Head of Freedom of Information Centre

The National Archives

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


Reference number





Grade 7

Contract type


Business area

Information Rights

Type of role

Knowledge and Information Management
Senior leadership

Working pattern

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

Number of posts



Richmond upon Thames, London (region), TW9 4DU

About the job


Domesday Book. Shakespeare’s will. Tweets from Downing Street. War time records. These are just some of the 11 million items held by The National Archives. With a collection like this – the largest in the world – it’s no surprise that we handle over five percent of all Freedom of Information (FOI) requests received by the Government.

The Head of FOI Centre role provides leadership and direction to a team of FOI/information rights experts, delivering clear priorities and expectations, ensuring these are supported.

The main purpose is to manage and monitor FOI operations across TNA, overseeing TNA’s FOI case-handling structures and processes, taking responsibility to ensure these are operated effectively and updated as necessary. This role will be the focal point of contact between TNA and central government FOI and also across all of TNA's business areas ensuring that responses are timely and effectively delivered for all Freedom of Information requests, in line with statutory obligations.

Join us here in beautiful Kew, just 10 minutes’ walk from the Overground and Underground stations, and you can expect an excellent range of benefits. They include a pension, flexible working and discounts with local businesses (e.g. beauty salons and bars). We also offer wellbeing resources (e.g. on-site therapists) and have an on-site gym, restaurant, shop and staff bar (all subject to current Covid restrictions).

Job description

Full job description attached (see below).


About the role:

The Head of the FOI Centre will be responsible both for ensuring we run an efficient and professional customer focussed FOI service, but also recommending and informing senior management about compliance risks and potential mitigations.

This role will therefore need to develop knowledge of FOI within their direct team and organisation. They will monitor and report on the volume of requests we receive and the needs of the customers/stakeholders – including commercial partners. Consequently an important part of this role will be to keep the organisation informed of the demands for this service and our performance in meeting these demands. As necessary you will be required to escalate issues around access and compliance to the Head of Information Rights and Executive Team.

This role will be responsible for at least three direct report (FOI Managers), as well as oversight to a team of around 13 staff, who are responsible for responding to requests for access, some of which may be of highly personal and of sensitive nature (medical information). You will provide leadership, direction, oversight and support to this team, providing advice and guidance on how to manage these requests and workloads.

About you:

Managing a team working to tight deadlines, the role requires you to have good decision making and communication skills, as well as the ability to motivate a team of practitioners, handling potentially heavy, sensitive and complex workloads. We are looking for an individual who is an experienced Manager, capable of leading a team, providing an environment that fosters staff well-being with good prioritisation skills and confidence in your own judgement to meet the demands of this role.

This is a full time post. However, requests for part-time working, flexible working and job share will be considered, taking into account at all times the operational needs of the Department. A combination of onsite and home working is available and applicants should be able to regularly travel to our Kew site.

SC-level Security Clearance or willingness to obtain SC clearance is mandatory for this role and requires that you have lived in the UK for the last 3 years. The length of required residency may depend on individual circumstances.

How to apply:

To submit your application please click the 'Apply now' button on this page. You will be asked to write a personal statement and upload your CV. In your personal statement please explain, using examples, how you meet the essential criteria below. You may draw on knowledge, skills, abilities, experience gained from paid work, domestic responsibilities, education, leisure interests and voluntary activities. Please note selection for interview will largely be based on the information you provide in this section so please make full use of the 1250 word count.

Essential criteria:

• Managerial experience in the field of information rights with an excellent understanding of current legal and professional issues relating to Freedom of Information and the wider information rights arena
• Evidence of strong leadership skills and ability to ensure staff deliver on their objectives and grow in capability. The ability to manage and motivate a team to meet tight statutory deadlines, including peers and senior colleagues for whom there is no direct line management responsibility
• Evidence of ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines and organisational priorities, and to exercise judgement and take difficult decisions in the interests of TNA.
• Excellent understanding of the central government environment and strong political awareness and sensitivity.
• Experience of utilising excellent communication skills, including the ability to convey decisions in a clear and concise way
• Ability to think strategically and analytically to work with the senior team

Desirable criteria:

• Professional qualification in FOI or relevant information rights (i.e. Data Protection)


Generous benefits package, including pension, sports and social club facilities, onsite gym, discounted rates at our on-site cafe and opportunities for training and development.

Any move to The National Archives from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax-Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk;

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 security check.

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

Selection process details

Reasonable adjustments:

If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.
If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:
• Contact The National Archives via careers@nationalarchives.gov.uk as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs
• Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional

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 :  The Recruitment Team
Email :  careers@nationalarchives.gov.uk
Telephone :  02083925313
Recruitment team :
Email :  careers@nationalarchives.gov.uk

Further information

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact The National Archives via email: careers@nationalarchives.gov.uk If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission at http://civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk/civil-service-recruitment/complaints/

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