Justice official named as Church’s Defra replacement

Ministry of Justice official Shaun Gallagher has been named as the replacement for Defra’s head of air quality policy, Dr Colin Church, who is leaving the role this month.

Dr Church announced his intention to leave the Department, where he holds the title director of resource, atmosphere & sustainability, in January, and is expected to leave the civil service altogether following more than ten years in public service (see story).

Outgoing Defra civil servant Dr Colin Church (left) is to be replaced by Ministry of Justice official Shaun Gallagher

Outgoing Defra civil servant Dr Colin Church (left) is to be replaced by Ministry of Justice official Shaun Gallagher

Prior to taking on his current post, he was responsible for exotic animal disease policy and outbreak handling within Defra.

Stepping into Dr Church’s place at the Department, Mr Gallagher will take up the role of director of environmental quality, leaving his current posting as director of access to justice within the Ministry of Justice, a role he has held since January 2014. Mr Gallagher will join Defra from the end of March.

An Oxford graduate, Mr Gallagher has himself held a number of civil service postings, although none to date in the environmental sector. This includes a stint at the Department of Health, where he was director of social care policy, where he was responsible for policy on care and support for adults in England, including overseeing the Care Act.


Dr Church announced his successor’s appointment on twitter last week, stating: “Into my last week at work as Director Environmental Quality. Delighted to confirm my successor Shaun Gallagher will start end March [sic].

“Shaun is v experienced Director with background in various policy areas, most recently Justice. Am sure the sector will be nice to him!”

On air quality policy, Mr Gallagher will face several key challenges including leading work to ensure the UK is compliant with EU air quality limits, with potential legal action from campaign groups also looming.

Mr Gallagher joins Defra having built up a good reputation in his previous postings. Writing in 2014, a former colleague, chief inspector of adult social care Andrea Sutcliffe, reflected on his time as director of social care policy at the Department of Health, writing: “Shaun is not a flashy leader; he is a quietly-determined and clever man full of integrity who gets things done in a collaborative way — a great role model.”


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Geoff Ibbs
Geoff Ibbs
8 years ago

Shaun Gallagher, this choice is like selecting Tiger Woods to play in the centre for the Wasps.

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