Programme Leader, Defence Communications Change Programme


National, including working from home, with regular travel to London and other Defence locations.


About the job


The Directorate of Defence Communications (DDC) orchestrates the overall approach to communications across Defence – from public relations and marketing through to military influence operations – whilst building the reputation for Defence consistent with the facts.

DDC is responsible for coordinating all external and internal communication across Defence as well as the coordination through the National Security Communications Committee and the Government Communications Board. There are three primary DDC functional areas, each headed by a Deputy Director (two civilian and one military) reporting directly to the Director of Defence Communications:

• External Communications: Comprises a News Team providing 24/7 media handling; the Campaigns Team delivering long-range media and digital campaigns; the Speech Writing Team; and a Creative Hub delivering imagery and animation content.

• Internal Communication & Engagement, and Marketing Team: providing internal messaging, working closely with Senior Leaders

• Strategy and Plans: providing strategic communication direction, including the Defence Communications Strategy, to all of Defence.


Job description

Following Cabinet Office capability reviews in 2014 and 2017, the communications function across Defence has undergone significant transformation over the last five years, and is recognised as being in the vanguard of practice of the Modern Communications Operating Model (MCOM) across Whitehall departments, and an exemplar function in MOD for embracing the Functional Leadership agenda. This was achieved through a professionally managed change programme, delivered with appropriate rigor, governance and accountability.

The latest capability review – conducted in June 2020 - acknowledged this progress, and set out a fresh challenge for ongoing transformation via a series of six recommendations, as follows:

1. Strategy and planning. A fully refreshed communications strategy and priorities;

2. Operating model. A new communications function operating model, with the right balance between centralised and delegated decision-making and authorities, and clarifying Directorate of Defence Communications’ role in international and military messaging;

3. Ministerial engagement. Improving ministerial support and ensuring Directorate of Defence Communications is meeting ministerial communications priorities and improve information flows with No10;

4. Cross-Whitehall. Improving engagement across relevant Government departments and organisations involved in the National Security arena, learning lessons from COVID and other operations, and confirming Directorate of Defence Communications’ position in the pan-Whitehall communications community;

5. International communications. Designing an integrated approach across Defence to international communications, working with Cabinet Office on international media insights;

6. People and resourcing. Addressing skills gaps and minimum requirements in Directorate of Defence Communications and across Defence communications units and assessing whether the current approach to external recruitment campaigns to the Forces could be more efficient and coherent.

In July 2020 it was announced that government communications will undergo radical reform including the delivery of a Single Operating Model / Single Employer across the entire government communications profession. The Reshaping Global Communication Services programme is now underway, a major government project to deliver this reform. As such, the six recommendations were cast in a different light. Directorate of Defence Communications moved quickly to identify, agree and execute a series of “Quick Wins” which would deliver immediate reform in the context of the six recommendations but would not be contingent on the emerging imperatives of the Reshaping GCS programme. These have all been delivered, changes to operating practice are bedding down well.

To implement enduring reform against the recommendations beyond the immediate quick wins, the Defence Communications Change Programme has been designed, and its scope and structure has been endorsed by the senior leadership of MOD. It has four workstreams:

Strategy and Planning
Structures and Operating Model
Corporate Efficiency
People and Capability

The key deliverables for each workstream have been set out in way which will allow the programme to pivot to the emerging outcomes of the Reshaping GCS programme as they become evident in coming months.
The successful candidate will lead the delivery of this programme, reporting to the Directorate of Defence Communications Director who is senior responsible owner. A small team within the Directorate of Defence Communications will be stood up to form a full-time Programme Management Office, and colleagues from across all Defence organisations will join project teams within the four workstreams on a voluntary basis. The programme is expected to be delivered on a timetable of 18 months. This post is a fixed term appointment for two years in order to allow for a review of impact of the programme.

The Defence Communications Profession Group will operate as the programme board, the Directorate of Defence Communications Director (as Senior Responsible Owner) will be accountable to the Defence Strategic Communications Board.


Lead the Programme Management Team and work collaboratively with the volunteer workstream personnel to successfully deliver the outcomes specified for each workstream;

Apply robust but non-bureaucratic P3M methodology to the programme to ensure governance, accountability, delivery as per milestones, management of risks and interdependencies, monitoring of progress and impact;

As a key member of the Directorate of Defence Communications senior management team, deliver inspiring and empowering leadership across Directorate of Defence Communications and the wider Defence communications community to build the necessary commitment, confidence and resilience which the functional community will need to achieve the reform at stake;

Build positive working relationships with a range of Defence stakeholders, including senior officials and special advisers, successfully delivering influence where required and responding flexibly to circumstances and events;

Collaborate pragmatically and persuasively with Government Communication Service colleagues in the Reshaping Government Services Communications Programme, ensuring that the Defence Communications Change Programme progresses successfully on a co-creation basis alongside that programme.

Please see attached the Candidate Information Pack for further details.


• Learning and development tailored to your role
• An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension

Apply today!