Home Office seeks next counter-terrorism chief

Up to £140,000 on offer to lead Office for Security and Counter Terrorism
Photo: David Pearson

The Home Office is offering up to £140,000 a year for a "flexible", "resilient" and "authoritative" candidate to lead the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism.

The next director general of the anti-terror office will succeed Tom Hurd, who moved from the OSCT to lead the Joint Biosecurity Centre set up as part of the coronavirus response in May. He was later replaced in that role by senior National Cyber Security Centre official Clare Gardiner.

The DG, who will also be the Home Office’s senior responsible owner for counter-terrorism, will set strategy and lead the delivery of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST.

They will be responsible for leading the counter-terrorism system across government, monitoring its performance, risks and impact, according to a job advert for the role. Doing so will involve working with 22 other government departments, security and intelligence agencies, police organisations and arm’s-length bodies, it said.

The successful candidate will be a senior adviser to the home secretary and other ministers on security and counter-terrorism issues.

Programmes they will work on include leading Home Office work on online harms legislation and broader legislation including a counter-espionage bill, and overseeing the delivery of the Communications Capabilities Development Programme, an initiative to extend the government's capabilities to intercept and store citizens’ comms data.

As SRO for counter-terrorism, the successful candidate will report to national security adviser David Frost and the National Security Council.

As head of the OSCT, they will be responsible for around 900 staff, directly line managing five directors and a private office, and a budget of £1bn.

They will sit on the Home Office’s executive committee, its senior management team, and report to permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft.

“OSCT, now more than ever, plays a critical role in the Home Office and government strategy and capability in tackling the terrorist threat to the UK and the UK’s interests overseas,” the job ad said.

Applicants must have worked with security and intelligence agencies before, and be “able to navigate successfully the Whitehall government machinery”, the job ad said. 

The job also calls for excellent people and leadership skills; the authority to gain the confidence of ministers and officials and to work effectively with other agencies; and the “flexibility and personal resilience to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances in an environment of regular scrutiny by the media, public and others”.

And applicants must also have the “vision, credibility and ability to lead a broad and diverse system and to develop strategies and capabilities and the programme management and delivery skills to ensure that strategy is converted into effective implementation based on evidence”.

Applicants must be UK nationals with a valid developed-vetting clearance.

Applications for the role close on 24 January.

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