Peter Housden (born 1950) was Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government from June 2010 to June 2015 and prior to that was Permanent Secretary of the Department for Communities and Local Government (formerly the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) (UK), since October 2005.
Housden is unusual for a senior civil servant, having been educated at a comprehensive school, and having neither graduated from Oxbridge nor worked in the Civil Service for a great number of years.
He was educated at Grove Comprehensive School, Market Drayton, Shropshire and at the University of Essex where he took a First in Social Science. After graduating in 1973, Peter Housden began his career as a comprehensive school teacher in Shropshire and worked as an education officer in three county LEAs before being appointed as Director of Education in Nottinghamshire in 1991. In 1994, Housden was appointed as Chief Executive and in his seven years in that post managed Nottinghamshire County Council through Local Government Review and a wide-ranging programme of modernisation. In September 2000 he was seconded to the Audit Commission for six months to lead their work on the NHS National Plan.
He joined the Department for Education and Skills in November 2001 as Director General for Schools. He had overall responsibility for all the Department's work in schools and in early years, and for current priorities on primary standards and secondary reform. He held this role until his appointment as Permanent Secretary of ODPM in 2005.
Peter Housden is an associate fellow of Warwick University Business School and a Trustee of the Work Foundation. His publications include 'Local Statesman', an oral history of post-war local government in Nottinghamshire published by the Local Government Centre, Warwick University in 2000, and 'Bucking the Market: LEAs and Special Needs' (NASEN, 1993).
In December 2015, Mr Housden sought the advice of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA) regarding the establishment of an independent consultancy which specialized in devolution, service integration and various other areas, having left his position in the Scottish government in June of that year. The committee approved Housden's request given that he serve a 2 year lobbying ban from his last day in office, that he did not draw upon any privileged information from his time with government , that he takes up no consultant work directly related to contracts being administered by the Scottish government and lastly that he seek the advice of the commission on any further commissions he may wish to undertake. In December 2015, the consultancy took up commissions with The Centre for Effective Services and Deloitte. In March 2016, it took up a further commission with the Royal College of Nursing Scotland.
- Summary of Business Appointments Peter Housden, APPC, accessed 11 April 2016
- Sir Peter Housden Summary of Business Appointments, Gov.uk, accessed 23 May 2016