Head of Operational Assurance

Grade: Grade 7

Reference: 154458

Location: Can be based at any Defra office in England

Salary: £47,549 to £60,188

Closing Date: 25 Oct 2021

This role is to lead Defra’s operational assurance team. You will be responsible for the identification and management of operational security risks. Escalating risks to service and product owners so that they can make effective security decisions. You and your team will work closely with Defra’s tier 1 IT suppliers and Defra technical teams to manage the technical security of the Department.

You will be part of a critical function operating within a complex IT landscape and will be expected to have a broad spectrum of technical security experience. You will need to be able to provide clear security guidance to a range of stakeholders. You will need to take a collaborative approach and establish productive working relationships to drive forward technical security.


• Head the Defra Operational assurance team, which consists of 5 staff a blend of civil servants and managed service professionals.

• Manage and plan security analyst workload and priorities.

• Support the operational security team in developing security risk assessments

• Be a subject matter expert in operational security, providing advice and guidance to stakeholders

• Maintain awareness of emerging security threats and vulnerabilities and how they might impact Defra

• Support the Defra cyber security operations centre to implement threat and vulnerability mitigations

• Support technical colleagues in managing cyber incidents

Skills and Experience

• Be able to demonstrate an in depth understanding of, and experience in, using security risk management and cyber control frameworks

• Good understanding of information security principles that apply to infrastructure, cloud, web and mobile applications

• Good understanding of threats and vulnerabilities experienced by a large organisation

• Experience in organising and managing IT Health Checks and Red Team exercises

Application Process

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete:

• a CV

• 750-word statement of suitability.

The statement of suitability will ask the following on your application form:

Please provide evidence on how you meet the skills and experience criteria listed on the job advert.


Sift will begin shortly after the advert closes.

Should there be a large number of applications, an initial sift will be conducted using your suitability statement.

Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift, or progressed straight to assessment/interview.


If successful at sift stage, you will be invited to interview where you will be assessed on your experience, the listed Behaviours and Technical Skills.

Interviews are expected to be held from 8th November.