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Chief Safety Officer


Location: Hampshire

Job Type: Full time


About the job

Job summary

Dstl undertakes work and operates facilities that are categorised as ‘high hazard’. From undertaking research into protection against chemical and biological warfare agents to novel explosives, from lasers to cyber, operating complex sites to deploying people to military operations, the range and depth of hazards to be managed is extensive.

Our most important priority is to undertake our work safely, and to ensure that the technical advice we offer others keeps them safe. The Chief Safety Officer role is the owner of the overall safety capability and accountable for ensuring safety across Dstl and its partners and suppliers.

The Chief Safety Officer, reporting directly to the Chief Operating Officer, will define the purpose, strategy and performance targets of the organisation in regard to Health Safety & Environmental Protection and manage external relationships at the highest level. Specialist work undertaken at this level involves thought leadership, building scientific or technical theory, often resulting in a new perspective and a change in strategic thinking and domain expertise. Strong external links are a key part of work at this level as is a consistent drive for excellence, setting high standards and being seen to maintain them. This new role will set and lead the safety culture in Dstl, set the strategic safety direction, advise and assure safe delivery across Dstl.

This role offers a unique, challenging and stretching opportunity for an experienced health and safety professional to work in a large, specialist, multi-site operational delivery environment. The role is a member of the Dstl’s senior leadership team and provides strong and collegiate leadership to ensure Dstl can support a range of sensitive operational activities in a safe, secure, resilient, well governed and assured manner in order to deliver Science & Technology.

To be successful in this role you will need to demonstrate agility of thought and approach in managing complex safety risks, whilst ensuring legislative and policy compliance. Drawing on your professional training and experience you will be able to successfully establish, develop and sustain a wide range of professional relationships to enable future business success with key stakeholders.

Dstl recognises the importance of diversity and inclusion as people from diverse backgrounds bring fresh ideas. We are committed to building an inclusive working environment in which each employee fulfils their potential and maximises their contribution.

We particularly welcome female and ethnic minority applicants and those from the LGBTQI community, as they are under-represented within Dstl at these levels.

Job description

We are looking for someone who has:

  • Significant experience of managing the safety of high hazard activities and facilities
  • Professional safety qualifications, experience and personal credibility to hold the confidence and trust of the Chief Executive and senior leadership; confident to offer advice and challenge.
  • The ability to challenge and support across Dstl, working alongside specialists, generalists and functional professionals.
  • An inspiring, confident and empowering leader who is able to provide visible, strong leadership that can motivate, engage and get the best out of diverse teams and develop staff at all levels and in all technical or corporate specialisms

Full details can be found on the attached Job Profile

Person specification

In this role you will:

  • Define the purpose, strategy and performance targets of the organisations Health, Safety and Environment Protection (HS&EP) capability; being accountable for a positive safety culture in Dstl with continuous improvement in all aspects of HS&EP.
  • Provide the CEO with thought leadership within the HS&EP profession, building on professional theory and resulting in a new perspective and a change in strategic thinking
  • Be a trusted and respected advocate and advisor for safety and environmental issues to Dstl’s Executive Committee and at other formal Governance committees i.e. Board.
  • Together with the Chief Delivery Officer (CDO) and the Chief Operating Officer (COO), consistently drive for HS&EP excellence across Dstl, setting and maintaining high standards and delivering through other leaders


As a leader in Defence you will help shape, role model and bring to life the ‘One Defence’ mindset that will enable us to deliver our vision and strategic objectives. Your leadership style must be inspiring, confident and empowering. Working at every level of our organisation to break down silos, unite teams and create a culture that is trusting, collaborative, innovative, diverse and inclusive. Enabling us to deliver with pace and agility through the skills, commitment and empowerment of our employees and military colleagues.

Full details can be found on the attached job profile

Important Information

Our work in defence, security and intelligence requires our employees to be UK Nationals who are able to gain a high level of security clearance to undertake the projects we are involved in to protect us from security threats. For this reason, only UK Nationals will be able to apply for this role. If you are an international or dual-national candidate, and you think you have the skills we need, please consider applying to any of our government, security or defence partners.

This role will require full UK security clearance and you should have resided in the UK for the past 5 years. For some roles Developed Vetting will also be required, in this case you should have resided in the UK for the past 10 years.


CMIOSH or equivalent (for example FIIRSM).


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Leadership
  • Changing and Improving
  • Making Effective Decisions


Alongside your salary of £85,432, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory contributes £23,066 towards you being a member of the Civil Service Defined Benefit Pension scheme. Find out what benefits a Civil Service Pension provides.


Dstl’s full range of great benefits can be found in the information pack which includes:

  • Financial: An excellent pension scheme starting from 26% employer contribution (find out more here). In Year Rewarding Achievement bonuses and thank you vouchers. Rental deposit scheme and cycle to work scheme.

  • Flexible working: Options include alternative working patterns such as; compressed hours (e.g. working a 4 day week/ 9 day fortnight), job shares and annualised hours (agreed number of hours per annum paid monthly i.e. working term-time only).

  • Working hours: Flexibility around your working day (e.g. start time, finish time). Ability to bank hours in a 12 month reference period including the ability to accrue and use 3 days per calendar month.

  • Where you work: Depending on your role, blended working may be available including remote working to suit you and your team. This can be discussed at interview.

  • Annual leave: 25 days pro rata (rising to 30 after 5 years) plus 8 public holidays with the ability to buy/sell 5 additional days per annum.

  • Family: Maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks with full pay, an additional 13 weeks statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid

  • Learning and Development: Dstl encourages and supports charterships, accreditations and provides employees access to fully funded apprenticeships up to level 7 (Masters Degree). Dstl will pay for 2 memberships with relevant bodies/institutions. Employees also have access to Civil Service Learning.

  • Facilities: Onsite parking, EV Charging points, restaurants, cafés and gyms.

Things you need to know

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Behaviours and Experience.

We want you to have your best chance of success in our recruitment process, so If at any stage of the application process you would like help or assistance please contact the Dstl Recruitment Team and we will do all we can to support you.

Sifting will take place 2nd October 2023 with interviews to be arranged 24th & 27th October 2023

Should you be successful at sift you will undertake a Psychometric test, this will be sent to you prior to the interview.

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


Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.
Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is security check (opens in a new window).

See our vetting charter (opens in a new window).
People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) checks.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK nationals only.

This job is not open to candidates who hold a dual nationality.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code (opens in a new window) sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles (opens in a new window).
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.