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Communications / Marketing

Security Communications Team Leader – 36025
£43,958 - £71,411
Multiple Locations


We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including groups currently underrepresented in our workforce and pride ourselves as being an employer of choice. To find out more about how we champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace, visit:

Department: Northern Ireland Office

Post Vacant: Band A (Grade 7/6) – Security Communications Team Leader

Location: Belfast (Stormont House) or London (1 Horse Guards), with occasional travel to the other location

Duration: Two years with the possibility of a third by mutual agreement

Applications invited from: HCS staff either at Band A or analogous grades on level transfer or at Band B on temporary promotion. Salary range. Salary scale: Inner London £52,845-£71,411 and National £43,958-£63,831)

Closing Date: 14 August 2020


The Northern Ireland Office represents Northern Ireland interests at a UK Government level and UK Government interests in Northern Ireland.  We have a wide range of responsibilities, including: underpinning political stability in Northern Ireland; overseeing the Northern Ireland devolution settlement; leading on national security policy in Northern Ireland; addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past; delivering elections and constitutional reform in Northern Ireland; playing a key role in rebalancing the NI economy; representing NI interests further to the UK’s exit from the EU.  Our small size and diverse portfolio creates a stimulating, fast-paced and challenging working environment, with regular engagement with a range of Ministers and senior officials. We support flexible working and have a modern, flexible IT system which helps enable this.

About the Role

The communications team bears a central role within the Northern Ireland Office, at the forefront of delivering the department’s strategic objectives. We are a small comms operation by Whitehall standards which provides an opportunity for development and working with colleagues at all levels of the department. We are committed to using every opportunity to continuously improve ourselves and our business outcomes. You can expect diverse, interesting and rewarding work that goes to the heart of public service and you can expect to do this in a safe space where individuals and teams are supported to deliver and encouraged to innovate, stretch, challenge and learn.

We are currently looking to recruit a talented, highly motivated communications professional to help establish and lead a new team focused on national security communications.

In this role you will work on one of the UK Government’s highest priorities – national security – and gain a broad range of communications, policy, operational delivery, and briefing skills within a supportive and focused group.

You will use your communications skills on a range of high-profile, complex and challenging national security issues. You will be ready to take on challenges with enthusiasm and commitment and move flexibly between communications and policy roles.

As Head of the Security Communications Team you will be responsible for overseeing the development of an evidence-based, outcomes-focused and appropriately resourced strategic communications effort (proactive and reactive) in support of the UK government’s response to national security threats in Northern Ireland.

You and your team will be responsible for identifying key communications opportunities for ministers and senior officials and you will be responsible for developing strategic partnerships across UKG, devolved partners, security partners and civil society to build support for the delivery of communications activity in line with shared objectives.

You will lead the development of a campaigns based approach to deliver change, and you will keep campaign and reactive communications activity under review, evaluating its effectiveness and ensuring content is accurate and is fully aligned with government objectives. You will apply programme and project management principles to the work of your team, maintaining a risks & issues log and mitigating against any adverse reaction to campaign activity.

You will maintain and forge productive relationships with a large number of critical delivery partners and take a strategic and informed approach to stakeholder management working with PSNI, MI5, Cabinet Office and the Department for Justice in Northern Ireland. You will also work closely with colleagues across the NIO, sharing knowledge on the security situation, briefing at pace and contributing to our wider corporate and Departmental priorities.

You will be responsible for managing a small team of 2 people, so a proven track record in line management must be evidenced, including how you empower the team to lead their own work – as well as keeping their learning and development needs under constant review.

In this role, you may have team members based at another NIO location. Managing and providing leadership at a distance is an important element of the job. You will also take on a key role in supporting your Team Leader peers in providing leadership across the group and championing the NIO and SPG’s cultural values and ethos.

This is a rare opportunity spearhead the establishment of and then lead a communications team that punches above its weight and to stamp your authority and ideas on a challenging brief at the outset. You will be a confident, committed, and experienced communications professional adept at using innovative and creative techniques to reach audiences.

You will be articulate, discreet and thoughtful in your approach, quick to pick up new subjects and proactive in all your dealings. You will have a strong political antenna and inspire confidence when briefing verbally and in writing. You will be accustomed to building productive relationships in difficult contexts and being agile and able to anticipate and respond quickly to new challenges and unexpected developments. You will have an eye on the strategic environment and lead from the front, role modelling positive and collegiate behaviours. You will be focused on delivering clear outcomes. You will want to work in a group with a strong focus on learning and development.      

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Advise Ministers, Special Advisors and Senior Officials on all aspects of security-related communications, including on controversial and challenging issues, basing that advice on robust evidence and insight.
  • Lead the development and delivery of a communications strategy, working closely with policy and communications colleagues from across the NIO and in partnership with other Government Departments and partner organisations.
  • Lead the development and delivery of an effective approach to post-incident and crisis communications.
  • Demonstrate excellent leadership and line management through developing the capability of a new team, contributing to the development of security related communications capability across the NIO, and effectively managing workflow and prioritisation to respond to competing demands.
  • Drive the use of insight and evaluation across all of the team’s work and drive continuous improvement in the quality of our communications.
  • Build strong working relationships within the NIO, across Government and with relevant external partners in order to drive a coordinated approach to efficient and high-quality communications in support of strategic objectives.
  • As a member of the NIO Communications Management Team, play a key leadership role across the group, proactively modelling the group’s values, and providing resilience on policy and operational delivery.
  • Management of 2 x Band B Communications Officers

Essential Criteria

  • 2 years of experience working on communications, with experience of both press office/public relations work and campaigns.
  • Experience of working on communications in a national security or law enforcement context within the Whitehall or Northern Ireland security structures.
  • Proven experience of leading a team to deliver results
  • Existing DV (Developed Vetting) clearance or the willingness to acquire it.
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills

Desirable Criteria

  • Experience of briefing Ministers or senior officials both orally and in writing.
  • A good understanding of the political and security environment in Northern Ireland
  • Experience of working in a multi-agency environment

[For the essential and desirable criteria please upload a suitability statement of no more than 250 words setting out how you meet the essential/desirable criteria]


We will assess you against the following Success Profiles behaviours at Level 4 during the selection process:

  • Leadership
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Working Together
  • Seeing the big picture

More information on behaviours and success profiles can be found here.

Technical Experience

We will also use Success Profiles to assess your core communications technical skills and experience, as well as your additional skills on campaigns and marketing, and press and media, as set out at level 4 in the Government Communication Service competencies:

  • Insight
  • Ideas
  • Implementation
  • Impact

The interview will be of a blended nature consisting of behaviours, experience and strength-based questions. The strength-based questions will require natural responses from candidates.

Please note that in the event of a large number of applications being received we may run the initial sift on the lead Behaviour “Leadership”.

Further Information

Further information about the post may be obtained from or telephone number 028 90 765198.

Additional information received after the closing date will not be considered. Failure to provide sufficient information in support of an application prior to the closing date will not be considered as grounds for an appeal if an applicant is not short listed for interview.

HCS applicants who, because of disability, need assistance in completing the application form should contact MoJ Shared Services on 0845 010 3512.

All applications for employment are considered strictly on the basis of merit.

This job description should not be taken as constituting conditions of employment.

Please note that due to the high interest in NIO secondments, feedback cannot be given if you are unsuccessful at sift stage. Feedback is available on request if unsuccessful following interview.

Additional Information

Working Arrangements & Further Information

Some of MoJ’s terms and conditions of service are changing as part of Civil Service reform. The changes will apply to staff joining MoJ who are new to the Civil Service. Staff joining MoJ from other civil service employers will transfer onto the new MoJ terms if they are already on ‘modernised’ terms in their current post or onto ‘unmodernised’ MoJ terms if they are on ‘unmodernised’ terms at their current post. Details will be available if an offer is made.

Flexible working hours

The Ministry of Justice offers a flexible working system in many offices.


The MoJ offers a range of benefits:

Annual Leave

Annual leave is 25 days on appointment and will increase to 30 days after five years’ service.

There is also a scheme to allow qualifying staff to buy or sell up to three days leave each year. Additional paid time off for public holidays and 1 privilege day. Leave for part-time and job share posts will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.


The Civil Service offers a choice of pension schemes, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best.


The Ministry of Justice is committed to staff development and offers an extensive range of training and development opportunities.


  • A range of ‘Family Friendly’ policies such as opportunities to work reduced hours or job share.
  • Access to flexible benefits such as voluntary benefits,retail vouchers and discounts on a range of goods and services.
  • For any moves across the Civil Service may have implications on your ability to carry on claiming childcare vouchers
  • Paid paternity, adoption and maternity leave.
  • Free annual sight tests for employees who use computer screens.


The opportunity to join employee-run networks that have been established to provide advice and support and to enable the views of employees from minority groups to be expressed direct to senior management. There are currently networks for employees of minority ethnic origin, employees with disabilities, employees with caring responsibilities, women employees, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

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. Should you feel that the recruitment process has breached the recruitment principles you are able to raise a formal complaint in the following order

1-     To Shared Service Connected Ltd (0845 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm) or e mail;

2-     To Ministry of Justice Resourcing (;

3-     To the Civil Service Commission (details available here)

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity.

There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Grading Structure Review

The Ministry of Justice is currently undergoing a review of posts which are currently graded at Band A to realign our grading structure with the majority of the wider Civil Service.

Posts advertised at Band A may be graded at either Grade 6 or Grade 7 once the review has taken place.