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Job Description for SDA Head of Commercial

As part of our Commercial function, you’ll join a diverse team of around 1,000 people who support the successful delivery of defence procurement programmes with real world impact. Equipping and supporting the UK’s armed forces, these programmes range from peacekeeping to disaster relief to humanitarian aid projects – and we’re proud to help deliver them while ensuring compliance and best value.

You’ll benefit from a clear career path with plenty of opportunities for progression, support from colleagues and mentors to develop your career, access to specialist training and funded professional qualifications, and a c.27% employer pension contribution. You’ll also have access to a wide range of employee networks, including the Women’s Inclusive Network, Race & Culture Network, Pride Network, Disability Network – and many more.

We recognise that the best people for the job may have commitments outside of work, so we’re pleased to promote flexible working to support our colleagues in balancing work and home life.

Within the SDA, the Dreadnought Alliance (DNA) came into effect on 1 April 2018 and has been in operation for four years. The programme will deliver the successor to the fleet of Vanguard Class SSBNs ensuring that the Continuous At Sea Deterrent (CASD) is maintained.

On 1 April 2022 the programme entered the next and most significant phase – known as Delivery Phase 3 (DP3) and as a result we are seeking a Head of Commercial to be responsible for a range of commercial business activities with Alliance Partners (BAES, Rolls-Royce, and wider SDA/MOD Delivery Teams).

As the Head of Commercial you will directly support the Alliance Commercial Director in all aspects of Alliance Commercial Business, providing advice, guidance, and direction to the Alliance Programme Team and Partners. This role will involve extensive engagement with multiple functional groups and Partners across the Alliance to gain an understanding of their requirements and how these fit in with the Alliance’s overall aims and objectives.

You will have the responsible for: developing commercial solutions, contract negotiations, placement, and management up to the value of your delegation (the maximum delegation for this grade is £100M.

The Dreadnought programme is Defence’s highest priority programme and Everyday Counts – to have maximum effect in this role you will need to be proactive and focussed on working collaboratively, and comfortable working at pace in a high-tempo environment.

The Alliance Commercial Team has recently undergone a significant reorganisation that brings together the full commercial responsibilities into a single team.  This is an exciting time to join us and will provide you with the opportunity to make a real difference in further developing our capability, through active coaching and mentoring, and driving continual improvement in our operations, knowledge, experience, and staff qualifications.

See the Dreadnought Alliance Website Link=

The role can be either based in Barrow-in-Furness, Derby, MOD Main Building (London) or Bristol, however frequent travel between all locations will be required to support the business needs of the programme.

Open to UK nationals only.Please note some attendance to the stated site may be required for this position.

We strongly recommend tailoring your CV in line with our CV guidance before applying, with specific sections to highlight Key Achievements, Relevant Experience, and Applied Skills & Knowledge.

Responsibilities for SDA Head of Commercial

In this position your responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

• Provide commercial vision and direction to own delivery team to ensure effective delivery of all DN Alliance commercial activities and wider business outputs. Lead a team of commercial practitioners providing coaching, mentoring and development as required.
• Lead the development or, and advise senior commercial staff on, acquisition strategies for Category A – C procurements.
• Lead and oversee major competitive or single source procurements, including the development of commercial models and approaches, complex Invitations To Tender, negotiations and contracts requiring non-standard/ bespoke conditions.
• Negotiate, place and manage contracts and contract amendments up to a maximum delegation of £100M in accordance with set guidelines outlined in the individual’s delegation letter and the MOD policy.
• Manage complex contract portfolio with multiple supply chains. Lead contractor performance management assessments including delivering of contractual obligations.
• Oversee and conduct assurance and due diligence of Commercial activity within own area of responsibility, enforcing adherence to Commercial policy. Participate in Peer Reviews as required.
• Undertake wide ranging communications in a timely manner with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders including Senior Leadership, suppliers and Subject Matter Experts.
• Lead and advise the function in strategic activities related to improvement programmes or functional management.

What you will be assessed against

To be successful with your application you must demonstrate that you meet the following essential criteria:

• Experience of working on large complex contracts
• An excellent collaborative working mindset with strong communications and influencing skills
• A track record of developing optimal commercial solutions and driving innovation in contracting and contract management
• Strong leadership skills with proven experience of / negotiating, / customer management, and / team management

If not already held, if successful you will be supported to undertake the following:

• Level 6/Chartered Status or Equivalent, or a willingness to work towards this by commencing study within one year of appointment. This will be funded and supported by SDA.
• At the appropriate point in your development, attend expert Level Assessment & Development Centre (Associate Commercial Specialist) to demonstrate Government Commercial Function professional standard.

It will also benefit your application if you are able to demonstrate the following desirable criteria:

• Experience of MOD acquisition and contracting
• Experience of working within a major UK investment project, involving both public and private sector organisations
• Knowledge of the UK Defence Sector and Submarines Enterprise
• Experience of working with the Single Source Contracts Regulations

In addition to the responsibilities above, the following technical competencies and behaviours will be assessed at interview:

• Contract Management

• Establishing the Source Strategy

• Leadership

• Delivering at pace

Please click the link below to apply for SDA Head of Commercial by creating an account and upload your details.


Job Details

Job title

SDA Head of Commercial


£72,000 – £78,000 per annum (plus benefits)

Contract type


Business area


Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time



Number of posts


Recruitment Contact

Erin Simmons

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