Permanent Secretary

Tamara Finkelstein CB


Tamara Finkelstein was appointed Permanent Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2019, having previously led the department’s work on EU Exit Delivery. Before that she led the Building Safety Programme in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Much of her career has been at HM Treasury where she started as an economist, and her roles included private secretary and speechwriter to the Chancellor, and leading on public services expenditure including health, education and housing.

She has worked in a number of other government departments on policy and delivery in health and children’s services including as Deputy Head of Sure Start, and as Director General for Community Care at the Department of Health and Social Care, with responsibility for social care and community services.

Her board experience includes roles on the boards of NS&I, the Debt Management Office and the UK Border Agency. She was Secretary to Lord Hutton’s Independent Public Service Pensions Commission.

She is head of the Government Policy Profession and senior sponsor of the Civil Service Jewish Network.

Permanent Secretary

Responsible for the overall management of the Department.

  • Principal Accounting Officer for Defra
  • Member of the Defra Board

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and Civil Service Board

Previous roles in government

  • Director General for Europe, international and constitution group
  • Director General, Community Care
  • Chief Operating Officer and Director General for Group Operations