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New Civil Service Commissioners appointed

Elizabeth Walmsley, Stephen Cohen, Christopher Pilgrim and Atul Devani have been appointed as Commissioners as part of the Civil Service Commission.

Together they bring valuable skills and experience from both public and private sector backgrounds.

The Civil Service Commission is an independent statutory body that oversees appointments to the Civil Service, ensuring that they are made on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. Commissioners also promote and hear appeals brought under the Civil Service Code.

The new Civil Service Commissioners have been appointed after an open competition which took place in 2022.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Nadim Zahawi said:

I would like to congratulate the four new commissioners on their appointments. They bring a variety of expertise that will help ensure that civil servants are recruited on merit and on the basis of fair and open competition, helping safeguard an impartial Civil Service.

Baroness Gisela Stuart, the First Civil Service Commissioner, said:

I am delighted that Atul, Christopher, Elizabeth and Stephen will be joining our board of Civil Service Commissioners. Their extensive experience and expertise from leadership roles and boards in other sectors will enrich the Commission’s work both as an independent regulator of recruitment into the Civil Service and in hearing complaints under the Civil Service Code. I look forward to working with them as Commissioners, helping to ensure we have an effective Civil Service, appointed on merit, to develop and deliver government services across the country.

The new Commissioners announced yesterday join the Commission from 3 October 2022 for a 5 year non-renewable term. Commissioners work part-time, typically between 4 and 8 days a month.

Notes to editors

  1. Read more information about the work of the Commission.
  2. The Civil Service Commission was established as a statutory body in November 2010 under the provisions of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. The Commission is independent of Ministers and the Civil Service. It is responsible for upholding the requirement that recruitment to the Civil Service is on merit on the basis of fair and open competition.
  3. Biographies of the new commissioners:
  • Atul Devani is serial entrepreneur who founded and sold several successful software technology ventures in finance, mobile, telecoms, telemedicine and pharmacy. He is currently a Non-Executive Director of a Venture Capital Trust and an investor in a number of private companies. Atul is a mentor of entrepreneurs at the Company of Information Technologists in the City of London, an independent member of Bangor University Council and also serves on the board of M-Sparc, a science park created by the University to help to inspire people and provide support for innovations.

  • Christopher Pilgrim was formerly Chief HR Officer and Board member of the energy supplier Npower. Chris began his career with British Steel before joining ExxonMobil and an Exxon Joint Venture with Shell filling a number of senior positions in the UK and internationally. This was followed by HR Director roles at Royal Numico and Uniq plc, before joining Npower in 2009. Chris has been a member of the Police and National Crime Agency Remuneration Review Body and is now Chair of the Doctors and Dentist Pay Review Body, Board Member of the Civil Nuclear Police Authority, and a Governor of Cardiff Metropolitan University.

  • Stephen Cohen has over 40 years’ experience in asset management, in Asia, Europe and the USA. He has worked as a portfolio manager, in business development, operations and in IT. Stephen is a Council member at the Health & Care Professions Council, a Commissioner at the Gambling Commission and Chair of Audit for both the JPMorgan Japan Investment Trust plc and the Schroder UK Public Private Trust plc. Stephen brings a global business perspective, deep experience of finance, corporate strategy and corporate governance.

  • Liz currently divides her time between consultancy, voluntary and community work. During her career she has developed extensive commercial experience in science, engineering, new technology, finance and third sector. This included senior positions in ICI plc, 3i plc and Praesta Partners LLP and a range of non-executive and governance roles. She has worked globally and in the UK in public, private and voluntary sectors. Throughout her career she has actively promoted increased inclusion and equality of opportunity. She is currently a Trustee of the Woodsmith Foundation, whose activity covers the North York Moors National Park and its coastal towns. Other community activities include Rotary and her local Village Hall in rural North Yorkshire.

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