Head of Physical Security

Grade: Grade 7

Reference: 360896

Location: Can be based at any Defra office in England

Salary: £52,120 to £64,380

Closing Date: 29 Jul 2024

Are you interested in protecting Defra’s services to provide sustainable support, reliable services, and world class service?

Defra Group Security is looking for a Head of Physical Security to lead the second line of defence function for physical security, providing subject matter expertise for all physical security matters within Defra group, including the assessment and mitigation of security risks in the built environment and for the physical protection of Defra staff.

The role’s primary function is to provide timely, accurate and risk-based advice and guidance to Senior risk owners across Defra group. In this role you will need a good understanding of current security legislation and physical security principles to provide advice on a range of complex and technical matters including Counter Terrorism. You will also be responsible for the oversight, coordination and advice relating to the security and resilience of Defra’s Critical National Infrastructure (CNI).

You will also be responsible for preparing Defra for the introduction of the Protect Duty (Martyn’s Law), expected in 2024, which places additional legal duty on Defra to safeguard individuals accessing our estate.

Please note for this role you will require the higher level of Security Check (SC). Therefore, confirmation of appointment to the advertised post will be dependent upon successful SC clearance being confirmed as part of pre-employment checks.  

Person specification


  • Lead on the development and delivery of a Security Assurance programme for Defra’s 290+ sites on a rolling basis.
  • Provide rigorous assessment of current physical security controls to identify vulnerabilities and make proportionate and evidence-based recommendations for improvement.
  • Engage, advise and influence senior risk owners and Defra group Property, to implement proportional security controls based on assurance activity.
  • Provide leadership in challenging and complex environments to manage assurance of large complex sites within short timeframes.
  • Provide reporting and metrics to inform decision making at the Defra Property Security Management Board and Strategic Security Board.
  • Develop and maintain excellent relationships within the department and with the wider security community to stay up to date with the latest developments in the Security Profession and apply learning to continuously improve Defra’s physical security.
  • Managing contracts with service delivery partners, including the Protective Security Centre, to ensure the effective delivery of the assurance programme.

Skills and experience

  • Have a practitioner level of experience in the delivery of physical security ideally through previous military, police or security industry roles.
  • Have, or can commit to completing, a Level 3 or higher qualification in security.
  • Be committed to professional excellence and continuously developing your skills through your membership to a professional body like the Security Institute.
  • Have an awareness of how to protect Critical National Infrastructure and be familiar with the guidance and methodology produced by the National Protective Security Authority (NPSA).
  • Possess experience in dealing with a wide range of senior stakeholders/senior officials.
  • Have experience of demonstrating effective leadership in motivating others to get the best out of them, ensuring everyone clearly understands their responsibilities and priorities.
  • Be able to communicate effectively across teams and at all levels, including senior managers.
  • Have experience of delivering work on multiple priorities quickly in a fast paced environment.