Deputy Director Strategic HR Ref. 2765

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Specialist Roles
Cheltenham, London, Manchester
£87,135 to £96,362 (concessionary payment £2,963) (If London chosen, LPA £6,242)

Deputy Director Strategic HR

Flexible working 

This role can be full time or part time (minimum 30 hours) and can be based at any of our large sites (London, Manchester, Cheltenham), but will require frequent travel to Cheltenham for leadership presence.  It is also a hybrid role which can include approx. 30% homeworking, along with office attendance and working in a collaborative team space.


Equality, diversity, and inclusion are critical to our partnership and mission. GCHQ supports the Civil Service vision of being recognised as the UK’s most inclusive employer, by setting stretching diversity and equality objectives for our organisation. The Directorate General Strategy area is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion: we believe that a workforce which reflects the population we seek to serve and protect is essential to our legitimacy and licence to operate. 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. This is a stretching full time DD job, which could be done in a range of ways. We are genuinely open to a range of diverse working patterns, job shares, or splitting the role for the right candidate(s). We would encourage candidates to talk to the hiring manager in advance about this and be open about their offer in their application. The role requires office and face to face interaction of around 3 days a week, which means physical presence and contractual location at either London, Manchester or Cheltenham for those days. Travel to Cheltenham will also be required.


GCHQ is one of the world’s largest and most significant intelligence and security agencies. As part of the UK Intelligence Community, along with MI5 and MI6, it sits on the front line of keeping the UK safe from those who would do us harm online and in the real world.

GCHQ is undergoing an organisational wide digital transformation, demand for its capabilities is accelerating and diversifying and it sits at the cutting edge of cyber engineering. Our HR function is critical to its success and key to the programme’s delivery. We are seeking to make a significant shift in our People approach; the understanding of the workforce we need for the future, a revised and modern offer to our people and the underlying people systems, policies, and processes to enable the future.

GCHQ's Directorate General for Strategy (DGS) is responsible for setting strategic direction, driving transformation, empowering mission impact and connecting GCHQ inside and out. The GCHQ Strategic HR function is at the heart of the DGS corporate centre, striving to ensure that our current and future workforce capabilities drive’s our competitive edge of innovation in cyber technologies in a highly engaged, diverse, and inclusive culture. 


The role represents a unique opportunity to be part of the strategic and operational GCHQ leadership, working at the centre of the organisation and with the board. 

The post holder will be a key member of both Strategic HR senior leadership and the wider GCHQ leadership during a period of significant, transformational change both within the department and across the UK Intelligence Community.

This post will work closely with other members of the leadership team and as a team you will crosscut all HR functions so ability for teamwork driving genuine transformation is critical to succeeding in this role. The role will work to articulate the future and translate the strategic intent into delivery offering a unique opportunity to deliver the workforce and organisation change to keep the country safe now and in the future.

 This particular post will lead, influence and transform the following Strategic HR enablers:

-    People Resourcing Strategy – Build and operate the future scenario skills modelling blueprint, roadmap, and annual recruitment plans for our future workforce based on insights to quantify the impact to our size, shape, EDI, critical skills and capability required to deliver our mission.  

-    Industrial Relations and Policy Lead – You will lead the relationship with our Union and our partnership agreement on coherent policy change to ensure our business is growing healthier and reach each other’s jointly defined goals.

-    People Management Support (including Complex Casework and Dispute resolution) – Be part of a transformation to ensure performance is routinely, fairly, and effectively dealt with.

Help ensure all line managers are empowered and supported to get the best from their people.

You will also be the lead for our HR service provider relationship to ensure we are receiving a quality service, ensuring our demand is known and supporting our provider to jointly achieve our mission. EDI is also mission critical at GCHQ and you will be accountable for ensuring it is embedded in to our Strategic HR ambitions. 

About You


The successful candidate will be an experienced leader with excellent personal resilience, ability to demonstrate strong teamwork, an HR professional with relevant skills and experience in the HR field and also a commitment to self-awareness and professional development. We are looking for a leader who demonstrates GCHQ's values of Integrity, Ingenuity, Impact and Teamwork, who works inclusively, collaboratively and takes a learning approach to agile delivery. They should be excellent communicators in person and in writing, able to explain complicated issues and identify solutions that work for the business. The successful candidate will play a full role in the leadership of DGS and HR. They will find plenty of opportunities to contribute to the creation of a diverse and inclusive workforce.  

The Deputy Director Strategic HR, will have to work flexibly to deliver against Director HR’s requirements as listed below:

•    Leadership first and foremost: Able to inspire and lead transformation as part of a team, lead by example as an excellent role model for inclusive behaviour, be a source of challenge and insight and have a visible and substantive EDI objective.

•    Lead Delivery: leading on strategic policy, our union relationship, resourcing strategy and transform our Complex Casework service as business outcomes require.

•    Adaptability: provide policy and handling advice, challenge and support to Director HR, across the full range of organisational priorities.  Requires post holder to flex in response to current priorities and work closely internally and externally with the UK Intelligence Community.

•    Management responsibility: lead a direct team of 30 staff and personally support effective joint working between the whole of Strategic HR (up to 100 staff and contractors) and enhance relationships across the intelligence communities. You will also be accountable for a budget of £6m.

•    Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is critical to our mission and we expect all of our leaders to demonstrate a commitment to its delivery. To protect the UK, we need a truly diverse workforce that reflects the society we serve and therefore would like to encourage applications from a wide range of backgrounds for this role. 


Essential Criteria

You will need to demonstrate the following professional and leadership skills:

•    HR professional qualifications in MCIPD minimum with experience to follow up FCIPD.

•    Outstanding commercial and strategic business insight.

•    Excellent corporate decision-making skills at senior organisation levels, with a strong track record in agile delivery and/or supply and demand chain management.

•    Strong strategic, analytical and handling skills to manage a strategic risk framework with multiple stakeholders, and ability to influence at the highest levels.

•    The experience and talent to lead large-scale people or operating framework change.

•    Engaging and inclusive leadership, able to motivate at all levels; committed to learning and development at personal, team and corporate levels.

•    The ability to work collaboratively across a large organisation and bring others with you, as we change what we work on and the way we work.

Please refer to the Civil Service Behaviours Framework for Deputy Director.

The successful candidate will need to demonstrate strengths in the following essential behaviours:
•    Seeing the Big Picture
•    Making Effective Decisions
•    Leadership
•    Working together
•    Delivering at Pace

To apply for this post, you will need to submit the following supporting documentation alongside your application:

•    A CV no more than two pages setting out your career history, with key responsibilities and achievements.

•    A Statement of Suitability (maximum two pages, arial 12 font, with regular margins and single spacing) explaining how your personal skills, qualities and experience provide evidence of your suitability for the role. This should address the essential behaviours set out above. 

Rewards and Benefits

You’ll receive a starting salary of £87,135 plus other benefits including:
•    25 Days Annual Leave automatically rising to 30 days after 5 years' service, and an additional 10.5 days public and privilege holidays
•    Opportunities to be recognised through our employee performance scheme
•    Excellent pension scheme
•    Cycle to work scheme
•    Facilities such as a gym, restaurant, and on-site coffee bars (at some locations)
•    Paid parental and adoption leave.

We are running a campaign for a similar role for MI5 . If you are willing to be considered for either position, please state this on your application alongside any preference you would have 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:

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).

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, looking at your motivation for the role and the organisation
•    Staff Engagement Panel
•    Interview
•    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 have received your final job offer.

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 Cheltenham, Manchester or London (frequent travel to Cheltenham is expected), 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. 

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.