back to article Like a challenge in a high profile 'face-of-IT' role? Welcome to the Home Office

For the brave – or perhaps foolhardy – senior IT jobs hunters there is an opening at the UK Home Office for a Deputy Director of IT Operations in a lovely '70s era highrise in Croydon. For a salary of between £71,000 and £85,000, the lucky candidate will be furnished with the opportunity of deciding which fire to try to put …

  1. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Serious question, would anyone here reading 'El Reg have a go at applying for this job? At least there would be a reasonably good chance that someone who reads The Register would do a pretty good job compared to anyone they found in the wild. Would anyone here consider going for it, if not, why not?

    1. Outski

      Between £71,000 and £85,000 for that poisoned chalice? Hell, no

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I was earning that back in 2007 and significantly more since, so also not interested.

      2. Muppet Boss

        >Between £71,000 and £85,000 for that poisoned chalice? Hell, no

        Looks like not enough to die for but might attract a suitably qualified blame gamer.

    2. Bibbit

      One good reason not to

      Priti Patel.

      1. Adrian 4

        Re: One good reason not to

        Arrogant and offensive

        Can you imagine having to work with these truth twisters?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One good reason not to

        > Priti Patel.

        The role is deputy director, not director, IT Ops so you probably wouldn't have to deal with her directly.

        I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool ops person so don't have the CV nor the inclination to go for it but I would suspect the main issue would be, as a deputy, you get to do all the hard work trying to implement policies and not much of the fun of setting them.

        1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

          Re: One good reason not to

          Yes not an easy job by any stretch and seemingly not particularly well remunerated for the challenges ahead. But still, I'd take a job on the implementation side rather than the paper shuffling and Government stakeholder manglement side any day of the week.

        2. Cuddles

          Re: One good reason not to

          "I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool ops person so don't have the CV nor the inclination to go for it"

          I certainly don't have the CV for it, but it's hard to see how I could make things any worse.

      3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: One good reason not to

        Indeed. Just ask Sir Philip Rutnam.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One good reason not to

        I still can't get over the thought that someone who has navigated the halls (and hells) of Westminster to become a top civil servant is scared of Priti Patel.

        The media must have been having fits trying to figure out how to spin the tale of a poor innocent foreign girl being bullied by an Old White Man into something that makes the Great Unwashed feel sorry for Sir Philip Rotten while demonising someone from a group they normally cast as completely defenceless...

        As for the idiots applauding the bloody nose handed to Boris Johnson and the Tory Party, think on this - where does The Government get "their" money from? I'm not sure who disgusts me the most - Sir Philip for not doing the job he is paid to do and whining like a little baby when called out for it, the media for making him seem like some poor victim of a terrible monster, or the idiot public who think this is any sort of justice and that he deserves his payout.

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          "a poor innocent foreign girl"

          Priti Patel was born in London, England.


        2. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

          Re: One good reason not to

          OK Al. We heard you and she doesn't want you to fire her.

    3. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

      Part of me would like this job

      But, it would involve desperately tring to bring outsourced providers to do what they were contracted to do and having them say - sure for another £xM. Then you would have Priti Vile shouting at you for being a useless whatever for not being like a go getting private sector worker. A suggestion that, just perhaps, the service could be delivered more efficiently (or at all) in house would probably earn you the sack.

      Beer because the person that does get it is going to need lots of them.

      1. John G Imrie

        Re: Part of me would like this job

        So negotiate a golden good by on the grounds that to and Priti Vacant have an opperational disagreement

    4. jbuk1

      It's local to me so I'd be tempted but it would need to pay about 3 or 4 times what they're offering.

    5. Ben Tasker

      Not a chance.

      Too little pay for the responsibility attached, not to mention the extremely high level of grief that comes with it (well described in the article).

      And that's before you even begin to consider the minister you'd be working for. Even if Priti left, my understanding from various people in the know is that Home Office are horrible employers in a multitude of ways.

      TL:DR Other places pay better, for less grief and you're less likely to get persecuted by a midget on a power trip

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        The job of Boris' mouthpiece"The Prime Minister's Press Secretary" pays more at a purported £100K.

        As it is inspired by the White House press briefings, let's see if Allegra Stratton will follow the play book of Kayleigh McEnany or the current incumbent Jen Psaki.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You need not to be too clever and not care.

      Most engineers care more about the solution than money, so not good for them. There are plenty of people who like the title of a role and will do anything to keep it, especially if 80k is around. They'll get the job. Visio up a strategy paper and expect an underling to know how stuff works.

      I've done these sort of roles where every day you come home with a headache, everyone is unhappy, even if you have a good day you frown on the way home in the car. Some things you cant ever get on top of.

      Yeah, not one for me!

    7. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      It would need 3-4x the pay, and I'd budget to be in the position for (at most) 6 months. That way I wouldn't get too attached to any of the projects which will undoubtedly fail.

    8. MyffyW Silver badge

      For probably twice the money on offer and on the condition I could work from my fair corner of this sceptre'd isle I'd consider this job, if only because I'd get a vicarious thrill from having my staff disable Priti's AD account at random intervals and providing increasingly Perrin-esque excuses.

      "Twenty-two minutes late, escaped puma, Chessington North"

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sure I would.

      If they guaranteed me a golden parachute and anonymity. I don't want public sector work creating a shit stain on my CV, who does? I've done freelance work interviewing candidates for IT jobs before working in a pair or a trio. If I've learned anything it's that public sector work on your CV is AIDS in tech.

      I'd rather they acknowledged me as a 1 year freelance contractor after they inevitably fire me in a year.

      Wouldn't necessarily take the job if they offered it though, but I would be curious to see how easy it is to get an offer.

      1. Outski

        If I could downvote you twice, I would, firstly for your aspersions on public sector workers, many of whom are highly competent but appallingly paid and treated by the civil service compared to their private sector brethren, and secondly for deeming HIV/AIDS positivity in a co-worker as a thing to be avoided at all costs. In case you hadn't noticed, this isn't the 1980s anymore.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Having worked in the pseudo public sector (a university) for a very long time (until I finally couldn't take the bulls* anymore) I would agree but say that whilst there are often some good technical people, they are frequently surrounded and crushed on all sides by incompetency, apathy, negligence, and all the other bad stuff. Most of these latter are perfectly nice people, but totally unsuited or disinterested in their jobs.

          Anyone with any sense (me, eventually, but I should have done it ten years or more earlier) leaves and gets a better paid private sector job. What's left is the incompetent management covering their arses against the won't leave, can't leave, useless unemployable (in IT) technical staff, whilst desperately empire building and squashing the competent staff who make them look bad by pointing out all the things they're doing wrong.

          You can see why directors like to outsource whole departments just to get rid of this kind of mess. There's no way you can unpick it, and trying to prod the useless staff into any kind of acceptable performance, or get rid of them, is far too time consuming. You can't even reward the few good staff because HR don't allow it.

          1. Outski

            I left a central government department because I could see that I had a very limited career development path, unless I wanted to move into management (I didn't). Otherwise, the highest grade I'd be able to get to was HEO. There were some very able permanent tech staff who were motivated more by long term stability than I was (I left to join a small consultancy when I was 27, those staying were generally 40+).

    10. Iad Uroboros's Nemesis

      I think most El Reg readers wouldn't be able to do the job...without going on a serious set of (expensive) courses, learning how to shrug and say "oh well, never mind, it will just cost another £22b and take another 20 years".

    11. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      For that salary? I think ill pass. I'd need another 100k just to work in Croydon.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was thinking much the same, that’s a lot of responsibility for not much money.

    1. Muppet Boss

      Surely this could not happen in modern times that they are looking for a modestly paid whipping boy?

  3. RGE_Master



  4. Scott Broukell

    Arse about face!

    Things are the wrong way round! May I suggest that in future (starting from now), the NAO and Public Accounts Committee et al, are allowed a period sufficient for them to very closely examine all such projects as they are initially presented on paper! Through comparison and learning from past mistakes they can then determine which ones are going to fail / drag on a bit too long, Then, with the help of those 'at the coal face' who will actually live-with and/or work with the outcomes of said project, they can demand further details and costs be fleshed out, until all parties arrive at a final project description which, for once, has a close relationship with reality and, furthermore, wherein the contractors can actually be held to account before the whole shebang just gets all out of shape and drains the public purse to excess, again, and agian and again. Just a thought.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Just a thought.

      When can you start?

    2. Naselus

      Re: Arse about face!

      Never make the mistake of believing that value for money or accountability are remotely important objectives for government contracts, when the real purpose is generally 'how many jobs will this make in reasonably marginal constituencies'.

      The job in question is 'person who gets the blame for the terrible contract Priti selected to create 3k IT jobs for unemployed coal miners in Sunderland'.

    3. Commswonk

      Re: Arse about face!

      May I suggest that in future (starting from now), the NAO and Public Accounts Committee et al, are allowed a period sufficient for them to very closely examine all such projects as they are initially presented on paper! Through comparison and learning from past mistakes they can then determine which ones are going to fail / drag on a bit too long,

      Nice idea, but I greatly doubt if it would work because neither "oversight" body would be able to tell if what was being asked for / promised was technically possible at the time. Bidders always promise that everything is "easy" (or perhaps "oven - ready" is the prefered phrase now) even when it isn't.

      If this new job has the ESN as part of its brief then anyone reading this should keep well away from it. It might be a cliché but the only viable description is "poisoned chalice". A friend of mine sent me a section from Police Oracle on the latest position, and it does not make for happy reading. I would provide a link but it's behind a pay wall.

      I will just quote one sentence as an example:

      That means that the project will have to procure some non ruggedised devices or possibly adapt some existing Airwave handsets for use at the start of the proper roll out once the Airwave system is finally switched off.

      Anyone who believes that an existing TETRA handset can be adapted to work on the ESN "just like that" clearly has no idea about operating on wildly different frequencies, never mind other technical differences.

      Who will have the courage to tell Priti Patel that it is not going to work on any sensible timescale? If it was as "oven ready" as all that why isn't it working now?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Non-Aryans need not apply

    I don't look Aryan enough to be allowed to work for the Home Office. Otherwise still a no from me.

  6. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Well .. I'd

    Love to, previous public sector work.. lots of private sector experience, Qualifications in IT (we'll leave the killer robots out of it for now), its a good wage.. and croyden is a nice commute for me.

    Sadly I'll never ever ever get the job as I never attended Oxbridge with any of the governments chums.....

  7. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    Cover for outsourcing to consultants?

    Could not recruit -> outsource to Accucenture.

    Otherwise it seems well out of line compared to other similarly-responsible Civil Service jobs.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No chance

    I did some consulting work with the home office 18 months ago for about six months. The only people who were vaguely happy were those in specialist roles, ironically the data architect for the PNC being both capable and competent (so I'm assuming he was moved elsewhere or replaced by an outsourced role). The politics was unbelievable, the place ran like a collection of old school tie chums. You needed months of political manoeuvring to get space to make anything happen. The salary may be high on a public sector scale, but it's only going to attract middling plodders - but that is the problem with the way many companies recruit, not just the public sector.

  9. IGotOut Silver badge

    Sorry nope...

    I need at least £500k, plus a house, car and gilt edged pension.

    Then I will step up to the goalposts, punt a few pucks the whole 9 yards, touch some bases, set up a committee to look at offshoring our Ai blockchain to the cloud using low code. Then after the suboptimal outcomes, I shall go onto pastures new, with my golden handshake.

    So as you can see, I'm fully qualified for the position.

  10. Security nerd #21

    Deputy Director ?

    Isn't a deputy director role just there to cover his / her bosses backside ? Or is the "director" title just a question of pay grade (with a shockingly poor pay grade - but perhaps a nice pension)

  11. s. pam Silver badge

    There's a typo in the job advert

    It is missing:

    Only qualified human sacrificial candidates

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