Head of Data Security - CDDO

Government Digital Service

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 4th September 2022



Reference number



£60,500 - £71,000


Grade 6

Contract type


Business area


Type of role

Architecture and Data

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time, Compressed Hours

Number of posts



Bristol, South West England, BS2 0ES : Manchester, North West England, M1 2WD


A part of the Cabinet Office, the Central Digital and Data Office leads the digital, data and technology (DDaT) function for government. We put the right conditions in place to achieve digital, data and technology transformation at scale by working with departments, and other government functions like commercial, project delivery and security professionals.

We are responsible for:

• Digital, Data and Technology Strategy and Standards, like the Technology Code of Practice, the Service Standard and Open Standards
• Cross-government DDaT performance and assurance, including Spend Controls
• DDaT Capability Development, including the DDaT pay framework

Transforming government’s use of data to drive efficiency and improve public services sits at the heart of CDDO’s mission. The Data Strategy and Standards directorate is responsible for delivering Mission 3 of the National Data Strategy and other data-related plans and strategies. We set the policies, standards and best practice across government departments on a range of areas including i) Quality, availability and access ii) Standards and assurance iii) Capability, leadership and culture iv) Accountability and productivity v) Ethics and public trust. We do this in close collaboration with all government departments as well as external organisations and international bodies.

You will be part of CDDO and the Data Strategy and Standards (DS&S) Directorate at an exciting time as we build a new data governance and policy function and establish a Data Architecture Design Authority to sit alongside the established Data Standards Authority.

Our team has some big ambitions. We want to improve services for end users and improve how new policies are developed through the effective use and reuse of data. A key part of that will be to establish a Data Architecture that is appropriate for system-wide and cross-government adoption, underpinned by agreed principles, policies and standards. Within this function we recognise the need to develop pan government approaches to common data protection and security challenges. We need great people to make that happen. 

This will involve solving complex or/and complicated problems to deliver on the commitments in the National Data Strategy and DS&S’s forward plan. You’ll be working with colleagues from other government departments, as well as external partners, and challenging others to be ambitious in transforming the way data is used and shared across government to help deliver joined-up, trusted, public services that meet the needs of their users. 

You will be expected to work flexibly and collaboratively on a range of projects where your expertise and skills are needed and will support a culture of agile working across your team. You will work closely with the leads in other teams (notably data architecture) to establish task and finish squads to support new standards development.

Job description

As the Head of Data Security you’ll:

  • act as a senior advisor on best practice cross government data security development, in relation to our data enterprise architecture, able to deploy multiple levers to ensure the best outcomes. 
  • apply your creativity to how our standards and frameworks are presented so that our reform remit and our ambitious, but achievable, goals are easily understood so that we sustain support for our plans. Excellent verbal and written communications skills are critical to performing this role effectively
  • develop a clear government roadmap and plan for consistent data security  principles and frameworks (inc on risk and compliance)
  • develop a strong market intelligence and horizon scanning function 
  • represent the programme with internal and external senior digital leaders and policy advisors.
  • be part of the DS&S senior team, who you will partner with to lead the delivery of the long term vision and near term strategy for the programme so that it reflects strategic requirements of the whole of government, fits with wider public sector domains, and keeps pace with technology innovation
  • ensure stakeholders across government are both informed about and consulted on priorities, progress and plans, and understand the strategic importance of making effective use of data security standards to meet their business goals.


We’re interested in people who have:

  • experience leading work on data security strategy and frameworks development, with demonstrable experience in the effective application of data security by design in a way that fosters innovative use of data
  • excellent communication and writing skills
  • strong interpersonal skills, including relationship building, listening and influencing, with an ability to build effective relationships with senior management and operate successfully in a political or complex environment
  • ability to negotiate and reach mutually beneficial compromises, remaining calm when under pressure from senior stakeholders
  • demonstrable awareness of the whole of government’s digital and data strategy context
  • ability to balance changing priorities, deal with ambiguity, using astute judgement to make decisions in the absence of full facts
  • a robust understanding and care about the value of data and technology to transform lives, and be committed to working with colleagues in all digital disciplines, as well as those in more traditional government roles.
  • an understanding of agile delivery and development best practices
  • strong experience of team leadership, recruitment, line management and coaching staff.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Working Together
  • Making Effective Decisions
• 25 days annual leave + an extra day off for the Queen's birthday - increasing to 30 days after 5 years of service
• an environment with flexible working options including hybrid working
• Civil service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%
• learning and development tailored to your role
• a culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• interest free season ticket, tenancy deposits and holiday advances
• bike loans
• eye care vouchers


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is security check.

See our vetting charter.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours.

The selection process as a standard for all of our roles consists of:

  • An application screening process - Simply, click apply.  We only ask for a Cover Letter (max. 1000 words) and a CV. Important tip - please ensure that your cover letter includes how you meet the skills and experience listed in the “Who you’ll be” section (see GDS careers page through the link to apply).
  • There will be a scenario to test your data security skills as part of the process.
  • An interview - scheduled for mid-September; subject to change. We will asses you against the behaviours listed in the ‘How you'll be assessed’ section.

Depending on the volume of applications we may also include an additional stage, which you will be invited to should you pass the application screening stage.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, colour, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status.

CDDO offers hybrid working for all employees. This means that everyone does some working from home/remote working and also spends some time in their local office. You will agree to your hybrid working arrangement with your line manager in line with your preferences and business needs.

If we receive a high number of applications, we may decide to include an additional round (this would typically be a short telephone interview or assessment/exercise depending on the type of role).

A reserve list will be held for a period of 12 months, from which further appointments can be made.

Candidates that do not pass the interview, however, have demonstrated an acceptable standard will be considered for similar roles at a lower grade.

The level of clearance required for this role is BPSS. Further details are outlined in Security vetting for GDS employees.

The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. For further information see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/prison-leavers-project-improving-outcomes-for-prison-leavers

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals
Further information on nationality requirements

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.
This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans initiative.
The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment.
Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :

  • Name : GDS Recruitment Team
  • Email : gds-recruitment@digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk

Recruitment team :

  • Email : gds-recruitment@digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk

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