G6 Deputy Head, China and Asia Pacific (Strategy and Capabilities), NSS

Cabinet Office
  • Location
    London, United Kingdom
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Posted
    Aug 25

Position description

China, as a rising authoritarian superpower, represents a unique challenge to the UK. As the Integrated Review sets out, it is a systemic competitor, but one we need to engage with in line with our national interests. 

The China and Asia-Pacific Unit works closely with the International Affairs and International Economic Units in the National Security Secretariat (NSS). NSS is a friendly, fast-paced part of Cabinet Office, covering the full range of national security challenges from foreign policy to civil contingencies, from intelligence policy to cyber security. We support the National Security Council (NSC) and the Prime Minister across all national security and international policy issues, and ensure that departmental work is effectively coordinated. We deliver the core Cabinet Secretariat objectives to: 

- Protect our people at home, in our Overseas Territories and abroad; and to protect our territory, economic security, infrastructure and way of life 

- Project our global influence reducing the likelihood of threats materialising and affecting the UK, our interests and those of our allies and partners 

- Promote our prosperity seizing opportunities, working innovatively and supporting UK industry 

We are a diverse mix from across Government and the intelligence community, with a range of backgrounds, cultures, knowledge and expertise working together to keep the UK secure. We have a shared mission to make a positive difference in everything we do, working across Government in a professional, efficient and inclusive manner.

Job description

You will support the PM and the NSC to make and implement decisions across the full breadth of the UK’s China equities, working directly with the cross Whitehall China SRO to implement the IR. In doing so, you will sit at the nexus of our cross-government response to China, building understanding, capability and resilience; and reaching into the full range of domestic, foreign and security policy debates. 

As one of two Grade 6 Deputy Heads, you will support the Director and Deputy Director to set direction and leadership on a diverse range of issues, with a particular focus on strategy: delivering the Integrated Review for China, developing the sub-strategy and working on related cross-cutting issues. You will lead a new team, managing approximately three Band A (Grade 7; D6) and counter signing for approximately two Band B2/B2+ (HEO/SEO; C4/C5). You will play a key role in helping to set a positive, inclusive and diverse team culture. 

A strong background in strategic and complex policy delivery (seeing the bigger picture), an ability to deliver under pressure (delivering at pace), working closely with a diverse range of partners and stakeholders (working together), and leadership experience, are essential pre-requisites for the role. 
Given the broad, fast-moving and priority-driven nature of the work, you will need to be comfortable setting direction in ambiguity. You will: 

- Oversee delivery of IR implementation work on a new comprehensive and system wide approach to China and development of a new implementation plan and its delivery – including through supporting existing senior meetings, monitoring and evaluation, and informing the public narrative 

- Oversee delivery of increased China-facing capabilities to meet Ministerial ambition for a new approach in the long term – both within NSS and across government more broadly 

- Set direction for a high performing team, covering a wide range of issues 

- Support Ministerial and senior official decision making by drafting high quality advice, often to very short deadlines, in coordination with the National Security Adviser (NSA), Deputy National Security Advisers (DNSAs) and Whitehall departments 

- Develop and maintain a broad and strong network of cross-HMG and external contacts to deliver strategic policy outcomes 

- Act as secretariat for NSA/DNSA-chaired discussions, supporting Ministerial NSCs and delivering COBR meetings 

- In addition to your normal day-to-day role, you may be called on to fulfil roles within the Cabinet Office team in COBR to assist the Government’s response to, or recovery from, a national emergency.


Person Specification 

This is a testing G6 role. Candidates will need to demonstrate evidence of: 

- Strategic thinking, with clarity of vision, and experience of leading complex policy formulation and delivery 

- Engagement, building relations with a range of senior stakeholders, and working collaboratively to balance key interests 

- Delivery and programme management, building a business case, managing complex parallel processes, and maintaining progress and momentum on delivery against a difficult backdrop 

- The ability to manage a new team: setting direction, coaching and supporting team members, and managing performance 

- Excellent collaboration and networking skills to build and maintain relationships with a wide range of partners across Government and beyond 

- An ability to take complex issues and develop them into targeted messages for internal and external audiences 

- The skills and experience to managing competing priorities to deliver at pace 

- Working in or on China or the region is highly desirable as is previous international, development or national security experience, as is a keen interest in current affairs and international, defence and development issues 

This role is only open to current civil servants with DV clearance. Proof of clearance must be supplied prior to interview


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Working Together
  • Leadership


• Learning and development tailored to your role. 
• An environment with flexible working options. 
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity. 
• A Civil Service pension. 
• A minimum of 25 days of paid annual leave, increasing by one day per year up to a maximum of 30.

Application instructions

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