The former parliamentary private secretary to Gordon Brown, Angela Evans Smith, has become the new minister for the third sector.
She replaces Kevin Brennan, who has moved on to Peter Mandelson's new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Smith will become a minister of state rather than a parliamentary under secretary, as Brennan was. She has also been appointed to the Privy Council, though she will not be a full cabinet minister.
Smith, the MP for Basildon, was first elected to Parliament at the 1997 general election. She became a Government whip in 2001 before becoming Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in 2002. She subsequently moved to the Communities and Local Government department before becoming Gordon Brown's parliamentary private secretary when he became Prime Minister in June 2007.
She lists her interests as home affairs, animal welfare, international development, employment, and youth and children's issues, including child protection. She is a patron of several charities, including Basildon Home Start, Basildon Women's Refuge, Basildon Age Concern, the Captive Animals Protection Society and the Burned Children's Club.
Her leisure interests include watching Coronation Street and reading political biographies and Oscar Wilde novels and plays.
Stuart Etherington, chief executive of sector umbrella body the NCVO, welcomed Smith's appointment and her promotion to minister of state. He said: "This reflects the importance of our sector. This is a crucial time for voluntary and community organisations and Angela will need to work closely with us all to support civil society through these turbulent times."
Stephen Brown, senior public affairs officer at Volunteering England, said Smith's connections with the Prime Minister were also good news for the sector. He said: "Prime Ministers choose as their private secretaries only those whom they trust implicitly and take advice from."
Last Friday, Tessa Jowell replaced Liam Byrne as Minister for the Cabinet Office, where the Office of the Third Sector is based.