‘No ordinary IT department’ – spy agencies seek tech strategy chief

Role at GCHQ comes with remit to work across intelligence community as part of a shared-service unit that received a big boost in resources in the spending review

Credit: Adrian Pingstone/Public domain

A senior manager is being sought to set the IT strategy for the UK’s intelligence agencies.

The post as director of strategy, portfolio and partnerships sits within a shared IT organisation that was established within GCHQ in 2019 to serve not only the cyber and signals intelligence outfit, but also the UK’s two other intelligence and security agencies: MI5 and MI6.  The tech unit also offers support to “many other government departments where there is a requirement for operating at Top Secret”.

The job advert said that, since its creation three years ago, the division has “successfully transitioned from three agency IT teams into one business unit”. The shared organisation now employs more than 2,000 technology professionals and supports 30,000 users across the intelligence community.

The recent spending review endorsed its shared services model with a “substantial increase in resources” that will help to support the IT unit in delivering a “a major transformational shift in our ways of working”, the advert added. 

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“SR21 places our shared IT services at the heart of the digital transformation of national security,” it said. “We will provide the hybrid cloud digital platform for collaboration at higher security classifications and at Official Sensitive.”

The strategy director role comes with a salary of between £99,000 and £124,000, and a remit to lead the shared IT unit “through the transformation to become the modern, digital technology and platform provider underpinning all the agencies that keep the UK safe and secure”.

“It is no ordinary IT department,” the advert said. “We deliver large-scale platforms, unique intelligence capabilities and substantial organisational change. You will enjoy a range of opportunities, from the familiar to the unusual, and will be operating across a global enterprise.”

Key responsibilities of the position will include managing a budget of “several hundred million pounds” a year and using it to “build a portfolio of strategic investments to underpin collaboration and the digital transformation of national security”.

The postholder will also serve as the senior responsible owner for “a number of complex deliveries within that portfolio, such as establishing a new hybrid cloud infrastructure, complex building fit-outs and novel technology solutions”. The successful applicant will also “own the relationship” between the intelligence services and “major cloud providers”.

The role is open to UK nationals only and requires the successful completion of a developed vetting process – the most stringent level of government vetting, typically only applied to roles involving frequent access to Top Secret information.

Applications are open until 11pm on 20 February.


Sam Trendall

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