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Chief Operating Officer


East Midlands, Eastern, London, North East, North West, South East, South West, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Our broad remit means we play a major role in people's day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink. We are also at the heart of the government’s plans to support a green and fair recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.

Job description

The role of Chief Operating Officer is a varied and challenging senior leadership role right at the heart of our ambitious agenda. Working as a key adviser to the Permanent Secretary you will play a leading role in ensuring the Department is able to respond effectively to support that agenda by building organisational capability and driving performance and delivery across a range of professional disciplines.

We are looking for an outstanding individual to work as a key member of the executive team in setting the strategic direction for the Department, and ensuring our people, our delivery and our corporate services are best in class.

You will drive continuous improvement and transformational change that will lead to functional operations being delivered more efficiently and more effectively across the Defra Group. You will have the opportunity to deliver a significant and real step change in the Department’s performance and outcomes.

Teamworking, collaboration and true partnership is at the heart of the Defra culture and we are looking for a strategic leader with the confidence to challenge, influence and work constructively with others to achieve the very best outcomes for the organisation.

Defra is strongly committed to being an organisation in which fairness, respect and equality of opportunity is central to our relationships with employees and to the communities we serve and we expect our senior leaders to role model inclusive leadership and undertake actions to support our inclusive and diverse workforce.


If you are a highly motivated and an inspiring leader who has the experience of delivering major transformational change programmes in large and complex organisations, and you are excited by this role, please view the candidate information pack to find out more.

Apply today!