Private Secretary to the Chair and Chief Executive

National Infrastructure Commission

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


Reference number



£31,000 - £47,000
Existing Civil Servants will be appointed in line with Civil Service pay rules.


Higher Executive Officer
Range D

Contract type


Type of role

Administration / Corporate Support

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time

Number of posts



The post will be based in London (Finlaison House, 15-17 Furnival Street, EC4A 1AB). Once Covid-19 restrictions ease, NIC employees will be working a hybrid pattern, spending a minimum of 2 days a week (pro rata) in an office, on average.

About the job


About NIC
The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) is looking for a Private Secretary to the Chair and CEO to provide first class support to the Chair of the Commission (Sir John Armitt) and its Chief Executive Officer (James Heath). The post holder will need to develop a strong understanding of the issues within their brief; build excellent relationships with the Commission’s policy and analysis teams, and with other private offices and stakeholders to drive the Chair and CEOs’ strategic priorities.

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.

This role offers a fantastic opportunity to work with senior leaders across the organisation to provide drive, challenge, support and guidance. This will include diary management for the Chair and CEO, supporting the Commission’s stakeholder engagement, managing the Commission’s external correspondence, and supporting administration of the Commission’s boards.

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
- 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 (such as reducing flood risks, improving transport and the transition to low carbon energy) and making recommendations to government, and monitoring the Government’s progress in delivering infrastructure policy and programmes recommended by the NIC and influencing the policy debate.

Our broad remit means working on interesting and important subjects, and with different types of people. We are genuinely committed to giving people the skills and knowledge to do an excellent job and progress their careers.

Job description

We are looking for a Private Secretary to the Chair and CEO 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:

• Commission briefings to ensure the Chair and CEO are prepared for their externally facing meetings.
• Proactively manage the Chair and CEOs’ diaries.
• Proactively manage the Chair and CEOs’ inboxes to ensure correspondence is dealt with in a timely manner.
• Process, prioritise, circulate and respond as appropriate to incoming correspondence, including researching and drafting replies as required.
• Act as a conduit between the Chair and CEO and the Commission’s staff.
• Support the Head of Private Office in providing secretariat duties to the Commission’s corporate boards (the monthly Commission meeting, the Oversight Board and the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee).
• Work with the Monitoring and Influencing Manager to manage the Chair and CEOs’ time effectively to support the Commission’s monitoring and influencing agenda.
• Provide corporate support to the wider Operations Team as required.

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 Jon Chappell, Head of Private Office, at


Required Qualifications, Behaviours, Experience and Technical Skills:

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


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 you 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.


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

• A professional who is personally credible and a skilled influencer with experience of effective engagement with senior management and staff across an organisation, and with external stakeholders.
• Sound judgement and decision making, discretion and the ability to work on your own initiative, anticipating next steps and forward planning to respond, including proactive management of diaries at a senior level.
• Proficiency in the suite of Microsoft 365 packages including Outlook, Powerpoint and Excel.
• Experience of effective engagement with senior leaders across an organisation.

The lead criteria is: Experience

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 criteria.

Recruitment Timeline
Closing Date: 23rd January
Sifting: w/c 24th January
Interviews: w/c 31st January


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

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

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 in 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 a minimum of 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.

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.
At application stage candidates will be asked to provide evidence of experience and of the following behaviours: Working Together and Delivering at Pace.

At the interview stage, applicants will be asked questions about what you have previously achieved or your knowledge in a particular field. The questions will relate to the areas of work outlined in the ‘responsibilities’ section above. You will also be assessed against the following criteria: Experience, Seeing the Big Picture, Making Effective Decisions, Working Together and Delivering at Pace.

Interviewees will be asked to carry out a written exercise and 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 HM Treasury 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. If you cannot provide in the first instance, the above documentation required for employment checks, at interview, please contact, If you are offered the role, we will require all documentation, as this is part of the security vetting process. If you do not provide this at interview stage, this may slow down the process and delay your start date.

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

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 :  Jonathan Chappell
Email :
Recruitment team :
Email :

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: 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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