Director, Freeports

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 4th July 2021


Reference number





SCS Pay Band 2

Contract type


Business area


Type of role

Senior leadership

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time

Number of posts



Darlington, London, Wolverhampton

About the job


In this role, we are looking for someone who can work with the successful freeport bidders to help them realise their plans and
contribute to the Government's vision for levelling up. To make a success of this role, you will have a strong track record of commercial delivery and a focus on results, alongside an inclusive and collaborative leadership style that enables you to work in partnership across Government and with external partners. In return, MHCLG offers you a chance to build your career on a major programme at a critical time as we aim to build back better from the pandemic.

Job description

The successful Director will be responsible for establishing a roadmap to operational freeports this year, and well into their delivery phase. Alongside supporting each freeport build its own vision, this role and person will be a steward for ensuring the value proposition of freeports and the use of public money to support them. The Director will support freeports in their investment readiness, understand the value of real estate, and be able to help identify risks and opportunities around land and waterways. You will be both an advocate and critical friend for freeports, and you will support and challenge them to make them a success for the Government.

To realise our ambitious timelines, the successful candidate will grow an existing team and lead delivery across Government and with key partners. This is an exciting role in MHCLG and across the Civil Service. For more information on the programme, see the consultation which shaped our approach as set out in the prospectus, and the selection process which outlines how freeports were selected. Going forwards freeports are now developing their business cases.

A real strength of the Department is that we bring together policy thinking, delivery expertise and a deep understanding of places to design an approach that is tailored to the differing needs in different parts of the country and is based on sound evidence and an understanding of what works. The Freeports Director role is key to harnessing this strength and pushing to establish more delivery expertise and commercial nous within the Department, as we face unprecedented and complex challenges to improve the economy across the country.


Your responsibilities will include but not be confined to:

Engage across government on complex issues, have difficult conversations as appropriate, use sound political judgement and provide support and advice to Ministers and senior officials.

Draw on an existing network in the commercial and / or project delivery sector (international trade, infrastructure and/ or port sector preferable), and credibly engage with a vast number of external stakeholders including the ports sector, landowners and local authorities.

Develop and use knowledge of opportunities and challenges facing the international trade, infrastructure and / or port sector to inform and influence delivery across a broad range of economic policy levers held within the UK Government.

Oversee the implementation of a robust programme and risk management plan on all aspects of delivery, taking responsibility for effective and efficient responses to emerging issues. Working up close with the freeports, developing strong relationships with them into and during the delivery phase.

Lead, grow and support an existing team including a consortium of consultants with a mix of valuations, strategy and commercial nous, setting the team up for success and working closely with related local growth funding teams.

Bring senior commercial and project delivery experience to the leadership team of MHCLG.

As one of the Department’s senior leaders, you will also be a visible role model for the Civil Service leadership behaviours. These can be found in the Civil Service Leadership Statement which is available at: may change to reflect business need.

The Person

This is a high profile and important role which requires an ability to think strategically and operationally, to identify and manage risk and delivery, and lead a programme of the utmost sensitivity. The successful person will be passionate about the economic opportunities in regeneration and investment that this role can realise. The person will also see the public duty in boosting our economy, levelling up our country and creating hotbeds for innovation.

You will have industry-leading commercial and / or project delivery expertise, founded in a track record of delivering major programmes on budget and within tight timescales. You will thrive on solving complex challenges and challenging existing ways of working.

You will be able to use your judgment, drawing in outside expertise and assurance as needed to advise Ministers and ensure delivery. You will be an effective communicator and will be credible at senior levels, including with Ministers, senior central government officials, local councils, and other stakeholders. You will be able to handle and balance a wide range of relationships, internally and externally.

You will be an experienced and inspirational leader, able to empower, develop and inspire teams to deliver, even under pressure. You will also be passionate about sharing your expertise across the organisation to drive delivery excellence, as well as demonstrating a commitment to MHCLG’s values and principles and the Civil Service code principles of objectivity, integrity, impartiality and honesty.

We actively encourage applications both from those within the Civil Service, and outside, as well and from BAME and disabled candidates.

Essential Criteria

Strong project delivery experience at a senior level in a similar complex operating environment.

Able to adapt to changing circumstances and adverse situations while remaining calm, reassuring others and maintaining performance.

Uses sound judgement, evidence and knowledge to arrive at accurate and professional advice.

Strong commercial skills, in a Government or private sector environment.

Confident communication at a senior level including presenting complex and technical issues simply.

Able to establish and develop productive relationships with internal and external stakeholders at senior levels, bringing people together to deliver mutually beneficial outcomes.

Desirable Criteria:

Experience of working in the ports or infrastructure sector.

Experience of working in trade promotion or a major trading business.


• Learning and development tailored to your role
• An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension

Things you need to know


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 counter-terrorist check.

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

Selection process details

We are for everyone
At MHCLG we value diversity and inclusion and actively encourage and welcome applications from everyone, including those that are underrepresented in our workforce. We promote equality of opportunity in all aspects of employment and a working environment free from discrimination, harassment, bullying and victimisation.

MHCLG want to bring in and bring on a diverse workforce at all levels.

How to apply
Please click the Be Applied link to provide the required information and complete your application through the Be Applied website by 23:55 on Sunday 04 July 2021.No further information is required through CS Jobs as all the final steps to complete your application are completed through the separate Be Applied website – details of which are on the CS Jobs site.You will be asked to re-enter some personal details, upload your CV and to provide your responses to the advertised essential criteria. When prompted to upload your CV please upload a single document consisting of:

a CV (including the names of 2 referees and current remuneration details);

a statement of suitability describing how you meet the criteria and skills required for the role (max 2 pages).

Please save these two items in in one document.

Please note that only completed applications through Be Applied will be considered and that any further progress updates will be sent through Be Applied. For an informal discussion about the role, please contact the Recruitment team by e-mailing or calling 0303 444 8111 in office hours.


Sifting is envisaged to take place from w/c 19 July with assessments provisionally scheduled through August and interviews w/c 6 September. At this point, interviews are expected to take place virtually.

Selection Panel

The selection panel will be made up of:

Natalie Campbell, Civil Service Commissioner.

Emran Mian, Director General, Stronger Places and hiring manager.

Matt Thurstan, Chief Financial Officer.

Another panel member, to be confirmed.

Additionally, the panel will be joined by one of our staff representatives from a pool of volunteers as part of our commitments to diversity and inclusion.

CTC (Counter-terrorism Clearance):

Important note

Successful candidates for roles based in our 2 Marsham Street building must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is counter-terrorist check and the process can take up to 8 weeks to complete. Please note that successful candidates will need to pass the CTC security checks – this requires you to have been resident in the UK for the past 3 years. Please refer to the MHCLG Notes on Security Clearance section of our Candidate Pack for further information on Counter Terrorism Clearance (CTC).

Candidates should also note that with effect from 1st August 2018 the department will also check all applicants who are successful at interview, against the Internal Fraud Database (IFD) held by the Cabinet Office. In accordance with the Civil Service Internal Fraud Policy, any applicant who is included on the IFD will be refused employment by MHCLG. Please see the Candidate Pack for further information on the Internal Fraud Database.


Please note that existing MHCLG staff currently within their probation period would still need to complete their probation should they be successful for the role.


This is a permanent appointment. This role is full-time and MHCLG encourages flexible working and is willing to discuss alternate working patterns with potential candidates

Terms of benefits

Defined benefit pension scheme (a career average basis for new recruits).

Occupational Health Services.

Access to health and wellbeing support.

Childcare support vouchers.

Leave provisions including carers’ leave, paid and additional unpaid maternity leave, paid paternity leave and paid adoption leave, volunteering leave.

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 (or eligible for) status under 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 :  SCS Recruitment
Email :
Recruitment team :
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