The Public Bodies Reform Programme will reduce government administration costs by more than £2.6bn. One of the bodies transferred to the voluntary sector under the programme was the Canal & River Trust. Its chairman Tony Hales and Peter Unwin, Director General at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), describe the challenges and benefits of turning a national treasure into a charitable trust.
Peter joined Defra in February 2007, having previously been Director General for Corporate Delivery in the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Peter first joined the civil service as a statistician and held posts in the Inland Revenue, Cabinet Office and Ministry of Defence before joining the Department of Environment in 1983. He transferred to policy work and held various posts in local government finance and urban policy before working on the environment and climate change, leading the official delegation to the 1997 Kyoto conference. He was the Deputy Prime Minister’s Private Secretary from 1998 to 2001.