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Deputy Director for UK Governance, Constitution Group

The UK Governance and Devolution (UKGD) division within Constitution Group takes a strategic policy view of governance structures across the UK and the UK Government’s relationship with the devolved administrations. Delivering excellent intergovernmental relations at all levels is the heart of the role: preservation of the Union and successful maintenance of the devolution settlements across the Nations go to the heart of how the UK is governed.

This is a stretching deputy director role, with leadership of extensive and regular ministerial engagement on a broad range of issues. You will also need to build, manage and develop a wide stakeholder network right across Whitehall, with the Devolved Administrations and beyond the civil service.


Job description

The main areas of responsibility for this role include:

Intergovernmental Relations - leading on the strategy and policy of the UK Government’s relations with the Devolved Administrations. This includes supporting Ministers to negotiate the principles and structures that will underpin relations with the Devolved Administrations, working closely with colleagues in Whitehall and the Devolved Administrations, as well as leading a range of public and parliamentary engagement. Most notably, you will be in charge of successful delivery of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC), chaired by the Prime Minister, and its various sub-committees at ministerial and official level.

Intergovernmental Relations Review. A formal review of Intergovernmental Relations was commissioned last year. You will need to work closely with the Devolved Administrations (and colleagues across Whitehall) to develop proposals for Ministers bring this to a successful conclusion. The reforms will need to establish IGR processes, structures and mechanisms that facilitate effective IGR between the governments of the the UK once the UK leaves the EU.

Intergovernmental Relations - EU Exit - working closely with the Territorial Offices, devolved administrations and DEXEU you will work on arrangements to engage the Devolved Nations in the next phase of Brexit work as we consider future relationships with the EU and the rest of the world.

Crown Dependencies, Overseas Territories and Gibraltar - working with the Ministry of Justice and Foreign Office to ensure the UK Government maintains successful oversight of the Crown Dependencies, Overseas Territories and Gibraltar, particularly in light of EU Exit. You will also be responsible for the UK Government element of the British-Irish Council (BIC). This involves working with policy leads across Whitehall to ensure continued engagement in BIC topical work sectors and coordinating all UK Government involvement at biannual Heads of Administration Summits.

Dunlop Review – Lord Dunlop’s recent report into Union capability within Whitehall was commissioned earlier this year. You will play a key role in advising ministers on the recommendations and lead on implementation of any reforms relating to inter-governmental relations.

Your team of c.20 is based mainly in London but with growing numbers in Cardiff and Edinburgh.
You will report to the job-share Devolution Directors in Constitution Group. You will be a member of the Constitution Group’s Senior Management Team and will be expected to play an active, visible role in maintaining the profile of this highly-regarded Group within Cabinet Office and around Whitehall.

Constitution Group is responsible for managing all constitutional and devolution issues that affect the UK. This includes matters including the electoral law and systems of the UK, the devolution settlements, constitutional issues like House of Lords reform and English Votes for English Laws and ensuring effective intergovernmental relations. This brings advantages for cross-departmental working and policy development. It also means that we are able to tap into the learning opportunities and rich experience across the different departments.

The Group’s overarching purpose is to support UK Government Ministers to:

• achieve a stable, fair and enduring constitutional framework for the United Kingdom;

• sustain a flourishing democracy; and

• maintain the integrity of the United Kingdom.


Specific experience and expertise required:

This is an influential and challenging role which requires first class political awareness. The successful candidate will be an outstanding leader able to demonstrate the following:

Outstanding relationship-building and negotiating skills to manage intergovernmental relations and forge excellent relationships with the Devolved Administrations.

Strong interpersonal, communication and stakeholder management skills. You will have a talent for building lasting relationships with key stakeholders, being able to assimilate different perspectives on an issue and successfully negotiate outcomes on behalf of ministers.

Proven ability to influence and drive policy across Whitehall, leveraging your networks to influence and work across organisational boundaries. You will need to engage in a range of policy agendas from trade to international engagement and demonstrate an ability to think imaginatively about policy challenges and influence change effectively.

Confidence and proven track record working with ministers to understand and deliver on their objectives.

Strong corporate leadership with the skills to set and exciting agenda and build happy, high-performing, resilient teams.

Desirable skills and experience:

Desirable knowledge and skills: an understanding of the UK’s devolved system of government and / or EU exit issues or the enthusiasm and ability to learn these quickly.
Apply today!