UK.gov confirms: Yes, our former DWP perm sec will join Salesforce

No lobbying for at least another five months


The government has confirmed former permanent secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, Robert Devereux, has rocked up at ethical SaaS oufit Salesforce as veep of global public sector.

The senior Brit civil servant's move to the part-time position was first revealed by The Register in June.

The former permanent secretary was one of the key people behind the increase of the state pension age to 68, but Devereux himself retired at the age of 61 from his £185,000 salary job in 2017. His pension pot was reported to be £1.8m in 2010/11.

editorial only image of Whitehall. Pic Daniel Gale/Shutterstock

One-time permanent DWP secretary Robert Devereux set to rock up at 'ethical' tech biz Salesforce

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Devereux told the advisory committee on business appointments (PDF) the role that tempted him out of early retirement "will largely be a mix of thought leadership and strategy, especially in the first year."

He will be "drawing on his knowledge of the government's general concerns for value for money and more for less, in helping Salesforce think through and demonstrate the strengths of its products and its likely appeal within the public sector both in the UK and the rest of the world."

The initial approach from Salesforce to Devereux had come via a former member of staff at DWP (who worked in the IT group between 2007 and 2015), Devereux informed the committee.

Devereux further added that he'd met his former co-worker "once or twice like many other colleagues in the department and was not aware he had joined Salesforce until he made contact years after leaving DWP".

According to the letter, the Department for Work and Pensions – which is responsible for welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy in the UK – has an IT budget of £800m. The department currently has two contracts with Salesforce, including a £42,350 agreement providing support for its Pensionwise service and a £5m Mulesoft Anypoint Platform subscription from 28 January 2019 to 27 January 2021. Devereux was not involved in the procurement process of either.

The former perm sec told the committee he will not have any dealings with his former department, will not use his contacts in this role, and nor will he lobby government on behalf of Salesforce.

The committee said the prime minister had accepted its advice. Devereux's appointment should not draw on any privileged information and "for two years since the last day he left the Crown, he should not be personally engaged in any lobbying activity."

Devereux left the government 19 months ago.

The Register has asked Salesforce for a comment.

The appointment is the latest of a number of high-ranking civil service heads fleeing government to join large US cloud companies.

Former procurement head Bill Crothers also joined Salesforce as an advisor in 2017. Last year, The Register exclusively revealed the UK's tech advisor Liam Maxwell joined tax-efficient cloud titan Amazon Web Services.

He was followed in May by Alex Holmes, the deputy director of cyber security at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Salesforce recently hosted government ministers at an event in its offices.

Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden and Johnny Mercer, Minister for Defence, People and Veteran visited Salesforce to hear about how the firm supports those who have served in the armed forces at the end of last month.

The government press release said the ministers met with ex-service personnel "working at world-leading cloud software firm Salesforce" as they undertook their first engagement in post." ®

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