Chief of Staff, Security Policy and Operations

Contract Type
Flexible Hours, Permanent
Defence & Security
Expiry Date
The Security Policy and Operations (SPO) organisation sits at the heart of the UK Government’s national security machinery, providing military-aware policy advice to the Defence ministers

Job Description

The Security Policy and Operations (SPO) organisation sits at the heart of the UK Government’s national security machinery, providing military-aware policy advice to the Defence ministers and working with colleagues across government to develop effective strategies to keep the UK safe and both defend and promote its interests abroad. It is a high-profile and growing organisation within the MOD, offering an exciting and supportive place to work.

Job description

SPO is uniquely led by three individuals: Director General Security Policy, Director General Strategy & International, and Deputy Chief of Defence Staff for Military Strategy & Operations. The Chief of Staff post provides an essential business management function, providing effective support to the leadership, in particular in relation to the control and coordination of resources.

The Chief of Staff also presides over a range of enabling functions and plays a pivotal role in leading and co-ordinating organisational change and directing and controlling financial and human resources (supported by finance, commercial and human resource business partners). The Chief of Staff also leads a small team focussed on transforming and professionalising the MOD Policy Profession, in support of the current head of profession, Director General Security Policy.
The post provides considerable scope to spot opportunities to deliver organisational improvements and cultural change, including through the Diversity & Inclusion agenda, digital & information and through the delivery of people-focussed services. 

The Chief of Staff role is central to driving forward a programme of SPO workplace reforms for the post-COVID world to ensure, among other things, that remote and flexible working remains at the heart of the future offer to the workforce.


. Lead the team delivering the Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing strategy for SPO, co-ordinating SPO volunteers and ensuring an effective action plan is in place to deliver on SPO’s published Diversity & Inclusion Levels of Ambition.

. Provide senior sponsorship of, and direction for the organisation’s Agile Workforce programme, which is creating a more flexible and more capable SPO workforce.

. Develop and deliver a strategic workforce plan for SPO to create a more stable and more capable workforce, ensuring, among other things, consistency with developing plans for the professionalisation of the MOD Policy Profession.

. Provide a point of focus for financial planning and in-year management activity for the SPO Higher Level Budget, working closely with the SPO Finance Business Partner and SPO budget holders to develop effective resourcing strategies (annual budget c£750M).

. As the Budget Holder for the SPO Headquarters (annual budget c£70M), co-ordinate and direct the deployment of staff resources within SPO HQ, in accordance with priorities set by the SPO Management Board.

. Define and lead a programme of work to improve the productivity and capability of the SPO workforce through better management and use of information, including through better use of digital tools.

. Provide a focus for developing more flexible ways of working in SPO, learning lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, including better use of IT and effective use of limited office accommodation.

. Act as the Deputy Director responsible for policy engagement with the Five Eyes grouping of nations, providing timely and accurate policy advice to Ministers. Provide oversight of Human Security and International Agreements policy areas.

. Provide the secretariat for the SPO Management Board.

. Management of a team of 37 individuals, both Civil Servants and military.

Person Specification

The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate their experience and skills against the following:


. Experience of a business management role in a large and complex organisation.

. Excellent leadership capability and proven ability to motivate and inspire the team.

. An ability to communicate and influence a wide variety of colleagues, across a large organisation and senior stakeholders.

. Ability to build credibility amongst senior individuals across an organisation to co-ordinate and direct the distribution of resources according to priorities.

. Experience of developing policy.

Desirable criteria may be used in the event of a strong field of candidates, as a second sift after the essential criteria has been considered and there is a need to distinguish between candidates.

. Experience of leading a programme of organisational change.

. A good understanding of either HR and/or finance will be an advantage.