Home Office seeks deputy director for ESN mobile communications programme

The Home Office is seeking a “robust and charismatic” deputy director for Emergency Services Network Mobilisation.

Home Office seeks deputy director for managing ESN Mobilisation Unit – Photo credit: PA

The deputy director will have responsibility for leading and managing the ESN Mobilisation Unit within the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme.

This programme is transferring the UK’s three blue light services, and other public safety bodies, existing communications services to new mobile voice and broadband data communications services.

The deputy director role, offered with a pay band of £80,000 to £85,000, will be responsible for integrating and optimising the two solutions that have been chosen for the ESN Mobilisation Unit, and will replace the Airwave radio system.

Motorola will provide user services, while EE will provide mobile services, both using the existing commercial 4G mobile data network, and the new recruit will be expected to work closely with representatives from both companies.

This includes being the first port of call for problems and being responsible for developing mitigating actions against any potential risks.

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The deputy director will regularly review with structure of the unit, ensure that new products and services meet user requirements, and analyse the impact of any proposed changes on time, cost and user needs.

In addition, they will issue regular updates to the programme director for the ESMCP, the senior management team as well as the ESN management and change board, of which they will also be a member.

The job advert asks for someone with direct experience managing a large and complex change project and of working in multi-disciplinary teams.

It says they should be a “robust, charismatic and dynamic leader who demonstrates strong commercial acumen, authenticity, honesty and passion”.

They should also have demonstrable experience of identifying and mitigating risks and issues and the “ability to find innovative ways to resolve problems”.

In addition, they are required to have relevant experience of strategic programme management “in a complex delivery and contractual environment, including the application of good practice from MSP and PRINCE 2”.

The plan to create the new communications system for the emergency services came under fire earlier this year, when MPs on the Public Accounts Committee said the target date of December 2019 was unlikely to be met.

It called on the Home Office to step up its contingency planning in case the new system wasn’t ready in time.

According to the PAC, many emergency services are still awaiting “sufficient assurance” that ESN is “at least as good as” the existing Airwave system before committing to the switch, and the committee added that the Home Office has slimmed-down its timetable for the region-by-region transition to ESN by three months.

The committee called on the Home Office to take a fresh look at the timescales for the ESN programme, urging it to “work with emergency services” to ensure that transition plans for the new network are realistic.

“It must take responsibility for convincing services to switch to ESN but also be clear at what point it will mandate the switchover,” the MPs said.


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