Sir John Chilcot was Permanent Secretary at the Northern Ireland Office from 1990 before retiring from a career as a senior civil servant at the end of 1997. He was from 1999 to 2013 the independent Chairman of the Building and Civil Engineering Group, a not-for profit group set up in 1942 to deliver pensions, health and welfare and other benefits to 6,500 firms and almost a quarter of a million employees in the construction industry.
Sir John has been a (non-party) member or chairman of a number of reviews, inquiries and other bodies including the Independent Commission on the Voting System (1997-98), the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Public Records and its successor National Archives Council (1999-2004), a review of Royal and VIP security, an inquiry into the IRA break-in at the PSNI Special Branch HQ (2002), and the Review of the Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction by a Committee of Privy Counsellors, chaired by Lord Butler (2004). He was Staff Counsellor to the Security and Intelligence Agencies (1999-2004) and to the National Criminal Intelligence Service (2002-06). He was Chair of the Advisory Committee at the Centre for Contemporary British History and a member of the Institute of Historical Research Advisory Council (2001-09).
Sir John is also President of the Police Foundation, an independent think-tank whose objective is to improve policing services to the public by evidence-based research; a member of the Awards Council of the Royal Anniversary Trust; and a Trustee of the Police Rehabilitation Trust.
Born in 1939, he was educated at Brighton College (Lyon Scholar, now Vice-President, Fellow and President of the Old Brightonians Association), and Pembroke College, Cambridge (Open Scholar, now an Honorary Fellow), where he read English, and Modern and Medieval Languages. John Chilcot has been married to Rosalind Chilcot, an artist, since 1964.