81947 - Deputy Principal Private Secretary

£58,847 - £66,670
12 Months
Grade 7
Grade 7
Full Time
Administration / Corporate Support, Communications / Marketing, Secretarial, Strategy

Office of the Secretary of State for Wales
Job Description for Deputy Principal Private Secretary

Job Title Deputy Principal Private Secretary

Pay Grade Grade 7

Salary £58,847 - £66,670 – London (plus £8,271 pa Private Secretary allowance)

Location Gwydyr House, Whitehall, London

Reports to Principal Private Secretary

Contract Permanent

Clearance SC (See Additional Information)

Point of Contact



This is a challenging, high-profile and rewarding role as Deputy Principal Private Secretary (DPPS) at the Wales Office, working directly with the Secretary of State, Ministers and Special Advisers (SpAds). The postholder will take on a significant leadership role in the Department deputising for the Principal Private Secretary from time to time, leading the Private Office, Strategy and Business Support teams.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales is the face of the UK Government in Wales and the voice of Wales in Westminster. We support the Secretary of State for Wales and the Ministerial team in representing Wales at the heart of Government. With offices in London and Cardiff, we work in partnership with other Government Departments and stakeholders to deliver a stronger Wales within a strong and prosperous United Kingdom.

About the Job

As Deputy Principal Private Secretary (DPPS) you are a key link between Ministers and the Department. In this role you will need to get to grips with complex issues across a range of policy and communications areas, using your judgement to provide effective briefings to Ministers to support their decision making. It is a fast-paced, dynamic, and challenging environment so strong planning and organisational skills with a willingness to work flexibly are all essential.

Given the nature of the role, it is London based and full time. You will also need to be prepared to work some evenings and weekends as part of a Private Office rota, and as such this role attracts a Private Secretary allowance currently set at £8,271.

Key responsibilities

  • Deputise for the Principal Private Secretary as needed.
  • Line manage a high-performing team based in London and/or Cardiff.
  • Ensure the smooth and efficient running of the Private Office, building and sustaining a high-performing, inclusive and resilient team of Private Secretaries, diary managers and business support staff.
  • Lead on a portfolio of policies and priorities, ensuring the department provides cohesive advice to Ministers and that their direction is translated into clear and concrete actions for officials to take forward.
  • Work with colleagues to build comprehensive Ministerial engagement programmes – including visits, roundtables, and events – across Wales and internationally, ensuring Ministers have solid support from private office, comms, and policy to make the most of the opportunities.
  • Build strong internal relationships with Ministers, SpAds and departmental teams, and externally across UK and Welsh Governments, and with key stakeholders to gain credibility for the Secretary of State and Department.
  • Assume a wider corporate leadership role within the Department, including oversight of the secretariat for one of the Departmental Boards and as a member of the Leadership Engagement Team.
  • Regularly review processes to ensure they are efficient, fit for purpose and maintain a high quality of service.
  • Acting as a leader within the Private Office, help to develop the right culture and behaviours and support individuals to do well in their roles.
  • Be a visible team player by pitching in and helping out with whatever might need doing around the office.

The job description is not intended to be exhaustive, and it is likely that duties may be altered from time to time in the light of changing circumstances and after consultation with the postholder.

Person Specification

Please evidence how closely you match the essential criteria in your Statement of Suitability.

Essential Criteria:

  • Exceptional interpersonal and management skills, with the ability to understand different perspectives.
  • Proven experience of working effectively with Ministers and senior officials, with a strong ability to influence and work collaboratively at all levels to resolve difficult issues.
  • Experience of problem solving and acute political awareness.
  • Proven experience of translating ministerial priorities into sound engagement opportunities in collaboration with policy and communications professionals.
  • Strategic and creative thinker, recognising where improvements can be made and implementing them.
  • Excellent organisational and prioritisation skills, with the ability to work effectively across a range of tasks and under pressure.
  • Strong management experience, including ability to organise yourself and your team’s workload, showing initiative and proactivity.
  • Proven experience of identifying and implementing continuous improvement.

Desirable Criteria:

  • Previous experience working directly with Ministers.
  • A background in communications and/or policy.
  • An understanding of constitutional affairs and devolution in Wales, including the political system and work of the Welsh Government.
  • Spoken and written competency in the Welsh language.

Recruitment Process

This campaign will be undertaken using the Civil Service Success Profile framework. You will need to provide evidence in your application to cover the following behaviours:

  • Leadership (Lead Behaviour) (Application & Interview)
  • Seeing the Big Picture (Interview Only)
  • Communicating and Influencing (Interview Only)
  • Delivering at Pace (Interview Only)

Additional Information

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales is not an employer in its own right. Staff recruited to work at the OSSW will be employees of the Ministry of Justice who provide employment services on our behalf.

This role requires SC level clearance. Applicants for National Security Clearance (SC) must be resident in the UK for 5 years immediately prior to their application for Security Clearance. If you have spent significant time abroad (a total of 6 months in the past 3 years), you would be required to give a reasonable account of the reasons why.

If you do not meet the above requirement, you may still be considered for the role if, for example:

  • You have been serving overseas with HM Armed Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of HM Government.
  • You were studying abroad.
  • You were living overseas with parents.


G7 Private Secretary Allowance of £8,271 

Working Arrangements & Further Information

The MoJ offers Hybrid Working arrangements where business need allows. This is an informal, non-contractual form of flexible working that blends working from your base location, different MoJ sites and / or from home (please be aware that this role can only be worked in the UK and not overseas). Some roles will not be suitable for Hybrid Working. Similarly, Hybrid Working will not suit everyone’s circumstances. Arrangements will be discussed and agreed with the successful candidate(s) and subject to regular review.

For nationally advertised roles, the successful candidate(s) will be appointed to a MoJ office location, which may include their nearest Justice Collaboration Centre or Justice Satellite Office. This will be discussed and agreed on the completion of pre-employment checks.

Some of MoJ’s terms and conditions of service are changing as part of Civil Service reform. The changes will apply to staff joining MoJ who are new to the Civil Service. Staff joining MoJ from other civil service employers will transfer onto the new MoJ terms if they are already on 'modernised' terms in their current post or onto 'unmodernised' MoJ terms if they are on 'unmodernised' terms at their current post. Details will be available if an offer is made.

MoJ candidates who are on a specialist grade, will be able to retain their grade on lateral transfer.

All candidates who are currently in receipt of Mark Time / Pay Protection should ensure they are familiar with the new policy on permanent and temporary promotion which can be found on the employee intranet.

Flexible working hours

The Ministry of Justice offers a flexible working system in many offices.


The MoJ offers a range of benefits:

Annual Leave

Annual leave is 25 days on appointment and will increase to 30 days after five years’ service.

There is also a scheme to allow qualifying staff to buy or sell up to three days leave each year. Additional paid time off for public holidays and 1 privilege day. Leave for part-time and job share posts will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.


The Civil Service offers a choice of pension schemes, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best.


The Ministry of Justice is committed to staff development and offers an extensive range of training and development opportunities.


The opportunity to join employee-run networks that have been established to provide advice and support and to enable the views of employees from minority groups to be expressed direct to senior management. There are currently networks for employees of minority ethnic origin, employees with disabilities, employees with caring responsibilities, women employees, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.


  • A range of ‘Family Friendly’ policies such as opportunities to work reduced hours or job share.
  • Access to flexible benefits such as voluntary benefits, retail vouchers and discounts on a range of goods and services.
  • For moves to or from another employer or moves across the Civil Service this can have implications on your eligibility to carry on claiming childcare vouchers. You may however be eligible for alternative government childcare support schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. More information can be found on GOV.UK or Childcare Choices. You can determine your eligibility at https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.
  • Paid paternity, adoption and maternity leave.
  • Free annual sight tests for employees who use computer screens.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles. Should you feel that the recruitment process has breached the recruitment principles you are able to raise a formal complaint in the following order

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As a Disability Confident employer, MoJ are committed to providing everyone with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, talent and abilities, by making adjustments throughout all elements of the recruitment process and in the workplace. MoJ are able to offer an interview to disabled candidates who meet the minimum selection criteria, except in a limited number of campaigns.

You will be able to request reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process within the application form. If you need additional help completing the application form, please contact the SSCL Recruitment Enquiries Team.

We encourage applications from people from all backgrounds and aim to have a workforce that represents the wider society that we serve. We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice. We champion diversity, inclusion and wellbeing and aim to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and a sense of belonging. To find out more about how we do this visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice/about/equality-and-diversity.

Interviews expected early to mid January.

14/12/2023, 23:55 hours.

For job specific queries, please contact Sarah.Jennings@ukgovwales.gov.uk  

If you require any assistance please call 0345 241 5359 (Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm) or e mail Moj-recruitment-vetting-enquiries@gov.sscl.com 

Please quote the job reference - 81947.

Security Clearance (SC)

To apply for roles in MOJ you will need to confirm your employment history for at least 3 years prior to the date of application so that pre-employment checks (BPSS) can be undertaken. If you have spent significant time abroad (a total of 6 months in the past 3 years) you would be required to give a reasonable account of the reasons why. 

For some roles you will be required to successfully complete National Security Vetting at Counter Terrorism (CTC), Security Clearance (SC) or Developed Vetting (DV) level as a condition of appointment. To meet CTC/SC/DV requirements you will normally need to have been resident in the UK for at least 3/5/10 years prior to the date of application (The level of checks that are required are stated in the advert).

If you do not meet the above requirements, you may still be considered if, for example:

  • You've been serving overseas with HM Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of HM Government
  • You were studying abroad
  • You were living overseas with parents

In such cases you will need to be able to provide referee cover for the period(s) of residence overseas. The duration of overseas residence and the country of abode will also be taken into account.

Success Profiles will enable a fairer and more inclusive method of recruitment by enabling us to assess the range of experiences, abilities, strengths, behaviours and technical/professional skills required for different roles. This flexible approach to recruitment focuses more on finding the right candidate for the specific role. To find out more about Success Profiles to support your application please click here for further guidance.

if you feel that your application has not been treated in line with the Civil Service Recruitment Principles, please contact SSCL (Moj-recruitment-vetting-enquiries@gov.sscl.com) in the first instance

We have provided detail of the assessment stages and areas being assessed to help you prepare for completing your application form, and to advise of what will be assessed following this, if you successfully pass the application stage.

Application form stage assessments

Leadership - 500 word limit
Statement of Suitability - 1000 word limit
A sift based on the lead behaviour, Leadership, may be held if a large number of applications are received. If a large number of applications remain after the initial sift, your application will be progressed to a full sift, where all behaviours will then be considered.

Interview stage assessments

There is 1 interview stage for this vacancy.
Seeing the Big Picture
Communicating and Influencing
Delivering at Pace
Any candidate who has been assessed as being appointable to the role they applied for may be offered a similar, lower grade role, if one is available. Furthermore, any candidate who has just missed meeting the criteria for a particular role, may be appointed to a similar role at a lower grade if such a role is available, and if they have been assessed as meeting the criteria for the lower grade role. These appointments will also be made in merit order.

A Great Place to Work for Veterans

The "Making the Civil Service a Great Place to work for veterans" initiative includes a guaranteed interview scheme to those who meet the minimum criteria to provide eligible former members of the Armed Forces with opportunities to secure rewarding jobs. Allowing veterans to continue to serve their country, and to bring highly skilled individuals with a broad range of experience into the Civil Service in an environment, which recognises and values your previous service in the Armed Forces.
For further details about the initiative and eligibility requirements visit : https://www.gov.uk/government/news/making-the-civil-service-a-great-place-to-work-for-veterans

Redeployment Interview Scheme

Civil Service departments are expected to explore redeployment opportunities before making an individual redundant. The MoJ are committed, as part of the Redeployment Interview Scheme, to providing opportunities to those who are 'at risk of redundancy'.

MoJ are able to offer an interview to eligible candidates who meet the minimum selection criteria, except in a limited number of campaigns. Candidate's will not be eligible for the Redeployment Interview Scheme if they are applying on promotion.

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

· UK nationals

· nationals of the Republic of Ireland

· nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK

· nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities with settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window) https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

· nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities who have made a valid application for settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)

· individuals with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain who were eligible to apply for EUSS on or before 31 December 2020

· Turkish nationals, and certain family members of Turkish nationals, who have accrued the right to work in the Civil Service

Further information on nationality requirements (opens in a new window) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nationality-rules

This Vacancy is closed to applications.