Theodore Agnew, Baron Agnew of Oulton

Theodore Thomas More Agnew, Baron Agnew of Oulton, DL (born 17 January 1961) is a British businessman, Conservative life peer and Minister of State at the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury. He also founded the Inspiration Trust, and is the Trust's former chairman.

The Lord Agnew of Oulton

Minister of State for Efficiency and Transformation[lower-alpha 1]
Assumed office
14 February 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byDavid Laws
(Cabinet Office)
The Baroness Neville-Rolfe
(Treasury Commercial Secretary)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for School System
In office
28 September 2017  14 February 2020
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded byThe Lord Nash
Succeeded byThe Baroness Berridge
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
23 October 2017
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born (1961-01-17) 17 January 1961 (age 60)
Norfolk, England
Political partyConservative

Early life

He was born in Norfolk, brought up in Oulton near Aylsham and educated at Beeston Hall School and Rugby School. After school, he worked in Canada and Australia, initially in farming but later buying and selling a variety of businesses.[1]


After working in Australia, he returned to the UK, founded Town & Country Assistance in 1989, and grew the business to annual gross revenues of £40 million. Selling it to Warburg Pincus in 2002, he became co-founder of WNS Global Services. He resigned as a non-executive director of Jubilee Managing Agency Ltd in 2011, a Lloyd's insurance business managing £130 million of premiums.

He has a financial interest in the artificial intelligence company Faculty.[2]

He is a past trustee of Policy Exchange, a Westminster-based think tank. He served as chairman of the Norfolk Community Foundation in 2013 but remains a vice patron.[3]

Agnew is the founder and chairman of the Inspiration Trust, a multi-academy trust that runs fourteen schools in East Anglia. The Trust was founded as the East Norfolk Academy Trust on 14 August 2012, changing its name to the Inspiration Trust on 27 January 2013.[4][5]

Agnew was a non-executive board member of the Department for Education and chairman of its Academies Board from 2013 to 2015. He was appointed lead non-executive board member of the Ministry of Justice in July 2015.[6]

Agnew is a board member of the Education Policy Institute, a Westminster-based research institute.[7]

Agnew was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System, in the Department for Education, on 28 September 2017.[8][9] He had an interest in improving the cost base of schools.[10] He was created Baron Agnew of Oulton, of Oulton in the county of Norfolk, on 19 October 2017,[11] sitting with the Conservative Party group in the House of Lords.[12]

Agnew became Minister of State for Efficiency and Transformation at the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury on 14 February 2020.

Agnew had a senior role in the UK's vaccination effort during the COVID-19 pandemic.[13] In April 2021 he was accused of a conflict of interest over his shares in Public Group, a firm helping companies bid for government contracts.[14]

Personal life

Agnew donated a total of £134,000 to the Conservative Party between 2007 and 2009.[15]


Agnew was appointed a deputy lieutenant (DL) of Norfolk in 2013.[16] He was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2015 New Year Honours "for services to education".[17][18][19]


  1. Jointly with HM Treasury.


  1. George, Martin (9 August 2013). "Theodore Agnew from 11 plus misery and brothel cleaning to business success and a top job at the department for education". Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  2. Evans, Rob; Pegg, David (4 May 2020). "Vote Leave AI firm wins seven government contracts in 18 months" via
  3. "Patrons | Norfolk Community Foundation". Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  4. "About us - our trustees - Inspiration Trust". Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  5. "INSPIRATION TRUST - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  6. "Sir Theodore Agnew - GOV.UK". Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  7. "Sir Theodore Agnew - Education Policy Institute". Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  8. "Lord Theodore Agnew". HM Government. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  9. "New ministerial appointments September 2017: DfE and DIT". Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  10. Staufenberg, Jess (8 October 2019). "Introducing... Lord Agnew". FE Week.
  11. "No. 62088". The London Gazette. 24 October 2017. p. 19606.
  12. "Lord Agnew of Oulton". House of Lords. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  13. O'Neill, Sean; Waterfield, Bruno (29 January 2021). "Coronavirus: UK's nimble vaccine task force has left rivals trailing in its wake". The Times.
  14. Hurley, James; Wright, Oliver (2 April 2021). "Minister Lord Agnew accused in conflict of interest row". The Times. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  15. Kleinman, Mark (13 June 2015). "Gove Sparks Row Over Tory Donor Appointment". Sky News. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  16. "Lieutenancy of Norfolk". Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  17. "No. 61092". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2014. p. N2.
  18. "2015 New Year Honours List" (PDF). Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  19. "No. 61320". The London Gazette. 11 August 2015. p. 14934.
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Nash
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System
Succeeded by
The Baroness Berridge
Position re-established Minister of State for Efficiency and Transformation
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Lord Duncan of Springbank
Baron Agnew of Oulton
Followed by
The Lord Geidt