Emergency Services Network seeks £130k commercial bigwig to manage supplier contracts

Written by Beckie Smith on 19 August 2021 in News

Postholder will be asked to ‘create a culture and behaviour change’

Credit: Blogtrepreneur/CC BY 2.0

The government commercial function is hiring a director general to work on the Home Office’s Emergency Services Modernisation Communication Programme – also known as the behind-schedule and over-budget Emergency Services Network programme.

The successful candidate will earn between £91,800 and £131,300 and will be responsible for "managing the lifecycle" of both existing and new "large, complex contracts" that make up the programme.

These contracts have changed frequently over the last few years as the Home Office seeks to replace Airwave, the comms network used by emergency services like police and firefighters in times of crisis, with a new system. Provisions have now been made to maintain the operation of Airwave until 2025, six years later than the original intention to complete the switch to ESN by the end of 2019.

The cost of continuing support for the outgoing network has been pegged by the government at £450m per year. This expense is by far the most significant contributor to hefty increases in the cost of delivering the project, which may now exceed £10bn - about £4bn more than was initially budgeted.

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The programme has been the subject of much criticism, with the Public Accounts Committee saying the department had failed to “get a grip” on whether it could deliver the programme despite extending its budget and deadline multiple times.

The commercial specialist, who will be a deputy director, is expected to "create a culture and behaviour change, both in the commercial function and the business, to ensure we meet our objectives", manage relationships with vendors and champion diversity in their team.

The role is being filled after a review of the programme's governance and management, which led to the Home Office saying it was strengthening oversight of the project at senior level, and recruiting a new SRO.

It is the latest commercial role to be advertised as the function seeks to deliver a "significant step-change in the way we deliver a commercial service" at the Home Office.

Applications for the post are open until 12 September.


About the author

Beckie Smith is acting deputy editor of PublicTechnology sister publication Civil Service World, where a version of this story first appeared. She tweets as @beckie__smith.

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