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Sir David John Normington KCB is the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office of the United Kingdom.

Sir David Normington became Permanent Secretary at the Home Office in January 2006 having been Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education and Skills since 2001. Before that he was Director General for Schools, responsible between 1998 and 2001 for raising standards in schools.

His career began in the Department of Employment where he was responsible variously for the previous Government’s programme of trade union reform, for measures to reduce unemployment and for youth training. He was Principal Private Secretary to Tom King, Secretary of State for Employment in 1983 and 1984. He was also responsible for coordinating the efforts of central Government to regenerate the seven most deprived London boroughs.

In 1995, when the Department of Employment and Department of Education merged, he played a central role in the creation of the new Department for Education and Employment (DfEE). From there he moved on to become DfEE’s Director General for Strategy and Analytical Services and for the International Division in the run-up to the UK Presidency of the European Union.

He is a graduate of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He has been called "something more akin to James Bond than a top civil servant", and his nickname in his previous appointment as permanent secretary at the Department for Education and Skills was ‘the smiling assassin’. He is also described as ‘extremely charming’, ‘civilised and urbane’ – and a ‘tough nut’. One of Normington's lasting legacies in the DfES was his decision to reduce the Department's workforce by approximately a third, made in 2003. This decision came in advance of the subsequent budget announcing a large reduction of the civil service as a whole, leading some to speculate that Normington had made his own cuts early in an attempt to curry favour. He applied for the job of Cabinet Secretary but was beaten by Sir Gus O'Donnell[1]

Sir David is a Government member of the DA Notice committee. [2]

The arrest of opposition MP Damian Green

He was responsible for initiating the investigation that ended with the police arresting shadow immigration minister Damian Green, allegedly because Green told the press that the government had given licenses to illegal workers, that an illegal worker was employed in the Houses of Parliament, and two more documents. [3]

The complaint was dismissed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), [4] after MP's concluded that "that growing frustration in both the Home Office and the Cabinet Office may have led officials to give an exaggerated impression of the damage done by the leaks that could reasonably be presumed to have emanated from the Home Office" [5].

Offices held

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Michael Bichard
Permanent Secretary of the
Department for Education and Skills

Succeeded by
David Bell
Preceded by
Sir John Gieve
Permanent Secretary of the Home Office
Succeeded by
Current incumbent




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