FCDO seeks DG to lead development work

Second perm sec Nick Dyer says his old job is an “opportunity to make a positive difference to lives across the globe"
Photo: PA/Alamy

By Jonathan Owen

10 Oct 2023

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is seeking a new director general, humanitarian and development, several months after the previous incumbent left the role.

The successful candidate will be paid a salary of £127,000 and receive an annual pension contribution of £34,290, taking the total remuneration to more than £160,000.

Nick Dyer held the position between March 2022 and July this year, before being appointed second permanent secretary at the department.

The role was created in 2022, in the wake of the merger between the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The FCDO has since brought diplomacy and development together to “create a more coherent” foreign policy, according to the job summary for the SCS grade 3 role.

“Shaping the department as it transforms and leading the culture we all want to see will be a key part of this role,” it says

The successful candidate will be responsible for the “implementation and delivery of the international development strategy across the FCDO”. They will also lead six directorates (development and open societies; humanitarian, migration and food security; education, gender and equality; international finance; global health; and the office for conflict, stabilisation and mediation).

The DG, humanitarian and development, leads “the UK’s efforts to address humanitarian need driven by conflict, climate change and the Covid-19 challenge”. They head a 750-strong team and are responsible for a £620m programme budget, as well as £2.8bn in multilateral contributions this financial year.

The DG is also tasked with overseeing a campaign by development minister Andrew Mitchell to “reinvigorate UK development leadership, including publishing a white paper on international development by the end of this year”.

Another part of the position is “improving safeguarding standards across the aid sector to prevent harm, exploitation and abuse; and supporting global partnerships and multilateral effectiveness”.

In the candidate brief, Dyer says: “You’ll play a vital role in maintaining the UK’s position as a leading development actor, seeking to reinvigorate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to alleviate poverty and to address some of the root causes of geopolitical instability.”

The successful candidate will be “part of a talented, experienced and supportive senior leadership team in a department that puts delivery first, values expertise, insight and diverse perspectives, encourages innovation and learning and aims to lead with kindness and respect”.

He adds that the role is “challenging” and demands “exceptional communication and stakeholder engagement skills, plus a track record in delivery”. The “fascinating and rewarding job” represents “the opportunity to make a positive difference to lives across the globe,” he says. 

The closing date for applications is Sunday 15 October, and interviews will take place next month, in front of a panel chaired by civil service commissioner Lea Paterson. Other panellists will include Dyer, a perm sec from another Whitehall department and an FCDO non-executive director.

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