Business Manager and Private Secretary

Department for International Trade Logo
Closing Date: 05/10/2022
Contract Permanent
Working Hours Flexible, Full Time, Part Time
Location Darlington
Salary £34,425 - £44,033
Company Department for International Trade

Job Description

As a Business Manager and Private Secretary, you will directly support the Director(s) to deliver their objectives within the Goods, Regulatory Environment and Gulf (GREG) Directorate, and take a leadership role yourself. You will be a critical bridge between your Directors, policy teams, business managers and other teams across the Department, including at Senior Civil Service level.

The role presents an excellent opportunity to gain experience working closely with Senior Civil Servants in a fast-paced environment. Key elements to this role are:

  1. Personal leadership – we are really keen for the person in this role to do more than just support the Directors and lead themselves in making the Directorate a great place to work
  2. Policy support to Directors – we cover some of the most important aspects of trade policy as well as an active trade negotiation and we want you to advise us and help us make linkages and interact with the Directorate on their work
  3. Business and Corporate – you will lead on various aspects of finance and HR

You will also manage the Executive Assistant to the Directors who leads on the diary, and you can delegate functions to this role too.

We hope this represents a great opportunity for you – it will help you develop your understanding of the big picture, especially in respect to leadership, trade negotiations and a broad range of trade policy issues. Although certain responsibilities are expected, the role allows a certain amount of flexibility for you to help shape the role and specialise in particular policy areas and balance between the different functions.

Job description


We want GREG to be a happy, high performing Directorate, and we want this role to be at the core of making that happen. As well as advising and supporting the Directors, we want this role to take personal responsibility for diagnosing key challenges and then, working with and through others, to deliver practical change. This could be in terms of leading the response to the annual staff survey; communicating with others in the Directorate to discern what improvements should be made; convening and leading a work stream to deliver change; building on establishing the directorate’s identity by leading corporate work streams, management of MS Teams channels and having a positive attitude to ad hoc requests from the team; or driving forward the objectives of the Director/directorate on key corporate issues (in year rewards, establishing the team’s vision, and improving the directorate as a place to work).

Policy & Coordination

Work on behalf of the Directors to ensure effective coordination and implementation of the work of the directorate. Establish relationships with teams within the directorate and across the department to be a point of contact for commissions, ensure work has met appropriate processes and clearance, identify points of cross-cutting coordination.

Drive forward the Director’s policies by being an effective channel of communication for the Director with teams across the Directorate and the department. Organise opportunities for Directors to communicate with teams and the directorate through regular Huddles or other communications.

Ensure effective delivery and outputs for senior management meetings through coordination of agendas, actions and briefings.

Ensure effective management of Director resources – including inbox, OneNote, organisation and identification of priority items.

Have line management responsibility for the diary manager and oversee efficient running of the Director’s diaries (identifying appropriate attendees, materials required and coherence with priorities).

Develop an understanding of the core areas of work across the directorate and how they intersect with the wider objectives of the department and the broader political context.

Business and Corporate

Have responsibility for inputs in varied cross-directorate business support areas, working with the Finance Business Partner and HR Business Partner and providing robust advice to the Directors. This includes:

  • Finance Forecasting
  • HR management, Orgvue, recruitment processes
  • Reward and Recognition
  • Performance Management support
  • Leading the content for directorate senior management team meetings

Hybrid Working

The role will be based in either Darlington or London. 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.

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.


Essential Criteria

  • Experience of working in a fast-paced environment with the ability to juggle multiple priorities at once
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills
  • Strong organisational skills and ability to prioritise competing demands

Desirable Criteria

Any experience of covering or working in a Private Office and with SCS; working on trade, negotiations or international issues; or experience working on HR or business support issues would be helpful but we are open minded about the different backgrounds and experience that could allow someone to thrive in this role.

Person Specification

Flexibility and strong organisational skills will be vital to manage your day-to-day role with its competing demands on your time. You should be comfortable working with senior civil servants, with a good degree of independence. As the first point of contact for many looking for advice or support, your communication style will have a strong bearing on delivering your role.

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.


We’ll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Making Effective Decisions
Apply Now!

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