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Chief Data Officer (CDO): Director (SCS2)

SCS Pay Band 2

Science, Senior Leadership

Salary Range:


Department and Location:

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Any DEFRA hub. London, Bristol, York, Newcastle

Advert Closing Date:


Contract Type:


Available Working Pattern:


Civil Service Jobs Reference:


Job Description:

Defra and its agencies collect and hold a wide range of data across our areas of responsibility. We use data from many external sources including satellite data, genetic sequence data, trade and socio-economic data. To realise the true and increasing value of these diverse data streams for Government, for the UK, and for the benefit of the environment, there is an urgent need to transform Defra Group to become more data-driven and data-capable. Taking advantage of the evolving ways to gather, analyse, share and deploy data will mean we can deliver better outcomes for the environment, for the public, and for taxpayers.

The Chief Data Officer (CDO) is a strategic data leadership position to support initiatives that are relevant across the whole of Defra Group. The CDO will be responsible for developing a group-wide capability to ensure Defra and its arm’s length bodies manage and deliver essential data with greater efficiency and coherence to meet the common interests and ambitions of Defra and its priority outcomes. This is a new role in Defra, and as such is a fantastic opportunity for an exceptional candidate to evolve and progress an ambitious transformation in how we access and use data, delivering on our ambition to ensure that data fully supports the department’s vital policy and delivery agenda.

Your responsibilities will include:

• providing strategic leadership for an exciting and agile programme of diverse data initiatives by setting context and scope, escalating and communicating risk, and agreeing shared priorities and deliverables, driving a culture of data sharing, use and exploitation across the Group.

• progressing successful shared solutions by working alongside the Chief Analyst and the Chief Digital and Information Officer, and building strong relationships across core Defra and our arm’s length bodies at senior levels.

• identifying the biggest priority data issues (such as designing and delivering a common data management and standards framework), and working with the business to deliver the necessary cross-cutting solutions whilst avoiding inefficient duplication in individual delivery areas.

• supporting the prioritisation of data investments aimed at generating efficiencies across the Defra Group. The CDO will lead on strategic data investment proposals for the next HMG Spending Review.

Person Specification:

The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate:

A proven, highly credible leader able to set a clear vision for the data function of a large complex organisation and make strategic decisions to drive through the changes needed to deliver this, together with the Group senior leadership team.
Successfully leading and delivering a demanding and complex transformation programme in a multi-stakeholder organisational environment to deliver tangible benefits. Ability to engage, inspire and win the cooperation and support of multiple internal and external parties, holding them to account to achieve common goals.
Experience in applying innovative technologies and approaches to deliver data transformation outcomes and embedding data innovation into strategic planning and service design.
Strong people-leadership skills, with the ability to develop an inclusive and collaborative skilled workforce. Attract, motivate, develop and lead staff at all levels within a data function to the highest standard. The ability to inspire and to take people with you through change.
Excellent communication and engagement skills, with the ability to build effective relationships with Ministers, senior operational and other leaders, as well as developing strongly collaborative and partnership-based working with a range of external stakeholders within government and beyond.

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