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Deputy Director, SME Business Finance

Contract Type
Flexible Hours, Part-Time, Permanent
Project Management, Public Sector
Expiry Date
You will lead a complex policy agenda with the goal of making BEIS a great place to start and scale a business. We are looking for that exceptional leader who thrives in this environment and will find this a challenging and rewarding career.

Job Description

Thank you for your interest in this fascinating and stretching role leading on one of the government’s top priorities: helping businesses access the finance they need to start and achieve scale in the UK. Now is a brilliant time to take up this post – you will work with the British Business Bank (BBB), HM Treasury and UK Government Investments to implement the Spending Review Settlement, evolve the BBB to align with the refreshed Industrial Strategy, and oversee management of the £70bn Covid loan portfolio. It is a challenging and rewarding post, well-suited to someone who thrives when leading a complex policy agenda and working in partnership across disciplines and organisations.

If you are excited about this opportunity, I look forward to hearing from you.

Job description

Business Growth Directorate

Business Growth Directorate, part of the Industrial Strategy, Science and Innovation Group, leads for BEIS on making the UK a great place to start and scale a business. We do this by:

• Helping SMEs across the UK access the finance and investment they need to start, grow and get paid on time (which includes policy sponsorship of the British Business Bank and the Covid-19 debt schemes).

• Helping SMEs across England access the information and advice they need to start, innovate and grow in a more productive way.

• Using our insights to shape wider domestic and international policy and the frameworks SMEs operate within to create an environment in which they can start and thrive, including through new FTAs.

• Identifying, engaging with and supporting innovative businesses and researchers that create and deploy the technologies that will drive future growth and productivity; and in doing so make the UK a world-leader on AI and other general-purpose technologies, whilst protecting UK security interests.

• Making sure SMEs have access to government, are communicated with effectively and are recognised and celebrated.

• Ensuring everything we do is informed by analysis and insights, great evaluation and partnership with business.

We promote diversity and inclusion in what we do and the way we work across BEIS, the rest of government and with stakeholders. We are efficient and we deliver results that achieve good value for money, and proactively work with experts. We are kind to each other and support all staff to develop their skills.

Role description

The Business Finance Division of around 16 people is currently jointly led by two Deputy Directors, recognising the scaling of the portfolio during the Covid-19 crisis. We will be reverting to a single DD in the New Year and are looking for that exceptional leader.

The division leads the department’s policy thinking on access to finance for SMEs to start and scale, whether that be debt or equity. It manages the relationship with the British Business Bank (BBB) and works very closely with UK Government Investments, and HM Treasury. As a result of the Covid-19 crisis, the value of finance backed by the BBB has risen from around £7bn, to more than £70bn, supporting well over a million SMEs. Over the next few years, the BBB will play a vital role in delivering on the Industrial Strategy, managing the substantial Covid loan book and levelling up growth across the UK.


• Leading for BEIS on SME finance policy, collaborating with analytical and finance colleagues, the BBB and HMT, external stakeholders and experts to develop deep expertise and a long-term strategic view of challenges and opportunities and the role Government could play in addressing them. This will include delivering on the SME finance programme agreed via the Spending Review and refreshed Industrial Strategy.

• Sponsorship of the BBB, working closely with UKGI, our shareholder representative on the BBB Board, to ensure that policy direction is clearly articulated, that these are translated through delivery and that operational and financial risk is well managed. You will implement the conclusions of a review of the BBB and ensure its mission and objectives are aligned with this Government’s long-term priorities and it has the right governance and financial framework.

• Policy leadership and oversight of the four Covid-19 loan schemes (Bounce Back Loans, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans, and the Future Fund) and any short-term emergency schemes that follow them.

• Ensuring robust monitoring and assurance is in place to manage performance, fraud and credit risk, and working closely with BEIS counter-fraud, Cabinet Office fraud leads and criminal investigation agencies. Implementing recommendations that follow from an NAO report on Bounce Back Loans.

• Working with the BBB and HMT on the short and long-term approach to managing the Covid loan portfolio, taking account of economic and fiscal objectives and drawing on all available data.

• Managing substantial public and parliamentary interest in this agenda, particularly in the Covid interventions.

• Providing top quality, well-evidenced advice to ministers and the Accounting Officer on finance interventions, working together with BEIS finance, legal and analysis.

• Maintaining excellent, honest and trusting relationships at senior executive level with the BBB, UKGI and HMT, providing support, challenge and insight.

Experience, Behaviours and Skills Required

• Outstanding leadership skills with the ability to build and develop a high performing, engaged and inclusive team;

• An excellent collaborator, able to build and maintain trusting, honest relationships across organisational boundaries and at executive level;

• Ability to grasp and lead a complex policy agenda, working in close partnership with experts, showing thought leadership and providing ministers with clear and well-evidenced advice;

• Knowledge of, or the aptitude and confidence to grasp, business finance issues, experience of advising ministers and Accounting Officers on significant spend, and of working in close conjunction with analysts.

We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and professions and have no fixed view of the candidate we are looking for.