Defra creates senior leadership role to drive automation of HR processes

Environment department advertises position for human resources professional to spearhead work to adopt technology and digital processes during hiring and in the provision of staff support services

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has created a managerial position for a senior leader to spearhead work to drive automation of the organisation’s human resources operations.

The role as head of HR automation comes with an expected annual salary of £73,000 and a remit to help the department’s HR unit in “leveraging technology to streamline what we do and how we do it, ensuring we take full account of all the users of our services”.

The successful candidate will lead the consultation process – and subsequent development – of a digital strategy for Defra HR, the key aims of which will be to “ensure the strategic alignment of all areas of HR improvement with a focus on automation and digitisation”.

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The job advert added: “Head of HR automation is a newly created role for Defra Group, responsible for leading the shift to a modern, digitally driven group HR function. We aim to provide all Defra’s staff with an excellent, technology-enabled HR experience, with services that are simple, quick and allow for the provision of high-quality people data.” 

Reporting to the deputy director for HR operations, the postholder will lead a “team of project and subject-matter professionals”.  Applications for the role are open until 11.55pm on 20 August.

The digital strategy delivered by the successful candidate should also set out ways to “join up HR automation with activity across Defra Group Corporate Services, with Defra’s partner departments in the [shared services] Synergy Cluster and the wider civil service convergence programme”. 

Synergy – which houses Defra, the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, and Department for Work and Pensions – is one of five shared services clusters that, over the coming years, will each standardise on back-office software infrastructure. The cluster recently published a procurement notice seeking market feedback ahead of its intention to sign long-term contracts worth more than £1bn with its chosen providers of software and tech-integration services.

Sam Trendall

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