DHSC offers up to £170k for next second perm sec

Recruitment campaign follows announcement Shona Dunn will leave this summer
DHSC's Victoria Street headquarters Photo: Google Maps

By Jim Dunton

24 May 2024

The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a recruitment campaign to find its next second permanent secretary, and is offering up to £170,000 a year to the successful candidate.

Earlier this month, first-aid charity St John Ambulance announced it had recruited Shona Dunn, DHSC's current second perm sec, to serve as its next chief executive. She is due to take up post in September.

Dunn's salary was bracketed at £160,000-£165,000 that year, according to DHSC's annual report and accounts for 2022-23 – £20,000 behind permanent secretary Sir Chris Wormald.

DHSC's job advertisement for the new second perm sec says the role carries responsibility for "around half" of the core department’s approximately 3,500 staff, including leadership and management responsibility for the finance, strategy and corporate services groups. 

"You will be the lead adviser to the secretary of state on cross-cutting issues, delivery of key manifesto commitments, strategic finance/performance in the NHS, and the effective functioning and governance of the department and its arm's-length bodies," it says.

"You will have significant accounting officer responsibilities as the department is responsible for around £192bn capital and resource budgets. In addition you will take lead responsibility for the technology transformation portfolio across NHS England and DHSC."

The portfolio includes a number of programmes that are part of the Government Major Projects Portfolio, such as the Federated Data Platform and Frontline Digitisation Programme, and the New Hospitals Programme.

Wormald's foreword in the candidate brief for the role says he is looking for an "outstanding leader" who can secure the confidence of DHSC's stakeholders and work with them to achieve the government's priorities on health and social care.

"The successful candidate will have a track record of working collaboratively across organisations to deliver cross-cutting government priorities, as well as exceptional strategic capability and judgement," he said.

"They will be a confident, inclusive and engaging leader, with a proven commitment to leading others through change. Most importantly, they will be a role model of the civil service values of impartiality, honesty, integrity and objectivity."

The job advertisement states that the SCS Pay Band 4 role can be based in London or Leeds. It is open to applications until 5pm on 7 June.

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