3982 - Head of Communications, National Security Communications Team

12 Months
South East
70 Whitehall, SW1A 2AS
Band A Plus
Grade 6
Cabinet Office is in the process of demerging its combined grades.

We have already demerged what was Band A into G6 and G7. We are now in the process of demerging Band B2 into SEO and HEO. Please note, posts advertised at SEO are equivalent to Band B2+ and posts advertised as HEO will be called Band B2. 
Fixed Term
For a period of up to 2 years
Full Time, Part Time, Part Time/Job Share, Part Time Term Time
Communications / Marketing
£58,562 - £70,877

Cabinet Office supports the Prime Minister and ensures the smooth running of government - from developing policy, to modernising public services. We welcome talented people from all backgrounds with the skills and the commitment to build a career in the Civil Service.
The Cabinet Office Purpose is:

  • to maintain the integrity of the Union, coordinate the security of the realm and sustain a flourishing democracy;
  • to support the design and implementation of HM Government’s policies and the Prime Minister’s priorities; and
  • to ensure the delivery of the finest public services by attracting and developing the best public servants and improving the efficiency of government.

The work Cabinet Office delivers is vast and therefore presents opportunities to develop your skills and experience in a variety of critical government agendas.
An organisation of approximately 7,000 employees, the Cabinet Office is a vibrant, modern and exciting place to work, attracting a diverse workforce which represents the people we serve. Our main offices are in London, but we have staff based around the UK.
At the heart of this are our Cabinet Office values. To deliver our Purpose and help make Cabinet Office a great place to work, we all commit to:-

  • treating everyone with Respect
  • actively Collaborate, and
  • build Trust

We have an aspiration to become the most inclusive employer across the Civil Service. We have a number of staff benefits, including flexible working, and access to a number of staff support networks to ensure we meet this.

This is an unrivalled opportunity for a brilliant communications professional to join the National Security Communications Team in a leadership role. The Team is based in the Cabinet Office, but with strong links to No 10, and you will play a key role in the team’s work across the Government’s national security priorities.

The team is focused on how the UK can use communications to tackle complex challenges to our national security. You will be working on some of the most important, and high profile issues facing Government both domestically and internationally.

We are looking for a senior leader with the talent, organisational skills and creativity to motivate and manage a high performing team to deliver high-impact communications with partners across Whitehall.

The post offers huge development potential with the opportunity to embed all the skills needed to support promotion to the senior civil service.

The team’s portfolio can be complex and sensitive, so you will need attention to detail and a focus on delivery. You’ll also need to persuade and inspire those outside your team, establishing effective working relationships across a broad network inside and outside Whitehall. And you will need to be flexible and dynamic, and prepared to operate across the full range of communication disciplines, including Strategic Communications, Campaigns and Marketing, Stakeholder Engagement, PR / Media Relations, Digital.

The post holder will be line managed by the Deputy Director of National Security Communication Unit.

Essential criteria:

  • A good understanding of national security apparatus and governance structures
  • Proven leadership skills
  • Applicants must have the approval of their line manager to apply

Desirable criteria:

  • DV clearance and meet criteria to undergo STRAP clearance if not already held
  • Experience working with UKIC

The post holder’s responsibilities will include:

  • Growing a brilliant culture that enables a high performing team to hit its potential
  • Direct line management of Band A/Grade 7 staff and operational leadership of day to day team matters
  • Leading, or overseeing the creation and delivery of communications strategies to meet National Security objectives on priority issues
  • Driving ongoing production of high quality, proactive communications across the team’s full portfolio
  • Ensuring outstanding team delivery is underpinned by effective organisation, and best in class finance, governance and programme management
  • Building the overall capability of government communications by playing a leadership role in the Whitehall national security communications community
  • Enhancing the reputation of the team inside and outside Whitehall through an effective network and by being an authoritative voice on the use of communications for national security
  • Representing the team and its work, including internationally and to internal and external high value audiences.

The post holder should be able to demonstrate:

  • An excellent understanding of the current National Security context, through professional experience in either National Security communications or in another NS-related role
  • A proven record in the development and delivery of effective communications, underpinned by expert understanding of the whole mix of communications from no cost to major marketing campaign
  • Strategic judgment to make evidence-based communications recommendations and the personal impact to engage, influence and challenge effectively at the most senior levels
  • Clear ability and commitment to deliver results in a complex, politically sensitive environment, taking personal responsibility, and working with and through others to ensure high quality outcomes delivered at pace and in budget
  • A single-minded focus on outcomes, deep commitment to evaluation and ability to revise plans in flight, in light of emerging results.
  • Empowering leadership, and being a team player with a can-do attitude and motivational and personal qualities needed to build and develop a high performance team
  • The ability to network professionally and build productive relationships across organisational boundaries
  • A passion for public service, supported by an understanding of the political environment and the way in which the corporate centre interfaces effectively with departments.
  • Full commitment to their own development and developing others, bringing the best out of direct reports, team members, and as part of the wider Government Communication Service.

Please note that this role requires DV clearance, which would normally require 10 years’ UK residency in the past 10 years. This is not an absolute requirement but supplementary checks may be required where individuals have not lived in the UK for the required period. This may mean that your security clearance (and therefore your appointment) will take longer or, in some cases, not be possible.

The Government Communication Service (GCS) is the professional body for over 3000 communications professionals working in central government departments, agencies and arm’s length bodies. The goal of GCS is to provide an exceptional standard of professional practice in support of the government, implementing the priorities of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to build a stronger economy, a fairer society, a United Kingdom and a global Britain. We serve both politicians and the public. From Whitehall to Whitehaven, Inverness to Cardiff and Belfast, GCS members work in all regions of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We also operate internationally to support the government’s objectives overseas. GCS is regarded as one of the major professions within the Civil Service. We have expertise in all communication disciplines; we design, plan and deliver world-class media work, public-facing campaigns and stakeholder and internal communications. We partner closely with organisations in the public, private and third sectors in pursuit of the greatest cost-efficiency and impact. The work we do is rarely easy, constantly challenging, and always rewarding.

About the Team

The Prime Minister announced the expansion of the National Security Communications Team (“NSCT” or “the Team”) on 28 March 2018 as part the National Security Capability Review (NSCR) ensuring communications are an integral part of our approach to National Security.
The Team enables the delivery of proactive strategic communications on key National Security Council priority areas as well as crisis and incident response, where required. The Team works to the benefit of the whole of the National Security community, providing training and career development to ensure a consistently world class level of communications, providing a rewarding career pathway for talent. The work that the team does is ground breaking, including internationally. Its work is diverse and offers the opportunity to make real world difference in this important area of government business.

Please contact:

Shelby White shelby.white@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Due to the high volume of applications received for Cabinet Office vacancies, we regret that feedback is only available - at the discretion of the vacancy manager - following the interview stage. Vacancy managers may also sift on one lead competency at the application stage.

Terms, Conditions and Benefits

This is a Fixed Term appointment for a period of up to 2 years. There is the possibility of a contract extension subject to future business need.

This role is based within the Cabinet Office at Band A Plus - £58,562 - £70,877. Annual salary increases will depend upon individual performance and contribution to the organisation’s success. In addition there will be the opportunity to earn performance related bonuses. There is an expectation that successful applicants new to the Civil Service will join on the pay band minimum.

Existing civil servants can take up the post on loan from their parent department for the duration advertised. Those joining on level transfer will retain their current salary. Staff joining on promotion terms will receive up to a 10% increase of their current basic salary or the pay band minimum whichever is the greater. Staff joining on promotion will adopt the modernised terms and conditions of employment which came into force in 2013.

There is a choice of excellent pension schemes. More information about pension provisions can be found at www.civilservice.gov.uk/pensions

Flexible Working

Flexible working including job-share arrangements may be considered for this role.

Leave allowances

25 days' paid leave per annum rising to 30 days after five years service. In addition, full-time staff receive eight public holidays and the Queen’s Birthday privilege day as well as competitive maternity, paternity, parental and adoption leave.


Staff new to the Civil Service will be required to serve a six month probationary period.


The post will be based in 70 Whitehall, London SW1A 2AS

Relocation Costs No relocation costs will be available.

Equality and Diversity

The Cabinet Office is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all staff. We will not discriminate on grounds of gender, gender identity, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, age, those with caring responsibilities, part time workers or any other factor irrelevant to a person’s work.

We encourage a diverse workforce and aim to provide a working environment where all staff at all levels are valued and respected, and where discrimination, bullying, promotion of negative stereotyping and harassment are not tolerated.

Assessment for recruitment, selection, appraisal, training and career progression purposes is based both on the individual’s ability and suitability for the work. We are committed to providing all staff with opportunities to maximise their skills and achieve their potential, offering flexible working arrangements wherever possible.

As public authorities departments have statutory duties placed on them that require them to promote equality of opportunity and eliminate unlawful discrimination. We expect all staff to assist the department in meeting these obligations. All staff should have due regard for the need to promote good relations between individuals from different groups and work towards achieving equality of opportunity for all.

Civil Service Code

All civil servants are subject to the provisions of the Civil Service Code (see Annex A) which details Civil Service values, standards of behaviour, rights and responsibilities. Go to http://civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk for more information.


We offer support with childcare and holiday play schemes costs by providing childcare vouchers for staff who meet the eligibility criteria. Current civil servants applying for Cabinet Office vacancies on or after 06 April 2018, may experience implications in continuing to claim childcare vouchers.

HMRC now offer a tax free childcare scheme for new entrants into the Cabinet Office. We also offer a holiday play scheme and the Cabinet Office contribute to the costs for staff who meet the eligibility criteria. Current civil servants applying for Cabinet Office vacancies on or September 2018 who are currently in receipt of childcare vouchers and not transferring on a TUPE or COSOP move will be unable to continue to claim childcare vouchers but may be eligible for the HMRC tax free childcare scheme.

Recruitment and Selection Process


You must be a British Citizen, citizen of the British Commonwealth* an EC national or a national of specified Member States of the European Free Trade Area, together with certain members of their families. Certain Turkish nationals are also eligible to apply. In the first instance it is advisable to refer to the Civil Service Nationality Rules which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nationality-rules If you have any further questions about nationality requirements, please contact the Recruitment Team at: corecruitment@cabinetoffice.gov.uk. (*Commonwealth citizens not yet in the UK, who have no right of abode in the UK and who do not have leave to enter the UK are ineligible to apply.)

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

The Cabinet Office is committed to the employment and career development of disabled people and will guarantee to interview anyone with a disability whose application meets the minimum criteria for the post.

Pre-appointment Checks

The successful candidate’s appointment will be subject to a series of checks including security, nationality, health and references before a formal offer of appointment is made. Subject to satisfactory completion of the pre-appointment checks, you will be invited to take up the post as soon as possible. The National Insurance numbers of successful applicants will be shared with the Ministry of Defence to aid the tracking of Armed Forces Reservist levels across government.

The Selection Process

Assessment at sift and interviews will be based on meeting any defined skill/qualification requirements along with a Success Profile element assessment, as detailed in the job advert. The Success Profile elements to be assessed will be outlined within the job advert. The Civil Service Success Profile Framework is publically available here:


We would generally expect answers to follow the STAR or CAR structure and encourage candidates to use this throughout their application.

Application/Interview Scoring System

The Cabinet Office adopts a scoring system of 1-7 for Behaviours, Ability, Technical and Experience.

7- The evidence provided wholly exceeds expectation at this level

6 - Substantial positive evidence; includes some evidence of exceeding expectations at this level

5 - Substantial positive evidence of the competency or behaviour

4 - Adequate positive evidence and any negative evidence would not cause concern

3 - Moderate positive evidence but some negative evidence demonstrated

2 - Limited positive evidence and/or mainly negative evidence demonstrated

1 - No positive evidence and/or substantial negative evidence demonstrated

Strengths will be assessed at interview on a 1-4 scale.

Civil Service Commission

Recruitment into the Civil Service is governed by the Civil Service Commission which has two key functions.

● To maintain the principle of selection for appointment to the Civil Service on merit on the basis of fair and open competition.

● To promote an understanding of the Civil Service Code which sets out the constitutional framework in which all civil servants work and the values they are expected to uphold, and to hear and determine appeals made under it. More detailed information can be found at on the Civil Service Commission website: http://civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk


The Department’s recruitment processes are underpinned by the requirement of selection for appointment based on merit, open and fair competition as outlined in the Civil Service Commissioners’ Recruitment Principles, details of which can be found at http://civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, you should contact the Cabinet Office Recruitment Team, Human Resources, 4th Floor, 1 Horse Guards Road, London SW1A 2HQ or email corecruitment@cabinetoffice.gov.uk, in the first instance. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive you can further contact the Civil Service Commission at:

Email: civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk or in writing to:

Civil Service Commission

Room G/8

1 Horse Guards Road

London SW1A 2HQ

11/07/2019, 23:55 hours

To be confirmed
Non Reserved
Developed Vetting

Success Profiles

Success Profiles will enable a fairer and more inclusive method of recruitment by enabling us to assess the range of experiences, abilities, strengths, behaviours and technical / professional skills required for different roles. This flexible approach to recruitment focuses more on finding the right candidate for the specific role. Your can find our more abut Success Profiles here.


This Vacancy is closed to applications.