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Head of Digital Trade


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Darlington, London

About the job


The UK is operating an independent trade policy for the first time in over 50 years. This is a tremendously exciting time to work in DITs Trade Negotiations Group. Trade is an important enabler for growth, and at the heart of the UKs place in the world.

The Digital Trade and Telecoms team is at the cutting edge of that agenda. As the global economy increasingly shifts towards digital, goods, services and information (including data) are moving between countries more frequently, and easily, than ever before. Firms selling goods or providing services digitally have taken local and national markets to a global scale. New markets for digital services continue to expand around the world, from banking, e-payments, online shopping and music streaming. The Digital Trade and Telecoms Teams vision is is for the UK to be a global leader in digital trade, with a network of international agreements that drive investment, productivity and economic growth across the UK. The team delivers that vision through:

-Negotiating modern digital trade and telecoms provisions in Free Trade Agreements and Digital Trade Agreements.
-Working with partners in the World Trade Organization, including leading the UK delegation in the Joint Initiative negotiations on E-Commerce.
-Promoting digital trade standards e.g. through the G7, G20, OECD, Commonwealth, the UN and international standards bodies.
-Pioneering innovative solutions to digital trade through policy development and UK thought leadership, engaging with business, civil society and the rest of Whitehall.

The postholder will work closely with a network of contacts within DIT, across Whitehall and in industry, to drive forward digital trade policy, strategy, and negotiations. This includes policy development, negotiations, stakeholder engagement, and programme management to oversea a complex and fast-paced portfolio of negotiations on digital trade with key partners, including India, GCC, Israel, and at the WTO.

At this level you will be expected to take a strong leadership role to be able to operate effectively within a fast paced and complex programme of activity that is under heavy Ministerial and public scrutiny. This will include representing DITs agenda across Whitehall, including with DCMS, BEIS, and the Cabinet Office, amongst others. This is a fast-moving area and the postholder will be expected to flex their work and priorities to deliver departmental priorities.

As a team, we are committed to diversity and inclusion and achieving the Civil Services ambition to be the most inclusive employer. We are a friendly, supportive, and inclusive group, committed to generating a positive team culture.

Job description

The role would be to have oversight, set strategy and direction for the digital chapter in FTA negotiations with India, GCC and Israel; managing the Chapter Leads for each of these negotiations and deputising where required. This is a negotiations-facing role, directly engaging with the partner Governments on a key priority for these agreements. The applicant will work across the department and Whitehall to agree negotiation positions and strategy. The role is a mix of technical policy making and broad strategic thinking. Set direction, develop policy and strategy for multilateral negotiations on Digital Trade and the World Trade Organisation, including heading up our engagement on the E-Commerce agreement.

The main responsibilities will be:

-Develop digital trade strategy and policy development for bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations. Overseas travel may be required.
-Build a strong network of contacts across DIT and Whitehall and work collaboratively to achieve aims.
-Oversight of the UKs data policy in FTA negotiations and represent DIT on data policy across Whitehall.
-Oversight, strategy and programme management of FTA negotiations with India, GCC, and Israel, and/or others subject to business need.
-Oversight of multilateral negotiations and engagement at the WTO and in other multilateral fora, including the E-Commerce negotiations, Commonwealth Digital Connectivity Cluster, G7/G20, and at UNCTAD.
-Line manage 3 x G7s and a wider team of nine.

The role will be based in either London or Darlington. You will be asked to express a location preference during the application process.
Please be aware that this role can only be worked from within the UK and not overseas.

Hybrid Working

Informal hybrid working arrangements will be available as agreed with the vacancy manager and in line with the requirements of the role.
Most DIT employees will be working a hybrid pattern, spending 2-3 days a week (pro rata) in an office, on average. If your office location is London, you will be eligible to receive London weighting.

Appointments will be made to candidates in merit order based on location preferences

Support in applying for our vacancies is available by joining a virtual Candidate Support Session . These sessions include helpful tips and advice on the recruitment process, from application to interview.


Essential Criteria

- Experience of trade policy and/or trade negotiations
-Track record of strong leadership skills, with experience of leading diverse teams
-Demonstrated track record in successfully influencing across Whitehall
-Demonstrated experience in working successfully with Ministers and senior officials

Desirable Criteria

Experience of digital trade policy
Experience of negotiations in an international environment

Personal Attributes & Skills

The ideal candidate will have excellent leadership skills, and will be able to build a strong network of contacts and work collaboratively to deliver objectives. They will need the resilience to rapidly flex to meet changing priorities while providing clear leadership and direction to their team. They will be able to work comfortably in a complex and technical policy environment, making decisions at pace.

The Digital Trade and Telecoms Team is a collaborative, friendly and diverse team and we particularly welcome applications from diverse groups.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:
  • Leadership
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Making Effective Decisions

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:
  • When writing your personal statement, you should use this as an opportunity to align your experience and skills to demonstrate how you meet the Essential Criteria for the role.


Learning and development tailored to your role
An environment with flexible working options
A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
A Civil Service pension

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is security check .

See our vetting charter .

People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles , and will assess your Behaviours, Experience and Technical skills.

We are closely monitoring the situation regarding the coronavirus, and will be following central Government advice as it is issued. There is therefore a risk that recruitment to this post may be subject to change at short notice. In addition, where appropriate, you may be invited to attend a video interview.

Please continue to follow the application process as normal and ensure that you check your emails regularly as all updates from us will be sent to you this way.

Sift will take place week commencing 17/08/2022.

Interviews will take place week commencing 22/08/2022.

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV, personal statement, behaviour statements.

Please align your CV with previous skills and experience. Maximum of 2 A4 pages.

In your personal statement, please explain your motivation for applying for this role and the extent to which you satisfy the essential and desirable requirements of the role. Maximum word count of 1000 words.

In the event that there is a high volume of applications, a short sift will be conducted based on CV and Personal Statement only.

If successful and transferring from another Government Department a criminal record check may be carried out.

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstances some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing stating the job reference number in the subject heading.

New entrants are expected to join on the minimum of the pay band.

Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening, subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD)..... click apply for full job details

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