Head of the National Situation Centre

Data-driven decision-making is at the heart of modernising government and the civil service. The Situation Centre will work with colleagues across government to combine data and expertise to unlock timely insights for a safe, secure and prosperous UK.

The SCS1 Head of the National Situation Centre (SitCen) will provide leadership to a new capability, function and team that brings data, analysis and insights to the heart of the UK’s crisis response, alongside COBR as part of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS). This post is responsible for the end-to-end delivery of these insights to senior stakeholders in Cabinet Office and No10. The Head of SitCen will also be responsible for the ongoing development and strategic future of the SitCen capability.

The Head of SitCen will have demonstrable experience of leading data and analysis to inform senior decision makers, and in delivering products that harness innovation in data and technology. It is desirable, but not essential that they are a member of (or have the ability to become a member of) one of the Government Analyst Function professions. Able to lead and develop teams with these specialist skills, give appropriate day to day and strategic direction to SitCen’s work, and represent its unique function to partners and stakeholders across and beyond government.

Job description

- Essential Knowledge, Skills and Experience:

Leadership and guidance: Evidence of excellent leadership, development of other leaders, and people management skill is essential, and needs to be demonstrated in the recent past, given the profile of the area and additional challenges of managing at a distance e.g. of shift workers, across team boundaries, and locations.

Conforms to agreed good practice for the team, teaching new starters and challenging substandard work by peers.

Able to recommend decisions and describe the reasoning behind these. Capable of identifying and articulating technical disputes between direct peers and local stakeholders. Has an awareness of the importance of team dynamics, collaboration and understands the importance of feedback.

- Organisational change and development experience:

Able to to deliver complex and fast paced change, and to set a culture of ongoing innovation. SitCen is a newly established team and capability which will need further shaping and work to fully embed it into the UK’s crisis management ecosystem. To ensure SitCen’s capabilities remain current its leadership will need to set and keep under review future direction, taking account of leading practice in data, analytics and technology.

- Strong judgement and political awareness:

Experience of working with senior decision makers in contentious or fast-paced environments, including a demonstrable ability to use evidence to support decision making and offer honest and direct advice under pressure.

- Communicating information:

Able to effectively translate and accurately communicate across technical and non- technical stakeholders as well as facilitate discussions within a multidisciplinary team, with potentially difficult dynamics. Able to advocate for the team externally and can manage differing perspectives.

- Analytical:

Ability to engage, lead and support professional experts, who may typically be members of the Government Analysis Function.

Desirable Experience and Knowledge:

If you are a member of the Government Analysis Function already, please indicate which profession in your application.


The Head of SitCen will be part of CCS’s senior leadership team, reporting to Director CCS, under the National Security Advisor in Cabinet Office and No10.

The successful candidate will have a strong leadership record and be a role model for collaborative behaviours. The Head of SitCen will establish positive relationships with partners across and beyond HMG, supporting a collaborative approach to delivery of data, analysis and insights to inform situational awareness and crisis response. They will find ways to deliver capability, and greater public benefit through increased collaboration.

The job-holder will also be responsible for:

- Set the strategic direction, team level objectives and ensure clear division of roles/ responsibilities across the team of 36.

- Work with partners across and beyond HMG to scope and set SitCen’s future direction, building a portfolio of delivery across ways of working, skills, data, tools, and underpinning technologies.

- Lead programmes of work during non-crisis periods that support crisis preparedness within SitCen and across partners, and drive an ambitious and diverse portfolio of innovation that continuously evolves and improves SitCen’s capability - constantly innovating products and services pushing the art of the possible for today’s and tomorrow’s needs.

- Foster and maintain a positive, collegiate team ethos with an emphasis on building capability, prioritising development, and a culture of timely and constructive feedback.

- Provide leadership for the SitCen capability, directly line managing the four G6’s area leads in the team.

- Work closely with colleagues in CO Legal and others to put in place appropriate safeguards to support and demonstrate legal and ethical use of data within SitCen.

- Oversee provision of insights, analysis and evaluation that helps shape the SitCen, balancing short-term asks with the development of a long-term strategic evidence base that anticipates future need.

- Lead SitCen’s response to crises, and form part of CCS leadership team’s overall support to central government as needed.

- Be able to confidently brief senior colleagues and visitors, and represent SitCen in a range of strategic fora. With the ability to communicate and influence on strategic matters and hold confidence during a crisis is essential.

- Be accountable for budget and commercial arrangements.


- 25 days annual leave on entry, increasing on a sliding scale to 30 days after 5 years’ service. This is in addition to 8 public holidays.

- This will be complimented by one further day paid privilege entitlement to mark the Queen’s Birthday;

- A competitive contributory pension scheme that you can enter as soon as you join where we will make a significant contribution to the cost of your pension; where your contributions come out of your salary before any tax is taken; and where your pension will continue to provide valuable benefits for you and your family if you are too ill to continue to work or die before you retire;

- Generous paid maternity and paternity leave which is notably more than the statutory minimum offered by many other employers;

- Childcare benefits (policy for new employees as of 5 April 2018): The government has introduced the Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) scheme. Working parents can open an online childcare account and for every £8 they pay in, the government adds £2, up to a maximum of £2000 a year for each child or £4000 for a disabled child. Parents then use the funds to pay for registered childcare. Existing employees may be able to continue to claim childcare vouchers, so please check how the policy would work for you here;

- Interest-free loans allowing you to spread the cost of an annual travel season ticket or a new bicycle;

- The opportunity to use onsite facilities including fitness centres and staff canteens (where applicable); and occupational sick pay.

Apply now!