Government admits failure of bid to recruit chief security officer
Labour MP Jo Platt criticises government ‘incompetence’ as Cabinet Office relaunches bid to appoint someone to head up government security profession
Credit: Innov8Social/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
The Cabinet Office has relaunched its recruitment bid for a new government chief security officer after admitting its first attempt to fill the role failed.
The GCSO position was first advertised six months ago. But, in response to a written parliamentary question from shadow Cabinet Office minister Jo Platt, minister for implementation Oliver Dowden said that “the original recruitment campaign… was unsuccessful".
Dowden said that the Cabinet Office has now relaunched its bid to recruit a new security leader, and is initially looking to appoint “a two-year fixed-term candidate for this role”.
“Following this, a full recruitment exercise will be undertaken to fill this post permanently,” he added.
- How can the public sector manage cyberthreats?
- Next steps for UK cybersecurity: legislation; skills; and security by design
- Lack of cyber skills 'a pressing matter of national security', parliamentary committee finds
The GCSO job was first advertised in May, with an application window that closed on 4 June and final interviews scheduled for early July.
For more than two years – since it was created in July 2016 – the post has been filled by Campbell McCafferty. But earlier this year the Cabinet Office indicated that this had only ever been considered a temporary state of affairs, until the government was ready to fill the role permanently.
Shadow minister Platt criticised the government for its failure to do so to date.
“The chief security officer role is critical for our national security and requires the stability and dedication of a permanent, long-term appointment,” she said. “It is shocking that the government are scrambling around to find a temporary fix after failing to recruit the right person, despite having two years to do so. Tory incompetence has once again undermined the stability our national security needs, and they are failing in their duty to keep Britain safe.”
PublicTechnology contacted the Cabinet Office requesting further details of both the initial unsuccessful recruitment and the new process, as well as clarification on whether McCafferty is still performing the GCSO duties. We were awaiting response at time of going to press.
The GCSO position comes with a remit to serve as government’s top adviser on all security matters and manage overall strategy. The postholder is also the head of the government security profession and has ultimate responsibility for the National Cyber Security Strategy programme and the delivery of Foxhound – a pan-government network for sharing Secret-classified information currently being constructed by the Cabinet Office.
The job advert posted in May characterised the role as “probably the biggest and most important security job in the UK today”.
With the Online Safety Bill now published, former police superintendent Iain Donnelly writes for PublicTechnology on the challenges that need to be overcome in order to ensure the law’s...
London Grid for Learning floats potential nine-year deal
Home secretary tells conference that complying with demands will only encourage criminals
Role comes with £100k-plus pay packet and remit to help lead transformation programme
PublicTechnology talks to Salesforce about why police forces need to adopt new omnichannel capabilities, offer the public channel choice and the benefits of doing so