Caroline Slocock

Caroline Slocock was the first woman Private Secretary at No 10 and was Private Secretary (Home Affairs) between 1989 to 1991 to Margaret Thatcher and John Major. Margaret Thatcher turned No 10 into her home, treating her Private Secretaries like family and allowing some advisers in No 10 to become more important to her than her Ministers, contributing to her eventual downfall. The author saw it all.

The author’s passion for equal opportunities and progressive social change is reflected in her subsequent career. After leaving No 10, she worked to change the culture and working practices of the Treasury, which many women saw as barrier to their advancement, and went on to reform the public expenditure system and public services. At the Department for Education and Skills, she oversaw a national expansion of childcare and nursery education. Between 2002 and 2007, she was the Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission, the statutory body that promoted equal opportunities for women and men, and helped achieve significant advances, though many challenges remain. She currently runs a think tank and a leadership network dedicated to improving services and strengthening communities. She is the author of many publications on this theme and a regular commentator in the media.

She lives in London and Suffolk and is married to the crime writer, John Nightingale, with two daughters.