Simon Case, the British Cabinet Secretary (most senior civil servant) was appointed to the Privy Council on 13 September 2022.

Has it ever happened before that a serving cabinet secretary was a member of the privy council? If so, when was the last time?

  • The privy council is mostly a cipher, but it has certain effects. Some actions require a quorum of three, for instance. This might have been done for continuity of government reasons (!)
    – Rich
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 20:30
  • It's hard to put such a simple concept in adult terms, Tell. Yes, the Privy Council is mostly a cipher… until it matters which, happily, it never has. Even then, Rich, the Privy Council has no "effects" though it does have vital powers and so what? When last a Cabinet Secretary was a Privy Counsellor is a matter of record. If your search engine of choice failed to Answer your Question, that might be a matter for Stack Exchange. That being stated in SE's guidelines, where did your search engine of choice let you down? Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 18:11
  • The Privy Council is certainly on-topic as a body with some legislative and administrative powers within the UK's political system. But being not "useful" is grounds for voting down, if you think a question is trivia. (Why Case was appointed might be more relevant, but it is not unknown for experts to be admitted to the privy council so they can view privileged information and advise on specific topics, so there's nothing odd or unconstitutional going on here.)
    – Stuart F
    Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 9:57
  • @Robbie - There is no need to post about your difficulty in putting across a concept in adult terms. I could lecture you about the PC but won't, except to mention that after a person is appointed to the PC they have direct access to the monarch and some still carry an ivory pass called "the ivory" to prove said entitlement. I have no idea whether that fact is made easily available by any company that currently offers a websearch service. It may well not be.
    – user41795
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


The last time this was the case was in 1972, when Sir Burke Trend - then Cabinet Secretary for Ted Heath - became a Privy Counsellor. His appointment was published in the London Gazette on May 23rd, 1972, and he remained Cabinet Secretary until 1973.

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