir David Bell

They are the people who provide advice to ministers, provide consistency as Government’s change and run departments on a day to day basis. It is impossible to understand how Whitehall works without an understanding of the civil service. 

We were delighted to be joined by Sir David Bell, former Permanent Secretary of the Department for Education. His time there spanned 6 years, a change of government and 4 Secretaries of State, covering both Ed Balls and Michel Gove's time as Education Secretary.

Sir David is a giant in the world of education, having started as a school teacher and working his way to through various senior roles, including Director of Education and Libraries with Newcastle City Council, to become the Chief Inspector of Schools for almost 4 years. He is now Vice Chancellor of the University of Sunderland.

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About the Podcast

Inside Whitehall
Inside Whitehall demystifies many of the aspects we hear and read about in politics coverage every day. What really happens inside a Cabinet meeting? How is legislation made? What are Special Advisors?

Hosted by former Special Advisor James Starkie, and current MP Jonathan Gullis, Inside Whitehall interviews people across the political divide and beyond to provide a unique perspective on modern British Politics.

Follow and comment on Twitter @WhitehallPodUK

About your hosts

James Starkie

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Co-host James Starkie previously served as a senior political adviser to Secretaries of State including Michael Gove, Dominic Raab and Priti Patel as well as working on the EU Referendum and two General Election campaigns.

James is a Founding Partner at 5654 & Co, a corporate communications agency. You can find out more about 5654 & Co at www.5654.co.uk. James is also an advisory board member at the Centre for Progressive Change and runs the www.notimetowait.co.uk mental health campaign.

Jonathan Gullis

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Co-host Jonathan Gullis is the current Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent North, Kidsgrove & Talke.

During his time in Parliament, Jonathan has been a member of the Education Select Committee, Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and the Minister for School Standards.

Before entering Parliament, Jonathan was a secondary school teacher, Head of Year, and trade union representative for the NASUWT.