Salary of £150k offered in search for government chief security officer

Cabinet Office advertises for replacement for Campbell McCafferty, who has held the role since it was created in 2016


Photo: PIxabay

By Sam Trendall

18 May 2018

The Cabinet Office is looking to appoint a new government chief security officer.

The job posting said that the post is “probably the biggest and most important security job in the UK today”. The successful candidate will have overall responsibility “for protecting government’s people and information from a wide range of threats including terrorism, cybercrime, and hostile states”, the government said.

The GCSO role was created in July 2016 and Campbell McCafferty – a civil servant of more than two decades’ standing, who has worked for the Ministry of Defence and the Cabinet Office – was the first person to hold the post. 

The Cabinet Office indicated to CSW's sister title PublicTechnology that, despite having been in post for almost two years, McCafferty had only ever been occupying the role on a temporary basis, until the department was ready to fill it permanently – which it now is. The Cabinet Office declined to comment on McCafferty’s next career move, and whether it will see him remaining part of the civil service.


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The GCSO is responsible for overseeing the government’s security strategy, and serving as the leading government adviser on related matters. The post also comes with a remit to serve as head of the security profession for the civil service, and to be “the face of government security”, both internally and externally. 

The postholder will head up the Transforming Government Security Programme and the National Cyber Security Strategy Programme. They will also take the lead on the delivery of Foxhound – a “secret IT system” being developed by the government.

The job comes with a salary of up to £150,000 a year.

In his opening message in the candidate pack, civil service chief executive John Manzoni, said: “The GCSO is a critical post at the heart of government and the national security community. The role will be responsible for advising ministers and the leadership of the civil service on how we can best protect our people, information, and services as well as meeting the needs of the digital transformation and new ways of working.” 

He added: “The next two to three years will see a major change programme to develop a security strategy for a contemporary, smarter civil service, and build the capability and identity of a government security profession.”

Applications for the GCSO role are open until 4 June. A shortlist will then be drawn up shortly thereafter, with assessments and fireside chats scheduled for the week commencing 14 June. Final interviews will take place around late June or early July.

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