MI5 seeks chief data officer who is ‘comfortable with ambiguity’

Role comes with £100k-plus pay packet and remit to help lead transformation programme

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The Security Service is seeking to recruit a chief data officer to help the organisation make better use of data in its work to protect the UK from threats such as terrorism and espionage.

According to the job advert, the service – better known as MI5 – is “working closely with our partner intelligence agencies” to develop and implement a wide-scale programme of digital transformation. 

“This includes a significant shift in our approach to data and technology, as well as our ways of working,” it added. “As chief data officer, you will help lead this work turning our strategic aims into reality, through putting in place the data practices we need to successfully support our mission.”

As the UK’s domestic security and counter-intelligence agency, MI5’s mission is to detect and protect against internal threats of terrorism and espionage. Technology plays an increasingly key role in such threats, according to MI5, and its digital and data capabilities need to keep pace.

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“In this age of unprecedented technological change, we are embarking on an innovative transformation programme to ensure we can continue to keep the country safe from a range of complex threats,” the job advert said. “To do this, we’re creating a team to help drive our transformation across our organisation to ensure we are equipped for our mission now and in the future. We need people who are comfortable with ambiguity, curious about the future and able to adapt to keep us ahead.”

The chief data officer will sit at the head of the head of MI5’s Data Office and will form part of the leadership team spearheading transformation efforts. The successful candidate will be tasked with increasing data skills across the organisation and implementing the standards, policies, and infrastructure needed to support effective use of information.

They will also work closely with data leaders from other organisations “to improve data interoperability with our partners and enable our shared transformation plans”, as well as collaborating with “frontline and corporate services teams” within the Security Service.

The position will be based at MI5 headquarters in London and comes with an annual salary of up to £105,883. Applications close at 11.55pm on 30 July

The advert said. “We are looking for an experienced leader with a background in: maximising the value from data; delivering data maturity; [and] managing change involving complex data and technology interdependencies.”


Sam Trendall

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