Government Legal Department creates new COO role

Perm sec Susanna McGibbon offers up to £149,000 a year to the successful applicant
Photo: ImageryBT/Alamy Stock Photo

By Jim Dunton

13 Sep 2023

The Government Legal Department is creating a new role of chief operating officer and is offering up to £149,000 a year to the successful applicant.

Since it was established in 2015, the GLD has grown its ranks from 1,900 lawyers and corporate support staff to more than 3,000.

The non-ministerial department said the new COO job will be at director-general level and sit alongside three DGs responsible for core areas of is legal work – ranging from justice and security to employment and economic recovery.

The new COO will provide leadership across the department’s legal operations and corporate functions including strategy, finance, HR and digital, according to a job advert for the SCS Pay Band 3 role.

Because the role is new, an early priority for the successful candidate will be to ensure that their directorate has an “appropriate” structure and portfolio, the ad said.

The COO will lead roughly 650 staff and oversee a budget of £65m, at the same time as ensuring the GLD’s financial planning for its wider £300m budget is aligned with the delivery of its corporate strategy and business plan.

The COO will also be responsible for the “discovery and implementation” of new legal technology and ways of working that “enhance the pace of delivering legal services to clients”, as well as the commissioning and performance-management of private sector legal services.

Treasury solicitor and GLD permanent secretary Susanna McGibbon said the new COO will be at the heart of government and central to setting the department's strategic direction and leading on the transformation of its corporate services and legal operations functions.

“It is a new role that I see as crucial to helping me to modernise and develop GLD to continue offering the best legal services to government,” she said in the candidate pack for applicants.

“Government lawyers help the government to govern well, within the rule of law and the scale, diversity and quality of our legal work is unparalleled.

“This includes the opportunity to work at the cutting edge of law and politics on legal solutions that affect almost every aspect of today's society.”

McGibbon said the GLD operates on a scale “equivalent to one of the largest law firms in the UK” and provides government with the “full range” of legal services.

“I am looking for an outstanding corporate leader with strong operational skills and a deep understanding of the legal sector to join my board and executive team, to play a key role in driving GLD’s continuous improvement journey,” she added.

The GLD’s job advertisement said a legal qualification would be “advantageous” but is not essential.

The role can be based in Bristol, Leeds, London or Manchester.

Consultancy Gatenby Sanderson is handling the recruitment campaign, which is open to applications until 23:55 on October 16.

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