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Job description for Head of Submarine Acquisition Portfolio

We are looking to appoint to the Head of Submarine Acquisition Portfolio to lead a team of c.90 personnel based predominantly in Bristol and Barrow-in-Furness.  The post is critical in supporting the SDA to deliver materially available, globally deployable Royal Navy Submarines to meet Defence requirements – both now and into the future.

This is a Senior Leadership Group role that will take overall responsibility for managing the SDA’s relationship with BAE Systems Submarines, integrating across all contracts with the supplier, driving the implementation of the SDA’s Tier 1 Strategy and acting on behalf of Director Submarine Acquisition in the Project Management of the Submarine Build Capability Contract (SBCC).

As such, the role will lead the development of the SDA to BAE Systems business relationship within the framework of the SDA’s Tier 1 Supplier Strategy, and lead implementation of the strategy itself. The SBCC set out to deliver improvements over the previous Foundation Contract and enable the schedule delivery of the Dreadnought, Astute and SSNR programmes.

Responsibilities for Head of Submarine Acquisition Portfolio

The following responsibilities, whilst not an exhaustive list, are required for successful execution of the role:

The role is responsible for:

  • Leading the development of the SDA to BAES business relationship within the framework of the SDA’s Tier 1 supplier strategy.
  • Leading the implementation of the Tier 1 strategy.
  • Leading initiatives to secure improvements in delivery performance.
  • Acting as the SDA lead on the Submarine Build Capability Contract, overseeing, as the contract manager, BAES’ deliverables under that contract.
  • Leading the delivery of security activities across the directorate and, specifically, act as the MOD Responsible Person for Barrow site security, MOD client and asset owner for the SMITE steam machinery test facility.
  • Working with Head Acquisition Finance to develop improved cost consciousness and cost performance within BAES.
  • Providing leadership to the Principal Naval Overseer organisation.
  • Leading the Submarines Acquisition approvals hub to support approval of submissions from across the directorate.
  • Developing and implementing change that will significantly impact the overall organisation and contribute to strategic transformation initiatives both within the SDA, MOD and wider Government.
  • Setting the strategic direction and development of submarines acquisition business.
  • Inspiring our people to achieve the SDA vision, mission and objectives and to deliver key supplier management. They will also have a commitment to provide leadership and decision making within their remit.

Essential Criteria

Please evidence the following 6 Essential Criteria in your Supporting Statement.

  • Extensive experience of working with senior stakeholders and facilitating and influencing decision-making at board level.
  • Leadership and Project Delivery: proven success in leading, aligning and delivering projects in large and complex portfolio/programmes with industry.
  • Ability to determine the best means to develop and deliver solutions to requirements within the context of portfolio objectives and constraints.
  • Experienced in consolidating and documenting the fundamental components of portfolios (scope, schedule, resource requirements, budgets, risks, opportunities and issues, and quality requirements).
  • An ability to lead and develop highly capable cross-functional teams and exert significant influence both within and outside direct line management.
  • Demonstrable commitment to Diversity and Inclusion.

Desirable Criteria

  • Experience in the management and operation of a Nuclear Site and Submarine Construction.
  • Advanced Nuclear Training up to and including NDOC or equivalent.
  • Experience of working within a major UK investment project, involving both public and private sector organisations

The benefits

We’re pleased to offer a generous benefits package to support everything from your work-life balance to your bank balance, including:

  • 25 days’ holiday a year, plus 1 day a year up to 30 days, 8 bank holidays and a day off for the King’s birthday
  • A market-leading employer pension contribution of around 27 percent, an annual performance-based bonus, and recognition awards
  • Flexible and hybrid working wherever possible, to support your work-life balance (though some attendance to the stated site is required)
  • Access to specialist training and funded professional qualifications, with plenty of opportunities and support for progression
  • A huge range of discounts including retail, sports, leisure, restaurants, gifts, days out, holidays, cinema, motoring, insurance, health care, gym memberships, and more
  • Up to six days of paid leave a year for volunteering
  • Enhanced maternity, adoption, and shared parental leave schemes, offering 100% pay for 26 weeks (after a qualifying period)
  • We champion a diverse and inclusive environment, where everyone can be themselves and give their best. We believe that by harnessing the power of different ideas, experiences, and perspectives, we can achieve our ambitions, together. If you have a disability or additional need that requires accommodation, please let us know.
  • Discover more about SDA Benefits and pension schemes.

To apply, please submit your:

  • CV
  • A separate Supporting Statement of no more than 2 pages in a MS Word document providing clear evidence of how you meet the Essential Criteria laid out in the Person Specification (page 12).
  • Applications must be submitted by 23:55 on Monday 2nd January 2023 to with the subject line “Application – Head of Submarine Acquisition Portfolio”.
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Job Details

Job title

Head of Submarine Acquisition Portfolio


£85,000 to £117,800 per annum (Plus benefits)​ with flexibility to appoint beyond this for exceptional candidates.

Contract type


Business area

SDA – Senior Leadership

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time



Number of posts


Recruitment contact

Jenny Ellis – SLG DE&S/SDA Recruitment Manager

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