Head of Private Office

National Infrastructure Commission

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 23rd January 2022


Reference number



£50,000 - £64,498


Grade 7
Range E

Contract type


Type of role

Administration / Corporate Support

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time

Number of posts



London, London (region), EC4A 1AB

About the job


The National Infrastructure Commission is looking for a Head of Private Office to drive forward good governance, support its boards and manage its private office team that supports the Commission Chair (Sir John Armitt), Chief Executive (James Heath) and the Senior Management Team. If you are a dynamic governance and private office professional then this is an excellent opportunity to expand your skills and breadth of experience, and drive strategic and operational change as a key leader within the NIC’s Operations Team. The role reports to the NIC’s Chief Operating Officer (Mark Ardron).

Why choose this role?

This is an exciting time to join the NIC as we embark on the second National Infrastructure Assessment. It is also an exciting time to join the NIC’s Operations Team. We are reviewing how we work to maximise the quality and efficiency of the service we provide. The Operations Team provides the full suite of corporate and governance services to the NIC, including corporate governance and transparency, HR, finance, operations, IT, estates and facilities.

This role offers exposure to Commissioners and to the Senior Management Team and is a fantastic opportunity to work with teams across the organisation to provide strategic drive, challenge, support and guidance across a wide-ranging governance and operations role. This will include supporting corporate governance policies and processes, performance reporting and risk, organisational development, and leading engagement with our Commissioners and Non-Executive Directors.

About NIC

By joining us, you’ll play a key role in delivering independent advice to government on the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs. We do this to help support sustainable economic growth across the whole of the UK, improve competitiveness, support the delivery of climate change resilience and the net zero target, and ultimately improve the quality of life of UK citizens.

In fulfilling our purpose and objectives, we:

- Set a long term agenda – identifying the UK’s major economic infrastructure needs, and the pathways to address them,
- Develop fresh approaches and ideas – basing our independent policy recommendations on rigorous analysis, and
- Focus on driving change – building consensus on our policy recommendations, and monitoring government progress on their delivery.

Our core responsibilities include:

• producing a National Infrastructure Assessment once every five years
• carrying out in-depth studies into the UK’s most pressing infrastructure challenges and making recommendations to government, and monitoring the Government’s progress in delivering infrastructure policy and programmes

Job description

We are looking for a Head of Private Office comfortable working in a dynamic operating environment and able to support the organisation through periods of change. The successful candidate will develop positive working relationships, and be comfortable engaging with a range of stakeholders at all levels.

The successful candidate will be expected to:

• Lead corporate governance policies and processes, championing and enforcing them to officeholders and officials across the organisation.
• Act as Secretariat for Commission meetings and for other boards and committees, ensuring they are administered efficiently and effectively.
• Review and redesign where appropriate key governance processes to ensure we maximise efficiency and offer a quality service to the business, for example managing conflicts of interest.
• Lead corporate reporting for the NIC, including the annual report and corporate plan.
• Support the Chief Operating Officer and the Senior Management Team to embed improved organisational structures and culture.
• Act as the Data Protection Officer and lead knowledge and information policies and processes.
• Represent the NIC to HM Treasury and other external stakeholders on corporate matters.
• Identify, lead and deliver on areas for improvement in the Operation Team’s current service provision to meet what is required to support the business effectively.
• Support the wider delivery of projects across the Operations Team, for example areas such as strategy development and implementation and KPI production.
• Line manage an HEO and an EO.

The successful candidate will also be able to share experience of different approaches that can deliver improvements and challenge the status quo, including experience of reviewing existing processes and procedures and identifying and embedding effective change initiatives. Candidates should be able to demonstrate the ability to prioritise and adapt workloads and delivery to emerging or developing prioritisation.

Full details of the role are available in the download document of the Role Profile when candidates apply.

If you would like further information, please get in touch with Mark Ardron, Chief Operating Officer at Mark.Ardron@nic.gov.uk.


Required Qualifications, Behaviours, Experience and Technical Skills:

The lead criteria is: Experience.

You will be asked to complete a 250 word statement of suitability setting out how you meet the following criteria:

- Experienced private office and governance professional with skills across a variety of different areas
- A professional who is personally credible and a skilled influencer with experience of effective engagement with senior staff across the organisation.
- Sound judgement and decision making, discretion and the ability to work on your own initiative, anticipating next steps and forward planning to respond

If we receive a large number of applications, applications will be assessed against this criteria alone first. They will then be assessed against the other criteria if they have met the minimum score on the lead


1. Delivering at pace: You ensure everyone understands what you need from them, providing honest, motivating messages about priorities, objectives and expectations. You maintain your performance in challenging circumstances and support others to do the same.

2. Working together: You ensure that yourself and your team develop professional working relationships with staff within the Commission and external stakeholders. You actively build and maintain a network of colleagues and contacts to achieve progress on shared objectives.

Required Qualifications:
1. No qualifications are required for the role but there will be the opportunity to undertake training and/or qualifications as appropriate.


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

  • Delivering at Pace
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Working Together
  • Seeing the Big Picture

We only ask for evidence of these behaviours on your application form:

  • Delivering at Pace
  • Working Together


Location and hybrid working
The role will be based at National Infrastructure Commission, Finlaison House, London, EC4A 1AB. All staff follow government guidance about working from home during the pandemic. Once Covid-19 restrictions ease, NIC employees will be working a hybrid pattern, spending 2 days a week (pro rata) in an office, on average. Our hybrid working style gives us flexibility to manage personal commitments alongside getting the job done well.

Learning and Development
We work hard to create an environment in which people enjoy working, and have a genuine commitment to ongoing learning and development, investing in training and internal events to share knowledge and enhance our skills.

Flexible working arrangements
The NIC views flexible working as essential in enabling us to recruit and retain talented people, ensuring that they can enjoy a long-lasting career with us. All employees have the right to apply for flexible working and there are a range of options available including working from home, compressed hours and job sharing.

We also offer a generous maternity/ paternity and adoption leave package.

At the NIC we have a broad remit, so it’s important our employees come from the widest possible range of backgrounds, bringing us the widest possible range of perspectives and ways of thinking. We are committed to ensuring that all staff can realise their potential and achieve a healthy work-life balance.

•25 days’ annual leave (rising to 30 after 5 years), plus 8 public holidays and the Queen’s birthday (unless you have a legacy arrangement as an existing Civil Servant)
•Flexible working patterns, as above
•Access to a generous Defined Benefit pension scheme with employer contributions. Find out more about Civil Service pensions
•Access to a cycle-to-work salary sacrifice scheme, season ticket advances and payroll giving
•Access to a retail discounts and cashback benefits site
•A range of active staff networks, based around interests (e.g. analysts, music society, sports and social club) and diversity (e.g. women in the Treasury, ethnic minority network, LGBT* network, faith and belief network)

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is counter-terrorist 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 and Experience.
Recruitment timeline:
Closing date: 23rd January 2022
Sift: w/c 24th January 2022
Interviews: w/c 31st January 2022

At application stage you will be asked to demonstrate evidence of your experience and the following behaviours: working together and delivering at pace.

At the interview stage, applicants for this post will be assessed against their experience and the following behaviours: delivering at pace, seeing the big picture, working together and making effective decisions.

Interviewees may also be asked to carry out a written exercise, numerical exercise or deliver a presentation as part of the assessment. Further details will be provided to candidates selected for interview.

As part of our pre-employment security checks, if you are invited to interview and are not a current NIC member of staff, you will need to bring:

• Proof of identity, e.g. your passport or driver’s license. Documents must be in date and valid.
• Proof of address, e.g. a utility bill or bank statement issued within the past 3 months.
• Proof of your National Insurance (NI) number, e.g. letter from DWP confirming your NI number, or P60.
• If you do not bring a UK or EU passport, you will need to bring other documentation of your right to work in the UK, e.g. your visa, biometric residence permit or birth certificate.

Further details regarding acceptable documents will be provided in the invitation to interview.

Please let us know if your contact details change at any time during the selection process.

Eligibility Statement:

Individuals appointed to the Treasury Group will be subject to National Security Vetting.
To allow for meaningful checks to be carried out applicants will normally need to have lived in the UK for at least 3 out of the past 5 years.
A lack of UK residency in itself is not always a bar to security clearance but the Department will need to consider eligibility on a case by case basis using all information that can be obtained following a successful application.

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.

Apply and further information

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 :  Mark Ardron
Email :  Mark.Ardron@nic.gov.uk
Recruitment team :
Email :  hrrecruitment@hmtreasury.gov.uk

Further information

Complaints Process: Our recruitment process is underpinned by the principle of appointment based on fair and open competition and appointment on merit, as outlined in the Civil Service Commissioners’ Recruitment Principles. If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with these principles and you wish to make a complaint, you should in the first instance contact NIC by email at: hrrecruitment@hmtreasury.gov.uk. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you can contact the Civil Service Commission, which regulates all Civil Service recruitment.

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