266412 Senior Policy Advisor: Cyber and Digital Strategy (2023)

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Job summary

Important - To apply for this role you will need to submit an anonymised CV and covering letter, merged into one document. Further details can be found in the Selection Process section further below in this advert.

The Local Digital team in the Department for Levelling Up is an award-winning multidisciplinary team that supports local councils in England to improve their resilience to cyber threats and deliver the digital public services of the future.

We work with a range of partners including the National Cyber Security Centre, central government departments, and - most importantly - local councils.

DLUHC is lead government department for Local Government Cyber Security, which means we’re responsible for the sector’s overall security posture.

Key elements of our work include:

- Future Councils, a brand new multi-million pound initiative to unlock digital and cyber transformation across local government
- Establishing a clear cyber security standard for local government for the first time
- Identifying and addressing cyber security vulnerabilities across the sector
- Providing Digital and Cyber training for local government
- The Local Digital Fund, backing council-led projects to address common challenges and deliver modern, secure public services
- Other related work such as: responding to cyber incidents in the sector, considering policy questions around digital and cyber markets, connected places technologies, cyber threats etc.

You can find out more on our website and blog.

Our programme is expanding and we’re looking for a Senior Policy Advisor to help shape and deliver our ambitions.

Job description

The Senior Policy Advisor will be a visible leader in the team, trusted to provide creative forward-thinking advice and drive high-level programme activity

You’ll be working collaboratively with a range of partners to help design and deliver key aspects of our cyber programme, with a focus on our work to introduce the a new cyber standard for councils.

We’ve recently concluded a project piloting testing a new standard with local councils. The post-holder will help take this work into the next phase of implementation, and will support or lead key aspects of the workstream which could include:

- Designing incentives and mechanisms to drive adoption of the standard across the sector
- Establishing reporting channels to monitor progress
- Working with product managers to ensure the content of the standard remains fit for purpose, and contributing to guidance that reflects emerging best practice
- Identifying and addressing potential blockers
- Building strong relationships across the sector
- Leading on advice to Ministers, and public communications

You’ll also play a central role in wider strategic work, supporting Spending Review bids, Select Committee briefings and other commissions as needed.

You’ll keep up to date with developments across the policy area, building your understanding of local government and of cyber security trends and strategies, and be a champion for the Local Digital team’s work.

The Cyber and Digital brief is an exciting one with significant Cabinet Office interest, and cross-over with high level security goals. Local Digital itself is an ambitious team with a ‘working in the open approach’ where creativity and collaboration are encouraged, and you’ll be supported to make things happen.

Person specification

You don’t need a technical or IT background to be great at this role, but you’ll be proactive in learning about trends in cyber security and digital innovation and be comfortable engaging with the tech community.


• Experience of policy development, strategy design and/or service design, with good analytical skills

• A demonstrated ability to communicate complex issues clearly and accurately, both verbally and in writing

• Skilled at working collaboratively, bringing together a wide range of partners, and delivering with and through others

• An interest in learning about cyber security, cyber threats, and the legislative and policy context


• Experience working in or with local government

• Knowledge of cyber/digital/data related policy


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


  • Learning and development tailored to your role

  • An environment with flexible working options

  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity

  • A Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%

Things you need to know

Selection process details

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

We are for everyone

At DLUHC we value diversity and inclusion and actively encourage and welcome applications from everyone, including those that are underrepresented in our workforce. We promote equality of opportunity in all aspects of employment and a working environment free from discrimination, harassment, bullying and victimisation.

We would strongly recommend that applicants get in touch with the vacancy manager to find out more information about this role.

We are for everyone

CV and Cover Letter Declaration

We recruit based on your knowledge and skills, and not background, gender or ethnicity - this is called name blind recruitment.

Please remove references to your:

  • name/title

  • educational institutions

  • age

  • gender

  • email address

  • postal address

  • phone number

  • nationality/immigration status

You will need to merge your CV and covering letter into one document. When submitting your application Applied will ask you to upload a CV, when doing this you should upload your merged document of your CV and covering letter.

Most of our campaigns utilise multiple assessors and so it is possible that your application would be viewed by different assessors.

At sift, through your CV and covering letter we will be assessing:



Behaviours: Seeing the Big Picture, Making Effective Decisions, Working Together

Please bear in mind the following behaviours when writing your covering letter – Seeing the Big Picture, Making Effective Decisions and Working Together. The Civil Service Behaviours can be found here.

The Cover Letter may be up to 1200 words and should set out how you meet the essential/desirable criteria listed in the person specification.

Your covering letter should be no more than 1 page referencing how you meet the criteria set out in the job description.

The interview will be of a blended nature consisting of behaviour and strength based questions as listed in the advert. Communicating and Influencing will be tested as an additional behaviour at interview stage. The strength based questions will require natural responses from the candidates. At interview you’ll be asked to give a brief 5 minute presentation, the title of which will be shared with you in advance.

In full the campaign will test the below Success Profile Elements:

Experience: Yes - Experience questions will be based around the essential skills and criteria as listed in the job description

Strength: Yes

Behaviours: Seeing the Big Picture, Making Effective Decisions, Communicating and Influencing, Working Together

We do not consider direct CV applications – you must apply for this role via the application link on Civil Service Jobs:

Please note that near miss offers may be made at the lower grade to candidates who do not meet the grade criteria for this campaign


Transfers across the Civil Service on or after 4 October 2018:

Any move to DLUHC from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax-Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.

For further information about the benefits available to DLUHC employees, please see the attached Candidate Pack.


  • Birmingham

  • Bristol

  • Cambridge

  • Darlington*

  • Leeds

  • Manchester

  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne

  • Nottingham

  • Wolverhampton

There may be opportunities for candidates to work flexibly depending on the business needs. This will be discussed with the vacancy manager on a case-by-case basis if you are successful for the role.

*Please note: The Darlington Economic Campus is a pioneering new cross-government hub which will bring together people across departments and public organisations to play an active role in the most important economic issues of the day. The work of the Campus will make a real difference to people both across the UK and internationally. There will be substantial career opportunities and exciting prospects - a career at the Campus means you will be working at the heart of Government, with access to the benefits and fantastic opportunities offered by the civil service. This role is based at DLUHC and we will be joined on the campus by:

  • HM Treasury

  • Department for International Trade

  • Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

  • Office for National Statistics

  • Department for Education

For further information on the DEC, please take a look at the attached DEC candidate pack.

Sift and Interview dates

We will be sifting applicants as we go – so please don’t wait until the deadline to submit your application. Interview dates will be confirmed at a later stage, all interviews are currently being held remotely via videocall.

Reserve List

In the event that we identify more appointable candidates than we currently have posts available, we will hold applicant details on a reserve list for a period of 6 months from which further appointments can be made. This may include roles at a lower grade. Candidates placed on a reserve list will be informed of this. Due to the length of time CTC checks can take, our HR Shared Services team will contact reserve list candidates for London based roles to commence CTC checks. Those candidates who do not wish to remain on the reserve list should contact recruitment@communities.gov.uk to be removed from the reserve list.

CTC (Counter-terrorism Clearance):

Important note

Successful candidates for roles based in our 2 Marsham Street building must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is counter-terrorist check and the process can take up to 8 weeks to complete.

Please note that successful candidates will need to pass the CTC security checks – this requires you to have been resident in the UK for the past 3 years. Please refer to the DLUHC Notes on Security Clearance section of our Candidate Pack for further information on Counter Terrorism Clearance (CTC).

Candidates should also note that with effect from 1st August 2018 the department will also check all applicants who are successful at interview, against the Internal Fraud Database (IFD) held by the Cabinet Office. In accordance with the Civil Service Internal Fraud Policy, any applicant who is included on the IFD will be refused employment by DLUHC. Please see the Candidate Pack for further information on the Internal Fraud Database.

SEO salary

  • The salary for this role is £37,064 (National).

  • For existing civil servants, the usual policy on level transfer and promotion will apply and is non-negotiable.

Fixed Term Details

For external candidates– you will be offered a 23 Monthfixed term appointment with a possibility of permanency.

For existing civil servants – you will be offered a 23 Monthloan opportunity. Before applying for the role, you will need to seek approval from your parent department to take up a loan appointment should you be successful.

For DLUHC employees - you will retain your existing contract

Before starting your application it’s very important to make sure that you are eligible to apply and meet the Civil Service nationality requirements. All candidates are expected to read the information provided in the DLUHC candidate pack regarding nationality requirements and rules

Candidate Pack Information

Please see attached Candidate pack for further information.

Internal Fraud Database

The Internal Fraud function of the Fraud, Error, Debt and Grants Function at the Cabinet Office processes details of civil servants who have been dismissed for committing internal fraud, or who would have been dismissed had they not resigned.The Cabinet Office receives the details from participating government organisations of civil servants who have been dismissed, or who would have been dismissed had they not resigned, for internal fraud. In instances such as this, civil servants are then banned for 5 years from further employment in the civil service. The Cabinet Office then processes this data and discloses a limited dataset back to DLUHC as a participating government organisations. DLUHC then carry out the pre employment checks so as to detect instances where known fraudsters are attempting to reapply for roles in the civil service. In this way, the policy is ensured and the repetition of internal fraud is prevented.

For more information please see- Internal Fraud Register

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


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is counter-terrorist check.

See our vetting charter.

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

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.

The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.

Apply and further information

This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans initiative.

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 :

  • Email :Ben.Cheetham@levellingup.gov.uk

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