'Compassionate leader with sharp intellect' sought to lead Attorney General's Office

£120,000 on offer for AGO's next director general
The successful candidate will succeed Rowena Collins Rice. Photo: Attorney General’s Office

The Attorney General’s Office is offering up to £120,000 for a qualified lawyer with an “outstanding track record in the legal profession” to become its next director general.

The AGO will advise the attorney general and solicitor general on legal and policy matters, particularly relating to domestic and constitutional law, criminal justice and matters of national security.

They will also work closely with the attorney general’s special adviser to provide “sound media handling and communications advice”, according to the job advert.

“As director general you will be the most senior civil servant in the Attorney General’s Office, directly responsible to the attorney general for its smooth running in an intensely political and demanding environment,” the job advert for the role says.

The successful candidate will sit on the AGO’s board and be responsible for its strategy, resourcing, governance, performance and culture, overseeing a workforce of 46.

They will work with other Whitehall departments and chair the meeting of legal directors representing departments on the National Security Council.

Applicants must have “significant experience and expertise”, and have held a senior leadership role in an “organisation of significant complexity”, according to the job ad.

They must have a “sharp intellect”, well-developed political acumen and “confident, inclusive and compassionate leadership skills”.

All change

The successful candidate will succeed Rowena Collins Rice, who stepped down last autumn when she became the first civil servant to be directly appointed as a High Court judge.

Shehzad Charania, a director in the department, has been acting director general since Collins Rice’s departure.

The recruitment exercise coincides with several other personnel changes in the government legal system. An interim attorney general will soon be appointed as maternity cover for Suella Braverman, and this week it was announced that Andrew T. Cayley, the UK’s former director of service prosecutions, has been appointed as HM chief inspector of the crown prosecution inspectorate.

Meanwhile, recruitment for the next permanent secretary of the Government Legal Department is ongoing, following the resignation of Sir Jonathan Jones – a former AGO director general – last year.

Writing for CSW in December, Charania wrote: “Changes at the top of departments always present exciting opportunities, and with all these new roles coming on-line within the space of a few months, it’s a brilliant chance to shape the future direction of these organisations.”

Applications for the DG role close on 21 February.

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