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Andrew Turnbull

From Academic Kids

Sir Andrew Turnbull (born January 21,1945) is the head of Britain's civil service (the British Civil Service) and Cabinet Secretary. These two roles have in recent decades been filled by the same individual. As head of the civil service, Turnbull is something the like the chief executive of the organization, though the lines of reporting are somewhat more complex than is typical in the private sector since Permanent Secretaries (senior civil servants within each department of government) report to ministers. As Cabinet Secretary, a post created in 1916, Turnbull is responsible for the organization of the Cabinet Office, based in Downing Street, which provides support to the Prime Minister and to the government as a whole. When Turnbull succeeded to the dual role in 2 September 2002 Prime Minister Tony Blair asked him to focus of the management of the civil service, and to make its reorganization his priority.

Turnbull recently became involved in controversy when on 28 February2004 he wrote a formal letter admonishing ex-minister Clare Short for making media statements alleging that British intelligence had intercepted communications from (amongst others) UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Ms Short made the confidential letter public, and in turn rebuked Turnbull for allegedly allowing the government decision making machinery to crumble in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war. Short suggested that the government's legal expert, Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, had been "leant on" to provide advice that war would be legal [1] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2857347.stm). She argued that Turnbull had been responsible for what she alleged was inadequate Cabinet scrutiny of the legal advice, of the basis for the decision to go to war and the alternatives:

"He allowed us to rush to war in Iraq without defence and overseas policy meeting, looking at all the military options and the diplomatic options and political options. (He) allowed the Joint Intelligence Committee to meet with Alastair Campbell chairing it."[2] (http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2591043)

In March of 2005 Turnbull revealed that Lord Goldsmith's opinion on the legality of the Iraq War was only one page long.

His previous positions included Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister (1988-1992) and Permanent Secretary to the Treasury (1998-2002), the latter traditionally the second-highest-ranking Civil Service post.

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