HMRC hunts for new Brexit customs negotiation lead

Department offers up to £117k for deputy director with “exceptional” skills

Credit: HMRC

By Jim.Dunton

10 Jan 2019

HM Revenue & Customs is recruiting for a new deputy director to lead on the development of customs policy for Brexit.

The role, which the department said would initially focus on “urgent policy work” related to the Northern Ireland border and backstop arrangements,  would attract a salary of up to £117,800 and be at Senior Civil Service band 1.

According to the job specification, the role is directly answerable to HMRC's directors of customs and border design – Katherine Green and Sophie Dean – and would involve leading a team of 25. The successful candidate will succeed Alex Pienaar.


The department said new deputy director would be “at the forefront of HMRC’s negotiations that will allow the UK to regulate and enable international trade” as part of the its departure from the European Union. It added that the new recruit would become “an active member” of the directorate’s senior leadership team.

“Given the particularly high profile nature of this work, the post holder will need to guide their team, the civil service and business groups through a period of transformation,” HMRC said.

“They will be delivering outcomes whilst working through ambiguity, ensuring relevant information is available in this fast moving environment, especially with significant media interest during the negotiations period.

“The post holder will be responsible for leading the EU exit negotiation strategy and developing comprehensive policy proposals across a range of challenges that affect the UK’s capacity to trade on a global scale, taking into account the potential reputational risks to the UK.

“They will be required to use their influence and exceptional negotiation skills to build partnerships with a variety of key stakeholders such as DExEU, DIT, Home Office etc… to ensure the entire UK government’s needs are taken into account during these crucial talks and outcomes.”

The person specification for the job calls for applicants who have a “strong track record of building effective internal and external partnerships very quickly across organisational boundaries” and experience of leading bilateral or multi-lateral negotiations. It said knowledge of customs policy was desirable but not essential.

In a joint foreword to HMRC’s candidate information pack for the role, Green and Dean said it was “an exciting time” to be in the Customs & Border Design Directorate.

The deputy director role is open to applications until January 22. HMRC said it was looking to interview shortlisted candidates before the end of the month.

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