BEIS permanent secretary seeking £130k successor for her old job

Senior roles in business department key to ‘leading Britain’s recovery from coronavirus’, candidates told
BEIS perm sec Sarah Munby

By Jonathan Owen

22 Sep 2020

Sarah Munby, the recently appointed permanent secretary at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is searching for someone to fill her old job as director general for business sectors.

Munby held the role until July this year, when she was promoted to permanent secretary. 

In a “personal note” in the candidate pack for the job, she said: “I am looking for someone who is energised by the thought of gripping the complex challenges facing business and working across the economy and government to build relationships of trust, so that we can work well together." 

The permanent secretary added: “With our mission of leading Britain’s recovery by fighting Coronavirus, backing business, unleashing innovation and tackling climate change there has never been a more exciting time to join BEIS.”

The advertisement for the job, released over the weekend, stated it will involve having “oversight of the department’s work in backing businesses to ensure that industries can flourish and grow as we fight the coronavirus pandemic and leave the EU.”

It added: “You will promote investment through sector deals, manage distressed situations and help business adapt successfully to the new environment.”

The director general for business sectors will lead a team of 550 staff and be responsible for a £300m annual budget.

The selection panel will include Munby; Isabel Doverty, a civil service commissioner; Bernadette Kelly, permanent secretary, DfT; and Nadar Farahati, deputy director business engagement, BEIS.

The department is also recruiting a chief operating officer, who will hold an annual budget of around £200m and lead a team of 1,000 staff in London and Cardiff.

They will be responsible for “overseeing the department’s key corporate projects, ensuring that BEIS employees have the tools and equipment to work in an agile way,” according to the job description.

The advertisement for the new role states that BEIS is looking for “an exceptional leader” and someone who is “much more than a safe pair of hands.”

The vacancy is to replace Sarah Harrison, former director general for corporate service, who left the department in July to become chief operating officer at the Cabinet Office.

In a statement within the job pack for candidates, Munby said: “I am looking for someone who is ambitious about driving change and transformation, someone to help me take BEIS to the next level as we drive through an ever-more complex set of priorities and build a more agile, regionally-dispersed and delivery orientated organisation.”

The description of the role cites the need to “embed and realise the benefits from an integrated services model, achieve a real step change in performance and outcomes, and to improve the diversity of our teams."

The panel choosing the COO includes Munby; Doverty, Jeremy Pocklington, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government permanent secretary, and Ravi Chand, director, Places for Growth and Beyond Whitehall, Office of Government Property.

BEIS is paying  headhunters GatenbySanderson to help recruit to the two roles being advertised.
The senior civil service jobs are paying around £130,000 a year. 

They are at the lower end of SCS pay band 3, which ranges from £120,000 to £208,100.

The closing date for the two roles is 19 October, with final interviews scheduled to take place in December.

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