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Central Business Operations Lead

Government Digital Services -

Full-time (Permanent)
£53,400 - £64,000. The base salary of this grade is £58,800 for London and £53,400 for other locations.
Published on
12 February 2024
26 February 2024

In this role, you will have the opportunity to work closely with and support senior and middle managers, such as the Head of Finance & Business Services (FBS), Deputy Directors, Heads of Delivery, Heads of Product and Directorate business managers.

You will be part of the Finance & Business Services (FBS) team, a central group that works across all of GDS and covers operational and business management activities, and financial activities such as journal and accrual processing. As part of this team, you will be supported in your career development and have the opportunity to move laterally and widen your knowledge of digital, technology and data and associated professions.

As the Head of Central Business Operations, you’ll lead on:

  • Advisory - act as a strategic advisory figure for the FBS services across GDS, utilising strategic thinking and promoting FBS and associated best practice within the business and the wider Cabinet Office. Ensure that the entire organisation adopts FBS processes. 
  • Business Planning - support the annual and quarterly business planning process, ensuring budget actuals and forecasts are correct (in collaboration with CO & GDS Finance), dependencies across the multiple directorates are captured, critical paths identified and activities are consolidated. Assure the quality of FBS Analysts’ work to ensure they roll up to a robust organisational Business Plan. 
  • Business Case – assure the development of robust Business Cases with input from specialists as necessary, ensuring they follow spend control rules, represent value for money, clearly identify benefits and associated realisation. Monitor subsequent actual spend to ensure activity remains within budget and spend approvals.
  • Governance & Reporting – ensure GDS complies with CO processes and the CO business rules. Investigate non-compliant purchases/spend and make recommendations to ensure non-compliant spend is eliminated.
  • Business Operations Innovation & Improvement - identify, recommend, and lead on the delivery of FBS Improvement Activity projects that will aim at making our processes and procedures as lean as possible. 
  • Operational Management - ensure FBS resources under management are delivering high-quality output (Finance, Resourcing, and Procurement) without any issues for your respective area(s). Ensuring all financial processes meet GDS, Cabinet Office and wider Government standards is crucial. 
  • Income recovery & debt management – work with business units and CO Finance to ensure that income is invoiced promptly, and that aged debt is minimised.  
  • Line Management - responsibility to line manage and ensure the continuous development of the team. Work with the Head of FBS to develop and implement personal development plans for FBS staff. 

Person specification

We’re interested in people who have:

  • extensive knowledge and significant experience of business management (financial, purchase-to-pay, procurement and resourcing practices) as well as an excellent understanding of operational delivery
  • a recognised financial qualification from a professional body (part qualification or studying on route to qualification will be considered) 
  • experience of collaboration and partnering in complex environments
  • in-depth experience in analysing management information; identifying patterns or themes and extracting the key data to provide valuable intelligence. 
  • knowledge and experience working in programme/portfolio environments 
  • experience in driving effective decision-making using accurate and concise data
  • experience in change and project management, encompassing agile approaches 
  • worked in both line and matrix management structures 


The benefits of working at GDS

There are many benefits of working at GDS, including:

  • flexible hybrid working with flexi-time and the option to work part-time or condensed hours
  • a Civil Service Pension with an average employer contribution of 27%
  • 25 days of annual leave, increasing by a day each year up to a maximum of 30 days
  • an extra day off for The King’s birthday
  • an in-year bonus scheme to recognise high performance
  • career progression and coaching, including a training budget for personal development
  • paid volunteering leave
  • a focus on wellbeing with access to an employee assistance programme
  • job satisfaction from making government services easier to use and more inclusive for people across the UK
  • advances on pay, including for travel season tickets
  • death in service benefits
  • cycle to work scheme and facilities
  • access to children's holiday play schemes across different locations in central London
  • access to an employee discounts scheme
  • 10 learning days per year
  • volunteering opportunities (5 special leave days per year)
  • access to a suite of learning activities through Civil Service learning

GDS offers hybrid working for all employees. This means that everyone does some working from home and also spends some time in their local office. You’ll agree to your hybrid working arrangement with your line manager in line with your preferences and business needs.

Any move to Government Digital Service from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at

Things you need to know

Selection process details

The standard selection process for roles at GDS consists of:

  • a simple application screening process - We only ask for a CV and cover letter of up to 750 words. Important tip - please ensure that your cover letter includes how you meet the skills and experience listed in the “person specification” section above
  • a brief presentation. Comprehensive details will be shared with the shortlisted candidates.
  • a 60-minute video interview

In the event we receive a high number of applications, we will conduct an initial sift on the lead criteria which is:

  • Have extensive knowledge and significant experience of business management (financial, purchase-to-pay, procurement and resourcing practices) as well as an excellent understanding of operational delivery

Depending on how many applications we get, there might also be an extra stage before the video interview, for example a phone interview or a technical exercise.

In the Civil Service, we use Success Profiles to evaluate your skills and ability. This gives us the best possible chance of finding the right person for the job, increases performance and improves diversity and inclusivity. We’ll be assessing your technical abilities, skills, experience and behaviours that are relevant to this role.

For this role we’ll be assessing you against the following Civil Service Behaviours

  • changing and improving
  • seeing the bigger picture
  • communicating and influencing
  • managing a quality service

Candidates that do not pass the interview but have demonstrated an acceptable standard may be considered for similar roles at a lower grade.

A reserve list will be held for a period of 12 months, from which further appointments can be made.

We are an equal-opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, colour, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

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