Job description

The Chief Operating Office (COO) within Defra’s Digital, Data Technology & Security Services (DDTS) are looking to recruit a Head of Digital Sustainability. This is a very exciting, unique and high-profile role given the current sustainability agenda and key role Defra’s DDTS played in the delivery of COP26.

In this role you will work closely with the Office of the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) in Cabinet Office, you will also be responsible for ensuring that the cross-government strategy for sustainable ICT is steered and shaped by global initiatives and best practice and encompasses all government departments and the entire supply chain. In Defra you will drive the development of DDTS strategy for delivering sustainable information and communication technology (ICT) ensuring it is developed in collaboration with wider Defra and in accordance with policies and targets covering all aspects of sustainable IT under the remit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other global strategies.

It’s work with real-world impact! Working as a Head of Sustainability at Defra means supporting delivery of digital services that handle some of the most pressing issues our society faces, including climate change, sustainability, biodiversity, and farming.

If you would like to make a difference and drive meaningful change through innovative digital technologies and contribute to the growth of an exciting and innovative team – we’d like to hear from you!

Person specification


  • Position DDTS as thought pioneers in Sustainable technologies across government and industry, developing our own excellence in Sustainable practices and inspiring others (Defra, OGDs and suppliers) to meet those standards.
  • Be the main ambassador, advocate, and spokesperson on ICT Sustainability across DDTS, industry and wider government, overseeing and orchestrating the activities of the STAR alliance and Defra’s e-Sustainability Alliance.
  • Working across DDTS to develop and drive forward key sustainability initiatives at a function level, and work with the wider Defra Sustainability team to deliver our Digital Sustainability Strategy.
  • Responding to climate change and sustainability disclosure requirements, as well as work with others across the organisation to develop processes for tracking and reporting progress against our strategy and net zero targets.
  • Supporting audits and other sustainability compliance activities, ensuring that DDTS is compliant with various regulations.

Skills and experience

  • Experience in driving strategic changes in how organisations address sustainability, including working with suppliers and diverse internal teams outside of own reporting chain.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, with an ability to communicate with impact through a range of media and the ability to present compelling arguments, advice and engage senior heads, subject matter experts, and global thought leaders.
  • A subject matter expert across all three pillars of sustainability, up to date with current thinking and external debates sustainability in technology along with an in-depth understanding of relevant policies and legislation.
  • Exceptional leadership, stakeholder management, engagement, and influencing skills, comfortable engaging at all levels both inside the organisation, across government and with suppliers.
  • Relevant experience in a sustainable technology environment and / or relevant professional or academic qualifications.

Selection process

The Civil Service marks each element of the selection process on a merit basis. You can visit the gov.uk website for further information on the Civil Service rating scale.

Ensure you have tailored your CV and your Personal Statement to the ‘responsibilities’ and ‘skills and experience’ section of the job advert by providing examples on how you are suitable for the role.  You may find the STAR method helpful when writing your personal statement.

For further information on STAR, you can check out our hints and tips document.