Robert Whalley: Rising to the top of the Civil Service

Season 2, Episode 3,  Jun 08, 2021, 07:23 AM

Robert Whalley left school in 1965 and went on to study History at the University of Cambridge. He didn't necessarily know what he wanted to do as a career during his time in education, but upon leaving university he applied to be in the Civil Service and was posted to the Home Office, where he enjoyed an incredibly long and successful career.

Robert started his career in Northern Ireland, and in this conversation he talks about what it felt like to be in the middle of such devastation at such a young age - he'd be on the phone to Number 10 and they would be able to hear bombs going off in the background of the call, they were that close to where he was sitting.

He also talks about his time as the Home Office's Director for Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence, a role that he was in for 9/11 and for the London bombings of 2005. He chaired the Government's COBRA meetings for these two events (as well as many others during his time in this job) and talks about what it's like to be in the room when such huge decisions are made.

Finally, Robert talks about his time as the Director of Immigration Policy for the UK. He demonstrates that those working for the Civil Service need to be strong administrators by nature, but also how they need to have an empathy for those who are affected by their decisions - understanding a situation in as much detail as possible, and from as many opposing viewpoints, is vital to success.

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The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers themselves and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of our schools, their employees or constituents.