Secondments and loans

The secondments and opportunities are open to civil servants. You need to direct any questions to the department advertising the post.

Submit a vacancy

You must ensure that you have followed your departmental HR process and Civil Service Resourcing procedures before submitting a vacancy to us.

To advertise a short term secondment via GCS, complete this template (Word 39KB) and send it to

International secondments

The GCS Knowledge & Capability Unit in collaboration with FCO brings together the best of GCS expertise to provide governments and public institutions around the world with the tools and training they need to develop effective and efficient communications.

We offer professional development opportunities to seconded GCS staff supporting international governments in country. A secondment to the Unit will offer you the chance to apply and develop your skills on demanding and worthwhile projects in support of HMG’s objectives overseas.

To register your interest complete this online form, and email us for more information.

GCS secondments and temporary opportunities

Strategic Communications Officer (closing date 26 February 2020)


  • Organisation: Department for International Development
  • Unit name: Climate and Environment Division (CED)
  • Grade: Information Officer (IO)
  • Location: 22 Whitehall, London SW1A 2EG
  • Salary: £37,500
  • Available on promotion: yes

Vacancy description

Climate change is a global challenge. Many of the most fragile and conflict affected states are particularly vulnerable to climate change, with the world’s poorest disproportionately affected. Climate change and environmental degradation have risen rapidly up the agenda domestically and internationally and the next eighteen months are critical to delivering global ambitions to tackle climate change and environmental degradation.

The Department for International Development’s (DFID) Climate and Environment Division (CED) is a new Director led division within Policy Research and Humanitarian and leads on policy, programmes, international engagement and global negotiations in relation to climate change and environment issues. We support developing countries to overcome the barriers to low-carbon development to reduce poverty, respond effectively to the impacts of climate change and protect natural resources – securing current and future development gains.

We are looking to recruit a talented and creative Strategic Communications Officer for a ten-month secondment from 1 April to January 2021 to work as part of a small embedded communications team. This is a great opportunity for a talented and creative IO or high-performing AIO on T/P.

The successful applicant will report into a G7 strategic communications lead and work on a campaign that delivers against DFID’s climate priorities, finding innovative ways to reach our target audiences through a variety of media, digital, stakeholder and partner channels – as well as paid for communications. All of this will be done in the context of broader work to communicate the UK’s leading role in helping to build a healthier, safer and more prosperous world.

The role will involve supporting the development of a clear and consistent campaign message and focus for our climate work, identifying hooks and opportunities throughout the year to ensure that DFID’s climate contributions are well understood across HMG and with our key external audiences.

You will work closely with colleagues across Communications Division, across Whitehall and its partners to support the delivery of communications that will help meet our policy goals as well as for the COP26 Summit. You will help to create momentum for a climate campaign in the run up to COP to support HMG’s policy objectives. Your role will include building support for DFID’s investment in climate change by showing its impact and the vital role of British expertise.

Job profile

  • Support on the development, delivery and evaluation of a strategy and plan that delivers first-class communications for DFID’s climate work.
  • Support on the creation of media, digital and partnership plans – including paid for communications – that ensure the best possible coverage and reach DFID’s Climate work, including COP26.
  • Select and deploy new and innovative channels, tools and partners.
  • Work closely with a wide range of stakeholders, often balancing competing needs, both inside and outside government.
  • Provide expert communications advice to colleagues at all levels across the organisation, including Ministers – being a trusted, expert adviser.
  • Be a vital part of the DFID climate and the wider COP26 team that delivers and manages the Summit, bringing together communication and policy colleagues to deliver seamlessly.

Person specification

You need to be able to show, through your application, that you have the professional skills, breadth of experience and personal qualities for this post. You will be expected to demonstrate specialist core communications competencies as set out in the GCS Competencies framework (Level 2).

Essential communications skills:

  • Excellent written, oral and digital communication skills.
  • Experience within a fast-paced media environment, strategic communications and/or press office function with a keen and well-developed news sense.
  • Some knowledge of how communications can deliver business goals in the UK and overseas, and how to evaluate this in a meaningful fashion.
  • An understanding of all communications channels and how audiences receive and act upon messages.
  • Some experience of working with – and balancing the needs of – a range of internal and external stakeholders.

Civil Service Behaviours:

Seeing the big picture

  • Understanding how CED’s work fits within broader Departmental and XHMG priorities, the wider international aid architecture.
  • Adopting a Government-wide perspective to ensure alignment of CED comms and engagement.
  • Bringing together views and perspectives of stakeholders to gain a wider picture of the landscape surrounding CED comms and engagement.
  • Identify how comms and engagement contributes to wider DFID priorities.
  • Anticipate the long-term impact of comms and engagement.

Delivering at pace

  • Ensure delivery of timely quality outcomes, reviewing and adjusting expectations as required.
  • Manage a range of competing priorities simultaneously and deliver to an appropriate standard.
  • Maintain levels of performance in challenging circumstances and encourage others to do the same.
  • Act promptly to reassess workloads and priorities when there are conflicting demands to maintain performance.

Working together

  • Create, maintain and promote a strong network of contacts across DFID, other government departments and externally.
  • Take inclusive approaches, creating positive and supportive teams taking account of the diverse needs and feelings of other colleagues.
  • Share knowledge and resources across DFID and externally.
  • Engage with a variety of partners and stakeholders.

How to apply

For Expressions of Interest (EoI) or to request further information about this role please contact Tanya Holden, Head of Media Planning Unit, Communications Division, DFID: email, telephone: 0207 023 0350) by Wednesday 26 February.

We will need no more than 500 words on why you would like to be considered for this temporary position. This will be followed by an informal chat.


Acting Head of media (closing date 27 February 2020)


  • Organisation: Department for International Development
  • Unit name: Communications Division
  • Grade: SCS1
  • Location: 22 Whitehall, London SW1A 2EG
  • Salary: £74,000
  • Available on promotion: Yes on temporary promotion

Vacancy description

The Department for International Development (DfID) operates in some of the world’s most challenging environments and leads the UK’s efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and fight the root causes of international issues such as migration, terrorism, disease and corruption. We’re ending the need for aid by creating jobs, unlocking the potential of girls and women and helping to save lives when humanitarian emergencies hit.

Communications Division’s role is to communicate what the UK’s international development work is achieving, to demonstrate how it is firmly in the UK’s interest, and how we are delivering the best value for UK taxpayers.

Are you an experienced Government communicator, with an excellent track record of media delivery and handling? Are you also a Government communicator who is already embracing the realities of this dynamic, digital era? Are you a Government communicator who loves the chance to be able to tell good stories?

If so, then this role could well be for you. DfID is looking to recruit an Acting Head of Media to fill maternity cover from April 2020 to January 2021. This is a great opportunity for a substantive SCS1 or high-performing Grade 6 on T/P.

We are looking for someone who can lead our press, digital and planning teams with ambition and good judgement. You will need to have a strong and sensible tactical eye, but also the strategic sense to see where we can ensure DfID’s key messages are best placed.

That means having a strong understanding of traditional communications markets but an equally strong understanding of where audiences are moving to and how we need to alter our products in order to find them. You will be as comfortable with being in charge of digital production as you are with written press statements, but you will also be aware of the need for very high standards of written product delivery. You will also have a vision for how we can build skills across traditional communications silos. You should have professional development as a primary principle of your leadership ethos.

If you thrive in an exciting and complex environment and can bring experience and ambition to this senior role then we would warmly welcome your application.

Job profile

With responsibility for around 30 people, you will be expected to lead a successful external communications operation covering media handling, digital and social media output, speechwriting, event management, and strategic planning.

You will have a clear idea of how to support the Secretary of State’s objectives and you will be able to provide advice to the Ministerial team and senior policy colleagues. You will also assert the DFID agenda across Whitehall, and represent the Division and the department externally.

It’s essential that you have substantial experience of dealing with Ministers, senior civil servants, and Government advisers. You’ll also have a strong track record in leading communications teams to GCS functional standards.

The successful candidate will have strong organisational skills, and good networks inside Government so that DfID’s voice is heard. It’s also vital that you understand Fusion principles and how DfID contributes to a coherent cross-HMG vision, because DfID is playing an increasingly important role in cross-cutting policy themes such as climate, the environment, girls’ education and trade development.

You will ensure that all members of the media team take responsibility for improving our digital awareness and product delivery, making sure the media team applies OASIS modelling techniques to all our external communications.

Person specification

You will have substantial expertise in handling UK media, both tactically and strategically, and a mature digital perspective. You will also have direct experience of delivering no-cost and low-cost products to achieve communications and campaigns objectives.

Professional expertise:

  • Show a broad range of communication skills, in particular a proven ability to lead and manage external communications to enable and drive Departmental priorities;
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop and maintain successful working relationships with a range of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government;
  • Demonstrate the ability to deliver strategic communications taking account of both proactive and reactive approaches.

Professional leadership:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills demonstrating an impactful and approachable style, and the ability to win respect and build effective relationships with staff and Ministers in DFID;
  • Strong, inspiring management capability, creating an inclusive environment where staff can fully develop and progress and ensure their wellbeing;

Engaging and collaborating:

  • A proven ability to create, maintain and promote strong connections with communications colleagues, Ministers, senior leaders, Special Advisers and other stakeholders in the wider communications network.

Delivering results:

  • Evidence of ability to take responsibility for the successful delivery of communications activity, including anticipating and mitigating risks;
  • Proven management of resources, including identifying and realising no- and low-cost ways of delivering communications through, for example, skills development, stakeholder engagement and partnership working.

How to apply

For Expressions of Interest (EoI) or to request further information about this role please contact Tim Singleton, Director of Communications ( by Thursday 27 February.

We will need no more than 500 words on why you would like to be considered for this temporary position. This will be followed by an informal chat.