NCSC External Affairs and Strategic Planning Ref. 2717

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Cheltenham, London, Manchester
£43,957 plus an annual National Security Payment of £2,428 subject to mandatory training. London Allowance £5,500 if applicable.

At GCHQ, we unlock the complex world of data and communications to keep the UK and its citizens safe, both in the real world and online. Working closely with our British Intelligence partners in MI5 and MI6, we protect the UK from threats including serious organised crime, terrorism, and cyber-attacks. A role in GCHQ means you’ll have varied and fascinating work in a supportive and encouraging environment that puts the emphasis on teamwork.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ, is the UK Government’s lead authority on cyber security. The organisation is at the heart of the Government’s cyber security strategy and has the aim of making the UK the safest place to live and work online.   

We are looking for an ambitious and experienced Communications Officer (HEO / GC08) to join our team as a specialist in external affairs and strategic planning. 

The NCSC Communications Directorate promotes and defends the NCSC’s activities, so this job requires a highly organised person, who can create and deliver insightful and engaging communications that demonstrate how NCSC is making the UK the safest place to live and work online. 

The successful candidate will need to use their communication skills to engage effectively with existing NCSC partners and create new connections with UK organisations within business, academia and the public sector.

Job Description

What will the successful candidate be doing?

We are looking for an enthusiastic, innovative and proactive communicator who is motivated to deliver engaging comms plans in a fast paced and collaborative environment. 

The job requires a person who is comfortable working as part of a team and as well as independently, selecting the most effective methods and channels for communication based on stakeholder needs. The post holder will need to be an enthusiastic team-player with a proactive and collaborative attitude. They will also need strong influencing skills and the ability to cut through a variety of competing priorities on high profile issues. 

The successful candidate will identify and engage with influential stakeholders, developing and delivering communications plans, and helping with NCSC’s speaking events i.e.  briefing spokespeople, co-ordinating diaries, helping prepare presentations and Q&A, and post-event evaluation.


•    Horizon scan and plan announcements so that they are delivered in a coordinated and manner.
•    Collaborate with teams within the NCSC Communications Directorate to ensure consistency of NCSC stakeholder engagement and to amplify key campaign messages through developing partnership working.
•    Build relationships across NCSC, other government departments, agencies and stakeholders so that they can share forthcoming activity of interest to NCSC priorities.
•    Identify and map regional stakeholders, fostering productive relationships to share best practice advice and gather intelligence.
•    Identify, co-ordinate and manage external NCSC speaking events, and to provide briefings for senior colleagues ahead of external speaking events and meetings.
•    Manage the Programme stakeholder database and associated systems and processes to ensure accurate audience targeting and adherence to GDPR requirements.

Person Specification

The successful applicant will need to have:

•    Influencing at all levels to ensure stakeholders are engaged effectively - using excellent relationship management skills and strong verbal and written communication skills. Database management to drive marketing activity, including audience segmentation.
•    Excellent writing, presentation, and interpersonal skills including written and verbal briefing skills. Monitoring and evaluating stakeholder communications activity.
•    Be able to communicate and influence with confidence whilst working under pressure on multiple projects and can deal with competing and changing priorities. Build good working relationships and be an enthusiastic team-player with a proactive and collaborative attitude.

GCHQ Competency Requirements

·    Communication and Knowledge sharing - Higher
·    Corporate Vision and Efficiency - Intermediate
·    Change and Innovation - Intermediate
·    Analysis and Decision Making - Intermediate
·    Contribution to Delivery - Higher
·    Managing the Customer Relationship - Higher
·    Working with and Leading Others - Higher 

You can familiarise yourself with the general competencies we use to assess the aptitude of candidates here - Recruitment Process

Benefits we offer

At NCSC and GCHQ, we are proud of our inclusive and supportive working environment that’s designed to encourage open minds and attitudes.  As an organisation that values and nurtures talent, we are committed to helping you fulfil your potential.  With comprehensive training and development opportunities, tailored to your needs and the requirements of your work, we will enable you to flourish in your role and perform to the very best of your abilities.

You’ll receive a starting salary of £43,957 plus an annual National Security Payment of £2,428, subject to mandatory training.

Other benefits:

•    London Allowance of £5,500 where applicable.
•    25 Days Annual Leave automatically rising to 30 days after 5 years' service, and an additional 10.5 days public and privilege holidays
•    An environment with flexible working options
•    Opportunities to be recognised through our employee performance scheme.
•    Interest-free season ticket loan
•    Cycle to work scheme
•    Facilities such as a gym, restaurant and on-site coffee bars (at some locations)
•    Paid parental and adoption leave.
•    A Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%

Selection Process

Before You Apply

To work at GCHQ, you need to be a British citizen or hold dual British nationality. You can read our full eligibility criteria here. 

This role requires the highest security clearance, known as Developed Vetting (DV). It’s something everyone in the UK Intelligence Community undertakes. You can find out more about the vetting process here. 

Please note we have a strict drugs policy, so once you start your application, you can’t take any recreational drugs and you’ll need to declare your previous drug usage at the relevant stage.

The role is based in London, Cheltenham or Manchester so you’ll need to live within a commutable distance. Please consider any financial implications and practicalities before submitting an application, as we do not offer relocation costs.

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 the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member.

What to Expect

Our recruitment process is fair, transparent, and based on merit. Here is a brief overview of each stage, in order:

•    Application sift
•    Interview (in person or on video)
•    If successful, you will receive a conditional offer of employment subject to vetting.

Please note, you must successfully pass each stage of the process to progress to the next. Your application may take around 6 - 9 months to process including vetting, so we advise you to continue any current employment until you receive a final job offer.

We’re Disability Confident

GCHQ are proud to have achieved Leader status within the DWP’s Disability Confident scheme.  This is aimed at encouraging employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain and develop disabled people.  Being Disability Confident, we aim to offer a person-to-person interview to any candidate who self-identifies as disabled and meets the essential criteria for the role.  This is our ‘Offer of Interview’ (OOI). To secure an interview for this vacancy, applicants will need to meet the minimum criteria for the role.

Equal Opportunities

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, ages, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ways of thinking and those with disabilities or neurodivergent conditions. We therefore welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including those from groups that are under-represented in our workforce such as women, those from an ethnic minority background, people with disabilities and those from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Find out more about our culture, working environment and diversity on our website:

Our Vetting

To work in this role, you will need the highest security clearance, known as Developed Vetting (DV). It’s something everyone in the UK Intelligence Community must go through and it can take some time. As part of the DV process you will be asked to fill in a detailed questionnaire and attend an interview with a vetting officer. In your interview the vetting officer will have a thorough, compassionate, and honest discussion with you about you as a person and your life experiences, to ensure holding a DV clearance is right for you. You don’t need to do any preparation for your vetting interview, just be honest and be yourself. All applicants for DV are treated impartially and consistently, irrespective of gender, race, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation, and other protected characteristics.

The closing date for this role is: 23:55 22nd December 2022.

If you wish to contact the hiring manager to discuss the roles or responsibilities of this post in more detail, please send your query to

Right to Withdraw Statement: 

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.

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.