Baroness Morgan is leaving the role of culture secretary, which includes responsibility for charity and social enterprise policy, as part of Boris Johnson’s first reshuffle of his top team today.
Morgan was made a peer after the election, having not stood for re-election as an MP in December, and was then reappointed as secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport.
She had not been expected to hold the role for long.
Oliver Dowden has been confirmed as her replacement. He has been a minister in the Cabinet Office since 2018, and was elected as the MP for Hertsmere in 2015. Before becoming an MP he worked as a political strategist, including for David Cameron when he was prime minister.
Elsewhere, Alok Sharma has been moved from the Department for International Development to become secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy.
Sajid Javid has resigned as chancellor of the exchequer, with Rishi Sunak appointed as his replacement.
Announcements about junior ministers, including the minister for civil society, usually take place in the days following the cabinet level reshuffle. The prime minister appoints MPs to departments, and it is then for the department head to decide who has which role.
At the end of last year a coalition of charity infrastructure bodies including NCVO, ACEVO, the Charity Finance Group, NAVCA, the Institute of Fundraising, Community Leisure UK and the Small Charities Coalition wrote to Morgan urging the government to “rethink” the department that the Office for Civil Society belongs to.
They suggested that it would be better if it was moved back to the Cabinet Office.
“Placing it in the Cabinet Office will help it to be more effective by being closer to the heart of government – in turn it will help the government to underscore the message that charities, faith groups and community groups are the binds that hold our society together,” they said.
Peter Holbrook, chief executive, Social Enterprise UK said: “Oliver is a Minister with a growing reputation for getting things done. We worked closely with him on promoting the social value agenda which saw a significant upturn during his time at the Cabinet Office. I hope that he can bring the same energy to DCMS and raise the profile of social enterprise.
“To deliver the government’s agenda of levelling up the country, we need to encourage new forms of business which put place and people front and centre. There are 100,000 social enterprises employing 2m people ready and waiting to help, but they need government to support their development. Oliver has a huge opportunity in this brief to drive positive change for all our communities and I look forward to continuing our work together in his new role.”
We have a new Secretary of State for @DCMS, including civil society. Looking forward to working together so we can enable charities to play an ever greater role in society and the economy. https://t.co/MdZOXAWRbW— ElizabethChamberlain (@ncvoliz) February 13, 2020
Oliver Dowden is the 5th DCMS Secretary of State since 2017. It's this kind of short term, revolving door of ministers (in all departments) that makes substantive change so hard. @ACEVO talked about this in our #WeImagineBetter GE manifesto.— Kristiana Wrixon (@KristianaWrixon) February 13, 2020