Permanent Secretary

Sir Matthew Rycroft KCMG CBE


Sir Matthew Rycroft was appointed Knight Commander of Saint Michael and Saint George for his services to British Diplomacy, Development and Domestic Policy in the King’s New Year Honours 2023.

Sir Matthew Rycroft CBE is the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office. He was appointed on 17 March 2020.

Sir Matthew was previously Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Development from 22 January 2018 to 16 March 2020.

From April 2015 to January 2018 Matthew was the British Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

From March 2011, Matthew was the FCO’s Chief Operating Officer. In that role he oversaw the running of the FCO and its network of 270 posts around the world, including all the Human Resources, Finance, Estates, Security, Information Technology, Protocol, Procurement and Corporate Services. He deputised for the Permanent Under Secretary in his absence.

Sir Matthew was born on 16 June 1968 and brought up in Southampton and Cambridge. He has a degree in maths and philosophy from Merton College, Oxford.

Sir Matthew joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1989. After a few months at the UN in Geneva and then on the NATO desk in London, he spent four years in the British Embassy in Paris.

In 1995-96, Sir Matthew was head of the political section of Eastern Adriatic Department in the FCO. In this role he was a member of the British delegation to the Dayton peace talks on Bosnia.

After 2 years in the FCO’s Policy Planning Staff covering European and trans-Atlantic issues and brief secondments to the US State Department and US Congress, Matthew joined the British Embassy in Washington, following US domestic politics from 1998 to 2002.

From 2002 to 2004, Sir Matthew was Private Secretary to the Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs, covering all foreign, European, Northern Ireland and defence issues in No10. He received a CBE for this work.

He was British Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2005 and the FCO Europe Director from 2008.

Sir Matthew is married to Alison. They have 3 daughters, born in 1998, 2000 and 2005. Sir Matthew speaks French and Bosnian, plays the double bass, and enjoys soccer and other sports.

Permanent Secretary

Home Office and Civil Service Board

Previous roles in government

  • Permanent Secretary
  • Ambassador and Permanent Representative, UK Mission to the UN New York
  • Chief Operating Officer