Chief of Staff to the Director General for EU Exit Delivery
In Defra, we deal with a vast range of issues that profoundly impact on people’s lives. We are responsible for England’s environment, our countryside and rural economy, the food and farming sectors and have lead responsibility for protection from a wide range of natural threats and hazards. Your role will be critically important to achieving our vision of ‘creating a great place for living’.
This is a particularly exciting time to join the Defra group. We are one of the lead departments in delivering a successful exit from the EU. Leaving the EU will fundamentally change the work we do and how we deliver it. You will have the opportunity to contribute towards and influence the development of new approaches and policies on a wide range of issues affecting millions of people in the UK.
The work you will be doing
The Director General (DG) of the EU Exit Delivery Group relies on the smooth running of her office, both in terms of departmental leadership, delivery and political handling. As Chief of Staff you will act on behalf of the DG across the Defra group, across Whitehall, and with external partners. You will exercise judgment and discretion and you will be responsible for resolving complex and sensitive problems. You will work closely with the EU Exit Delivery Group’s leadership team to help build a cohesive and high performing team, and maintain strong relationships with Ministerial Private Offices, Executive Committee offices and policy teams. You will influence, communicate and anticipate the DGs views and decisions and drive forward her agenda. You will be accountable for the advice you give and will need to constantly weigh, manage and mitigate a significant level of risk.
You will need to maintain high professional standards and resilience. We are looking for a high-performing candidate with exceptional organisational skills, the ability to adapt and flex at speed, see the wider landscape across the Department and Civil Service, and represent the DG’s views with credibility and professionalism. Your own portfolio of work will cover the most sensitive or complex issues. You will be expected to have or to quickly gain a strategic knowledge of the work of the group and how it impacts and affects others across the Defra group and government as a whole.
Your responsibilities will include:
1. Acting on behalf of the Director General across the Defra group and with external partners:
- driving forward the EU Exit Delivery agenda and priorities within Defra and across Whitehall through formal and informal means using excellent judgment and discretion;
- identifying and solving problems, acting autonomously, with a focus on particularly sensitive issues;
- attending meetings on behalf of the DG and ensuring that her views are represented;
- confidently and quickly undertaking special projects required by the DG to deal with urgent, complex issues.
2. Providing policy and delivery support to the DG:
- preparing briefing notes for Ministers on the work of EU Exit Delivery Group;
- producing internal communication materials for the EU Exit Delivery Group and the wider department;
- providing high quality advice and support to the DG backed up by accurate, perceptive insights, and well considered recommendations, to reduce risk and progress her priorities.
3. Managing the office of the DG EU Exit Delivery:
- building strong relationships with the DG and the rest of her office to form a high performing collaborative team;
- prioritise and delegate work as appropriate within the office and across the group;
- manage the Diary Secretary role ensuring that:
- correspondence is processed in a timely and prioritised manner
- high quality briefings are prepared
- actions for the DG are completed in a timely manner and to a high standard
- a busy diary is actively managed and prioritised.
4. Undertaking a business manager function for the EU Exit Delivery Group:
- overseeing the budget for the EU Exit Delivery Group, working closely with finance colleagues;
- leading on people issues within the group including:
- supporting the DG on staffing issues
- devising and delivering a programme of Senior Management Team (SMT) meetings that support the leadership of the group
- organising SMT and EU Exit Delivery Group development days
- managing the DGs internal communications and staff engagement across the group and wider department.
5. Building and managing relationships:
- building excellent relationships with senior leaders across the EU Exit Delivery Group and the wider Defra group, including the Permanent Secretary’s office and Ministerial offices, to promote joined up working, co-ordination and collaboration and to identify, understand and resolve emerging issues at an early stage;
- proactively working with EU Exit teams across Whitehall, including DExEU and the Cabinet Office, to ensure joined up working and to identify, understand and resolve emerging issues at an early stage.
Please see the information pack attached below for full details and person specification.