Deputy Director, Union Strategy & Engagement

Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London
30 Jul 2021
15 Aug 2021
Contract Type

About the job Summary

Would you like to lead DfT’s work to strengthen the Union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

Are you interested in working with the devolved administrations and colleagues across Whitehall to improve transport connectivity across the UK?

Can you get the best out of relationships with a wide range of stakeholders?

If so, an exciting opportunity has arisen to fill the role of Deputy Director, Union Strategy & Engagement, within Regions, Cities and Devolution Directorate (RCD).

RCD brings a ‘place’ perspective to DfT’s transport policy work. We work with local and regional authorities, the devolved administrations, colleagues across Whitehall and with DfT’s modal policy leads to ensure that the particular circumstances and needs of places across the UK are key inputs to local, regional and national transport policy making.

Union Strategy & Engagement Division leads on ensuring that the Union is at the heart of transport policy making. It works with teams across DfT and with our agencies and arm’s length bodies to ensure that the Department has the capacity and capability to ensure that transport links across the UK reflect the needs of users in all four nations and deliver excellent connectivity across the whole country.

USD also leads DfT’s relationships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: cultivating and developing our working relationships with officials in the devolved administrations, local authorities and Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish businesses in the transport sector and beyond. Following the publication of Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review in the summer of 2021, USD will lead work to collaborate with the devolved administrations on the implementation of the review’s recommendations.

Job description

As Deputy Director, Union Strategy & Engagement, you will:

• Lead and develop a division of c.20 staff from grade EO to grade 6 based in a variety of office locations across the country. You will provide a clear sense of common purpose around DfT’s strategy for strengthening the Union through better transport connectivity, building capability and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace culture in line with the Civil Service Leadership principles – inspiring, confident and empowering leadership.

• Lead DfT’s contribution to delivering the Government’s objective of strengthening the Union by working closely with modal policy colleagues across DfT, our agencies and arms-length bodies to build capacity on Union issues and to transition towards ensuring a Union-wide approach to all aspects of policy making. This will involve establishing appropriate and proportionate governance approach.

• Ensure that DfT’s contribution to strengthening the Union is aligned with cross-Whitehall Union strategy and that sufficient resources and funding are in place to deliver it. This will involve providing senior-level leadership to discussions with colleagues in the Union and Devolution teams in the Cabinet Office, Territorial Offices and other Government Departments to ensure that DfT’s approach to strengthening the Union aligns with overall Government policy. It will also involve leading senior-level discussions with HMT and with Finance and HR colleagues and ExCo within DfT to ensure that sufficient human and financial resources are available to deliver DfT’s Union strategy.

• Lead DfT’s relationship with the devolved administrations by cultivating and developing strong working relationships with officials in the Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Northern Ireland Executive and facilitating effective ministerial engagement and co-operation between DfT Ministers and their DA counterparts. Following the publication of Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review, work in this area will focus on building a collaborative approach with the DAs to delivering the Review’s recommendations. There will also be a need to build resource and capacity for DA engagement and to develop a team which is well respected by both the DAs and colleagues across DfT.

• Depending on the timing of your appointment, you will also lead a small team that will oversee the close-down of the secretariat that has been in place to support Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review. You will work directly with Sir Peter to support him on any outstanding or legacy issues following the conclusion of his review. This work is expected to be concluded by the end of 2021.

• Act as a senior member of the RCD Management Team by contributing to the strategic leadership of the Directorate, it’s role across DfT, the development of its people and the maintenance of its open and transparent culture which has been recognised by staff as a positive aspect of working in the Directorate.


Person Specification:

• You will have experience of setting and leading a strategy and policy agenda across departments, adopting a cross-organisation perspective and ensuring your team’s work reflects wider organisational policy.
• You will have experience of building capability and driving change within an organisation, keeping in mind the bigger picture and looking beyond the status quo to see how things could be improved.
• You will be skilled in leading teams to effectively deliver against our priorities whilst fostering a happy and supportive working environment whilst dealing with uncertainty.
• You will be able to communicate clearly, honestly and persuasively with your team, departmental colleagues and external stakeholders whilst also welcoming their insights or constructive challenge.
• You will have demonstrable experience of building effective relationships with senior external stakeholders and in strategic thinking


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

  • Leadership
  • Working Together
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Developing Self and Others
  • Seeing the Big Picture


Being part of our brilliant Civil Service means you will have access to a wide range of fantastic benefits.

This includes:
- a generous annual leave entitlement,
- attractive pension options,
- flexible working,
- good career development opportunities,
- a variety of career paths,
- inclusive working environments and much more to support a healthy work/life balance.

Things you need to know Security

Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours and Experience.

We are closely monitoring the situation regarding the coronavirus, and will be following central Government advice as it is issued. There is therefore a risk that recruitment to this post may be subject to change at short notice. In addition, where appropriate, you may be invited to attend a video interview.

Please continue to follow the application process as normal and ensure that you check your emails regularly as all updates from us will be sent to you this way.

If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the 'Contact point for applicants' section

To apply for any of these posts, you will need to complete the online application form no later than (23:55) 15th August 2021.

The application will include:
1. A CV setting out your career history, with key responsibilities and achievements. Please ensure you have provided reasons for any gaps within the last two years.
2. A Statement of Suitability (no longer than 1000 words) explaining how you consider your personal skills, qualities and experience provide evidence of your suitability for this role, with particular reference to the criteria in the person specification.

Failure to complete both sections of the form (CV and Statement of Suitability) will mean the panel only have limited information on which to assess your application.

We hope to notify candidates of the results of shortlisting by no later 2nd September 2021. Please note that we are unable to provide feedback to those candidates who are not shortlisted for interview. Written feedback will be made available (on request) to those candidates who attend interview.

Should you encounter any issues with your online application please get in touch with us on:
If you do not receive acknowledgment of your application within 48 hours, please contact Rebecca Walpole on:

Your application will be acknowledged when it is received.

A panel, including the hiring manager, will assess your application to select those demonstrating the best fit with the role by considering the evidence you have provided against the criteria set out in the ‘Person Specification’ section. Failure to address any or all of these may affect your application.

The timeline later in the candidate information pack indicates the date by which decision is expected to be made, and all shortlisted candidates will be advised of the outcome as soon as possible thereafter

If you are shortlisted, you will then be asked to attend an interview in order to have a more in-depth discussion of your previous experience and professional competence.

The Success Profile Framework will be used to assess and recruit the most suitable candidate. The following behaviours will be used at the interview stage:
1. Leadership
2. Working Together
3. Communicating and Influencing
4. Developing Self and Others
5. Seeing the Big Picture

Full details of the assessment process will be made available to shortlisted candidates.

A Staff Engagement Exercise is currently planned to take place from 2nd September 2021 and Interviews week commencing from 13th September 2021.

Regardless of the outcome, we will notify all candidates as soon as possible.

We will send you a copy of any report for any assessment that you may have undergone as part of the recruitment process (where applicable).

Further Information

To learn more about applying for a role within the Department for Transport, visit the Application Process page of our Careers website.

Before submitting your application, we encourage you to visit our Things You Need to Know page for further information about applying for a role within the Department for Transport and the Civil Service.

Throughout this job advert there are links to the DfT Careers website, which provides you further information to support your application. Should you be unable to access the information on our website, please email for assistance.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals

Further information on nationality requirements

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants Job contact : Name :   Rebecca Walpole Email :   Recruitment team : Email : Further information

If you feel that your application has not been treated in accordance with the recruitment principles and wish to make a complaint then you should contact Seanagh.Darby@ in the first instance.

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