Deputy Director, Public Health Science - Health Protection Directorate


East Midlands, Eastern, London, North East, North West, Northern Ireland, Scotland, South East, South West, Wales, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber

About the job


The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) began its initial operating capability on 1 June, as a new Directorate within the Department for Health and Social Care and works in partnership with PHE building on existing public health infrastructure across the UK.

The JBC brings together the UK’s leading epidemiological expertise and analytical capability to merge data to support early identification of potential outbreaks of COVID-19. It will use a broad set of health and non-health data in its analysis and assessment for local, regional and national decision-makers to enable rapid response to outbreaks of COVID-19, at local, regional and national level and develop action cards to support the response itself across local and national organisations.

The JBC will also be responsible for setting the new COVID-19 Alert Level and will advise Chief Medical Officers across the UK of a change in the level. The CMOs will then advise their Ministers.

The JBC is part of the NHS Test and Trace service, ensuring that local areas get the support they need to manage outbreaks and share good practice. We learn what works and use it to inform future outbreak management and the deployment of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions, to provide assurance and intelligence to further inform the escalation process.

This post can be based anywhere in the country but does require a regular London presence (as a minimum) of one day per week. On call/out of hours may be required subject to business need.

Job description

The JBC is looking for a new Deputy Director of Public Health Science.

This role offers an unparalleled opportunity to develop your career personally and in the Civil Service. This is a key role leading
the newly formed Public Health Science function in the JBC as part of NHS Test and Trace. We are also building complementary teams, notably the data science and analysis and insight teams with whom you will work closely.

The successful candidate will be responsible for building and leading a team of multidisciplinary expert public health scientists, including behavioural science, infectious disease modelling and biostatistics to work across JBC. The role will ensure all decision making is based on the best available evidence – typically in a timeframe of hours to weeks.

The Public Health Science function will ensure that JBC is an intelligent customer of the wider academic scientific and analytical community, providing evidence, challenge and feedback across Government.

You will leading a team of epidemiologists, public health analysts and modellers who are focused on:
Providing near real time coronavirus risk and transmission information and data to local and regional decision makers to inform local non-pharmaceutical interventions;
Providing analysis and assessment products across a range of sectors and communities at specific coronavirus risk.
Ensuring the UK remains abreast of developments internationally in relation to the response to COVID-19, learning and embedding lessons.
Ensuring work is in the national interest whilst meeting the diverse needs of all end-users
Respecting and considering the diversity of the audience when giving messages and delivering these appropriately.

You will provide leadership to a team of behavioural scientists, to support the work of JBC and NHS TT.

You will provide broad based scientific leadership to support work across JBC, ensuring it is using the best evidence based and innovative public health approaches in its work.

You will support multidisciplinary working with the epidemiologists in the health protection directorate, the data scientists in the data science directorate and the assessment experts in the analysis and insight directorate.

You will develop relationships academia in an open and transparent way to support the role of the JBC, together with developing relationships with the UK research infrastructure and research funders, including NIHR and UKRI.

You will contribute to the wider JBC and NHS TT leadership, establishing relationships that cross JBC, NHS TT and other key organisations within the COVID-19 response (including DHSC, PHE, Devolved Administrations, GO-Science etc).

The Deputy Director will be a member of the DHSC science and engineering and analysis communities and will be required to work closely with DHSC colleagues to ensure maximum collaboration and learning can be shared across the department, and wider public health and emergency response communities.


Essential criteria:
Experienced manager and leader of an expert team, demonstrating competency and ability at a senior level, during periods of sustained pressure, scrutiny and ambiguity.

Broad based experience of public health science, research and methods. Anticipate the long-term impact of economic, political, environmental, social and technological developments, at national/international level.

Experienced in working with complex data and information feeds within a relevant field (such as biosecurity, public health, emergency planning, or national security)

Proven policy understanding and experience.

Act decisively and make bold, unbiased decisions at a strategic level.

Accept and respond to challenges constructively.

Clearly recommend the best option articulating risks and impacts on economic, environmental, political and social factors.

Experience working closely with Ministers or Senior Board members and senior stakeholders on high profile and fast paced issues.

Excellent communication skills, including in writing, with the ability to translate, complex information into meaningful, easily understood narrative - and the credibility and interpersonal skills to command the trust and confidence of senior stakeholders.

Encourage and establish mechanisms to share knowledge and resources across boundaries to support the business.

Encourage teams to engage with a variety of delivery partners and stakeholders, listen to and act on their feedback.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Leadership
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Working Together

Apply today!