The Department for Communities and Local Government is to cut its director general posts from six to three, as it absorbs a 33% cut in its administration budget over four years.
Sir Bob Kerslake, who is due become permanent secretary on 1 November, briefed staff today.
Job losses in the next tier down will see the 21 directors reduced to 15 and overall some 40% of jobs at DCLG might go over the next two years.
A selection process to fill the 24 most senior remaining post will take place between now and Christmas.
Sir Bob said the scale of cuts made some compulsory redundancies unavoidable, but a voluntary redundancy scheme would be offered first.
One of the remaining director generals will cover local government, fire, communities and the Big Society, and the second neighbourhoods, including housing and planning. The third will lead finance and corporate services.
Sir Bob said: “Our department’s role is altering significantly under the government’s localism agenda. We’ll do more enabling and less intervening. We’ll be a smaller department but stronger - and we will play a more strategic role, punching our weight in Whitehall.”