Consultant and Principal Clinical Psychologists (Corporate Psychology) Ref. 2286

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Specialist Roles
Cheltenham (opportunities to work some hours flexibly from different locations and at home)
Salary Principal: £43,957 - £53,987 plus concessionary payment of £2,428. Salary Consultant: £57,570 - £69,018 plus concessionary payment of £2,771.


As one of Britain’s intelligence agencies, we unlock the complex world of communications to make a real difference to the safety of the nation. We work closely with our partners in the intelligence community to safeguard Britain’s people, interests, and businesses from various threats. Think serious organised crime, such as people and drugs trafficking, or terrorism and cyber-attacks. It’s challenging and varied work that you won’t find anywhere else.

At GCHQ, diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission. To protect the UK, we need a truly diverse workforce that reflects the society we serve. This includes diversity in every sense of the word: those with different backgrounds, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ways of thinking and those with disabilities or neurodiverse conditions. We therefore welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including those from groups that are under-represented in our workforce.

We have an excellent benefits package which includes 25 days holiday as standard (pro rata) increasing to 30 days after five years, various flexible working patterns and/or part time working options available generous pension contributions and parental leave, and three days volunteering leave.


The core role involves supporting the Personnel Security department in assessing staff suitability to hold security clearance and assisting other departments to evaluate job applicant ability to fulfil demanding roles.  The primary focus is on the assessment of staff vulnerability, resilience and risk. Assessment will require synthesising a broad range of file, interview and psychometrically derived information into reports which include clearly formulated risk assurance recommendations.  Additionally, clinical advice and guidance will need to be provided on potential risk mitigation. Risk assurance opinions and risk mitigation will need to be communicated in written and verbal form. Work will be carried out with support and supervision, increasing autonomy as experience is acquired by the post-holder.

Whilst the core role is specialist assessment, the you will require high level consultancy and training skills. Consultancy is provided routinely through the operation of the Duty Desk role, in case conferences, and informally with colleagues across all vetting contexts. Training is provided via a range of packages that are co-developed by all Psychologist trainers, reviewed and shaped in response to feedback and emerging research knowledge and best practice.  It is the responsibility of all psychologists working in Personnel Security to contribute to the training programme.

You will be competent working both as an integral part of psychologist and multidisciplinary teams, and autonomously as required.  You may represent the Corporate Psychologists internally as well as to partner organisations outside of the UK. You will be able to provide mentoring, supervision and, consultation (where appropriate) to other practitioner psychologists/behavioural scientist and customer groups. You will also apply your extensive research and audit skills to contributing to quality improvement and practice-based research projects across the service.

You will work with the Head of Psychology, Consultant Psychologist Leads and a variety of customers and customer groups so that they are very familiar with organisational objectives and how these drive the tasks of different areas, giving them insight into potential tensions between competing objectives across teams and how these might impact on individuals and groups.  This wider context will inform and shape your risk and suitability recommendations.

Additionally, at the Consultant level, the role brings with it delegated responsibilities for co-ordinating workflow for Corporate Psychology, deputising for the Head of Corporate Psychology, and potential line-management of less senior Practitioner Psychologists.

You will ensure regular communication and engagement with the Head of Corporate Psychology/Consultant Psychologist Leads and other key stakeholders, identifying themes and issues arising that could benefit from psychological consultancy, and evaluating and adapting input in response to feedback and changing requirements.

 Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

•    Maintenance of Developed Vetting clearance
•    Engagement with Head of Corporate Psychology/Consultant Psychologist Leads to identify themes and issues arising of relevance to risk/suitability assessments, and training
•    Consultation to Recruitment, Employee Assistance, Occupational Health and Vetting Officers (VOs) on psychological aspects of staff security and wellbeing issues, including complex casework at Consultant level
•    File review and informant-based psychological opinions
•    Direct clinical assessment of applicants and existing staff as appropriate
•    The development/review of psychologically informed training sessions, and facilitation and evaluation of the same.
•    Participation in and/or consultancy on personnel selection procedures
•    Psychological assessment in support of selection of staff for highly sensitive or high pressure or psychologically demanding roles
•    Undertake small scale classified research projects to inform and develop best practice in Corporate Psychology practice in Intelligence; provide recommendations to relevant stakeholders and help shape Service development
•    Engagement with the wider behavioural science cadre to ensure cross-fertilisation of ideas and skills
•    Active engagement in regular peer supervision and ethical practice reflection
•    Active engagement in CPD, to meet HCPC as well as local requirements
•    Potential Line Management (as required) of more junior/less experienced Corporate Psychologists
•    Participation in UK and International conferences including presentation/facilitation roles
•    At Consultant level, identification of broader Behavioural Science research requirements to inform and develop best practice in Corporate Psychology domains in Intelligence work and provision of recommendations to relevant stakeholders to shape service development.


Qualifications & minimum requirements
•    HCPC Registration
•    Honours Degree in Psychology or equivalent
•    D Clin Psych (or equivalent qualification) conferring eligibility for chartership with BPS
•    For a Principal role, significant experience of working at Senior Psychology Level (NHS Band 8a/8b or equivalent)
•    For a Consultant role, significant experience of working at Principal Psychology Level (NHS Band 8b or equivalent) or Consultant Level (NHS Band 8c/8d)

Additionally, the post holder may bring specialist skills in one or more of the following areas:
•    Forensic mental health
•    Occupational assessment in complex organisations
•    Forensic risk assessment/risk management
•    Neuropsychological assessment
•    Behavioural disorders and addictions
•    Personality disorders
•    Organisational consultancy
•    Psychometric assessment
•    Working with military personnel.

At the Consultant level, the post holder may also bring skills in:
•    Group level behaviour interventions
•    Quality Improvement interventions
•    Service development.

Personal qualities
•    A keenness to work as part of a team, and yet confidence to work autonomously.
•    A natural gravitas and credibility when presenting a psychological perspective to non-psychologists
•    A customer-focus; enhanced listening, empathy and written and verbal communication skills
•    A resilience for working under pressure and turning around assessments and advice within short time scales without sacrificing quality or professional rigour
•    A commitment to evidence-based practice and psychological codes of conduct, alongside a pragmatism for delivering client solutions
•    A willingness and ability to consider occasional travel and be away from home for short periods of time
•    Energy, curiosity, emotional intelligence and excellent decision-making skills
•    A commitment to ongoing personal and professional development and a demonstrable strong commitment to ethical, evidence-based practice.

To be eligible to apply, you must be a British Citizen. One of your parents must be a British Citizen or must have the nationality or citizenship from our approved list of countries (for more info visit our website). If you hold dual nationality, of which one component is British, you will nonetheless be considered. (for more info visit our website). Candidates must normally have been resident in the UK for seven out of the last ten years. This is particularly important if you were born outside the UK. You can apply at the age of 17 years and 6 months, if successful you will not be offered a start date prior to your 18th birthday. Discretion is vital. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member. Please note, you should only launch your application from within the UK. If you are based overseas, you should wait until you visit the UK to launch an application. Applying from outside of the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application. Further information on our eligibility criteria can be found on the Applying section.

At GCHQ, we’re proud to offer an inclusive and supportive working environment that encourages open minds and attitudes. As an organisation that values and nurtures talent, we are committed to helping you fulfil your potential.
Successful applicants will receive training and mentoring to support them in the role.


Be prepared to dedicate 60-90 minutes towards completing your application. We are conscious this might be more time than you expected, so our system will allow you to save your application at any time and come back to it later. But remember to submit your full application before the closing date.
If you meet the minimum eligibility and application sift criteria, the next steps of this selection process are
•    Cv Sift
•    Telephone interview
•    Panel interview/Assesment

The closing date of this role is the 21st June

Interviews will likely be held in August and September 2021. Further details of interview arrangements will be provided to those who successfully reach these stages.

Applicants not long-listed for the Consultant role may be invited to consider the Principal role. One application will be sufficient for both positions but please make your interest clear on the application regarding preferences for either/both positions.


As a Disability Confident employer, we will ensure that a fair and proportionate number of disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for this position will be offered an interview. This is known as the Offer of Interview (OOI). To secure an interview for this role, candidates applying under this scheme must meet the following minimum criteria:
•    HCPC Registration
•    Honours Degree in Psychology or equivalent
•    D Clin Psych (or equivalent qualification) conferring eligibility for chartership with BPS
•    For a Principal role, significant experience of working at Senior Psychology Level (NHS Band 8a/8b or equivalent)
•    For a Consultant role, significant experience of working at Principal Psychology Level (NHS Band 8b or equivalent) or Consultant Level (NHS Band 8c/8d)
•    There will be an application sift; where you will be asked a series of questions relating to this vacancy where you will be required to meet the minimum set pass mark.
•    On successful completion of an application form sift you will be invited to a telephone interview and then an Interview/Assessment.

If you successfully complete the required stages, and are successful at interview, you will receive a job offer conditional on you completing our developed vetting (DV) process, which enables you to obtain the level of security clearance required to undertake this role.

Please be aware that we withhold the right to bring forward the closing date for this role from the original closing date once a certain number of applications have been received. Please be mindful of this and submit your application at your earliest convenience to avoid disappointment.