So, you want my job? Deputy director business partnerships at the Government Communication Service

PRWeek takes a sidelong look at recruitment in public sector comms. Do you fancy Shevaun Haviland's job as deputy director business partnerships in the Government Communication Service?

The most important quality is to be able to build strong mutual relationships, says Shevaun Haviland
The most important quality is to be able to build strong mutual relationships, says Shevaun Haviland
Shevaun Haviland

Deputy director business partnerships, Government Communication Service

Salary band?
Cabinet Office SCS1: minimum- £65,000, maximum- £117,800

What qualifications do you need? 
The main qualification you need is the ability to manage and partner with business CEOs and Whitehall’s leaders, while setting a strategy for the Business Partnerships team. Oh, and lots of resilience.

What level of experience do you need? 
Ideally you will have worked in the private sector and have a strong understanding of the needs of business. Namely, how a business works and how they make decisions. I have worked on both agency side and large corporates, having run a tech start-up and managed a corporate foundation. This gave me insight into almost every type of business, which has proved very helpful in this role. Managing brand strategy in a large corporate like the Walt Disney Company also helped me to begin learning how a huge organisation like Whitehall works – but that’s an ongoing challenge.

Is previous experience in a public sector comms role necessary/useful? 
Previous public sector experience is not necessary. I came from the private sector into Government two years ago. But it is always useful to know how to quickly navigate the machine. My team come from a variety of backgrounds; from long-term public sector, to charities, trade associations and big business. The most important quality is to be able to build strong mutual relationships that can help make a difference. For example, good account directors from an agency would love this job.

What are the day-to-day challenges? 
Our job is about bringing the voice of business into the centre of Government to help inform early policy innovation. This means I am involved in several different projects at one time. Alongside this, I also meet with business partners and colleagues from across Government regularly – so my main challenge is juggling the many different demands on my time. 

What is the best part of the job? 
Easy. The amazing variety and brilliant people I get to meet every week. I also feel incredibly proud of the work that my team does to bring business, civil society and Government together to tackle some of the challenges our society faces today. From mental health to the impact of AI, to getting the right jobs for our young people – it’s only by collaborating and forming these partnerships that we will build a more inclusive economy. 

What are the most unusual facts you know as a result of the job? 
Who knew there were so many fascinating jobs in the public sector? I would recommend that everyone should give it a try at some point in their career, and did you know you can take a tour of the Houses of Parliament any day of the week? It’s fascinating, I highly recommend visiting.

If you get an interview do say? 
"I’ve researched the team and role and learned….." or "I’m really excited about this role because…" or even "Give me a problem and I’ll find a solution…."

If you get an interview don’t say? 
I once asked someone to tell me about their key weakness/development opportunities. After giving it some thought they said they couldn’t think of any. Seriously?! That’s an ‘interview 101’ question! 

If you are good at this job you might also be suited to? 
My job requires a mixture of people skills combined with strategic and innovative thinking, plus the ability to navigate a complex management system. But generally speaking there are three skills that will take you far in your career: communication, critical thinking and resilience. If this is something that you are good at, it is worth looking for roles within the civil service that centre on business engagement.

Please note: Interviewees for 'So, you want my job' are not leaving their current role

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