Head of Business Lending & Competition – Department for International Development – Darlington

Department for International Development

Job summary

About HM Treasury

If you’re interested in making a difference to people’s lives across the country, the Treasury is the department for you! We sit at the centre of everything that the Government does and have provided advice on economic policy and decisions that affect the public finances throughout the country’s history. A Treasury career continues to offer an exciting opportunity to be part of the decision making that affects the whole of the UK.

Working at the heart of government, we collaborate with other departments to ensure public money is spent well and to drive strong and sustainable economic growth. Our work ranges from protecting customers through to the regulation of the financial sector, helping to reduce carbon emissions and creating a greener economy, supporting people across the country through the COVID 19 furlough scheme and Plan for Jobs as well as helping first time buyers buy their first home.

HM Treasury is proud of a diverse and inclusive work environment, committed to fairness and the promotion of equality of opportunity for all. We know that having a range of experiences, ways of working and thinking makes us a stronger organisation, better at developing policy that is reflective of the communities we serve. We embrace different views and experiences and value the fresh perspective that people from a variety of circumstances bring to the work we do. We welcome applications from candidates who have not previously worked for the Civil Service, mid- and late-career changers with transferrable skills, people from all backgrounds and circumstances regardless of disability, gender, age ethnicity, LGBT+ identity and socio-economic status.

Job description

About the Group

The Financial Services Group advises the government on how to promote a stable and efficient financial services sector, to deliver excellent outcomes for consumers and business, enhance the UK’s position as a global hub for financial services and support economic growth across the country. 

The financial services sector is important to the UK economy – providing significant numbers of jobs and making a large contribution to the UK’s economic output. It also provides essential services to individuals – for example, helping them to purchase goods with ease, buy their first home, and plan for their retirement. During the COVID pandemic, it played a critical role in supporting individuals and businesses – for example, in providing payment holidays for individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic and working with the government to deliver Bounce Back Loans. 

We ensure that financial services businesses such as banks, investment firms, financial advisors and insurers are well-regulated. Ensuring firms treat customers fairly, customers have access to a range of financial services as a result of competition in the market, and there are appropriate remedies in place when things go wrong.

We work on a significant international agenda which includes promoting openness and trading links between the UK and countries all around the world, including through Free Trade Agreements and other international dialogues and negotiations. To do this we work closely with colleagues in offices overseas from the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office and the Department for International Trade.

About the Team

The Banking and Credit Team (BAC) team is a high-profile, friendly and supportive team of about 20 people with interests across a range of important financial services issues. The team leads the Treasury’s policy work on retail banking, mortgages, business lending, building societies and mutuals, dormant assets, and the Government’s strategy for competition in financial services. The team works closely with a large number of Treasury teams (in the Financial Services and Financial Stability Groups, the Fiscal Group and the Enterprise and Growth Unit), other government departments and with a wide range of external stakeholders, including all the major banks.

Government Policies – the plans we make and actions we take – shape lives. Whether it’s how we fund education, or actions to ensure the health system can deliver during difficult times, the policy we create and implement sets the course of action for all public services.

Great policy making is about understanding what needs to change, what problems need to be solved and supporting Ministers to arrive at the best solution to deliver the change. Policy also means working out how we are going to make the changes or solve the problems, and then delivering on those plans. To do all this, we need to build relationships with Ministers, Civil Service colleagues, groups with expertise and the public. To lead the analysis which supports our policy making, you will need to demonstrate a range of skills, including an ability to deal with large data sets, utilise strong problem-solving skills, the ability to clearly explain your thinking both in writing and in person, and the drive to overcome challenges and see your ideas through into action and delivery.

You don’t need to be a policy professional to apply. We are looking for people who have the right set of skills for the role, who demonstrate the values of our organisation, and who are motivated to come and work with us on a range of issues that are at the heart of how we spend money and deliver public services.

Key Accountabilities

The team has a vacancy for a stretching and high-profile role leading the Business Lending & Competition Unit. The role will give the post-holder the opportunity to shape Government policy in a wide-ranging and fast-paced area which is never far from Senior Civil Servants’, Ministers’ and Parliamentarians’ attention! 

Since the 2008 financial crisis, lending to businesses and competition in supporting access to finance have been near the top of the financial services agenda. Such interest was heightened by Covid-19, in response to which the Government rapidly launched a number of government-backed loan schemes to support businesses through the ongoing disruption (e.g. the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the current Recovery Loan Scheme) and subsequent macroeconomic challenges. Today a keen focus continues on ensuring that the UK has a competitive and well-functioning lending market which is supporting UK businesses to meet cashflow needs, invest and grow – whether big businesses or entrepreneurs just starting out. 

The post-holder can expect to drive Treasury’s policy assessment of whether the SME lending market is working well, and how this is being affected by regulations in and around business lending, ultimately designing and delivering policies where there are market frictions or failures in need of action. This involves significant exposure to seniors, working with a broad range of internal and external parties including the major banks and alternative finance providers, industry and consumer representatives, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Bank of England, and Other Government Departments and agencies. Key accountabilities include: 

  • Leading a branch of two Range Es and five Range Ds, getting the best out of them, supporting their development, and delivering a busy portfolio of work through them. Contributing to the leadership of the wider team, working with the two other E2s and Deputy Director.
  • Proactively driving forward our agenda on the future business lending strategy, with an eye to the impacts of Covid, supply chain challenges and cost of living pressures on the demand for and supply of finance. This will involve working closely with the British Business Bank, the government-owned development bank, as well as industry and other departments to develop well-informed and relevant policy proposals on how to deliver easier access to capital for UK businesses and entrepreneurs across the country.
  • Looking holistically at how the current regulatory framework – including various capital and resolution regimes for banks – is impacting competition in the lending market and the banking sector more widely, and working with colleagues across Financial Services, Financial Stability and the independent regulators to ensure a balanced and proportionate approach to regulation which adequately delivers safety and soundness of lenders while enabling the entrance and growth of challengers to support maximum availability of finance in the market.
  • Lead on oversight of, and development of outstanding policy positions on the Government’s Covid loanbook, which totalled nearly £80bn of lending to 1.5mn businesses via commercial lenders. This involves driving analysis of the key trends and outlook for the loanbook for seniors, and applying insights from this population and other evidence-gathering to inform analysis of the state of the businesses who either have taken or are considering finance. Additionally, the post-holder will work closely with other government departments and agencies to solve outstanding policy issues over coming years, for example in delivering the counter-fraud work programme.
  • Leading on engagement with industry on all issues in the business lending and competition space, acting as HMT’s working level representative on these issues, and leveraging this understanding to inform policy debates. Additionally, in the context of significant Parliamentary and media interest over the years in historical poor treatment of SMEs by certain banks, challenges for certain cohorts of businesses in accessing affordable finance, the post-holder would be responsible for a broad suite of initiatives involving working with dispute resolution bodies, regulators and Parliament to stay ahead of developments and any potential policy implications.
  • Leading the expansion of the Dormant Assets Scheme for HMT, as new asset classes are brought into the scheme, working with industry, Reclaim Fund Limited, DCMS, UKGI and HMRC. Sponsorship of Reclaim Fund Ltd as an Arms’ Length Body, supporting them to be aligned with HMG requirements and representing their interests within Government, working with UKGI.
  • Person specification

    Required Skills, Experience and Behaviours  

    The below criteria will be assessed in your application form: 

  • Ability to lead, motivate and manage a busy team to deliver through uncertainty across a wide portfolio, demonstrating a commitment to inclusion, development and wellbeing (Leadership)
  • Very strong policy and analysis skills – able to sift a range of sometimes contradictory information at pace and effectively communicate a clear way forward (Making Effective Decisions)
  • Ability to represent HMT and work with a diverse range of stakeholders at all levels, building relationships proactively to pool expertise to address policy problems (Working Together)  
  • The lead criterion is: Leadership.

    If we receive large volumes of applications, we will conduct an initial sift on the lead criterion only.   

    Candidate Guidance on Completing your Application Form  

    Where will we assess criteria across your application form: 

  • Behaviours – these will be assessed individually with a 250-word statement per behaviour. The application form will indicate which behaviour is being assessed each time you provide a statement, and we are ideally looking for an example using the below STAR method to demonstrate this behaviour in line with the full criteria stated. 
  • All elements of the success profiles will be linked to a defined criterion that demonstrates the behaviour, experience or technical skills. It is beneficial to ensure your answer focuses on the full criteria, and not just the related success profile, to give you the best chance or providing the evidence the panel wants to assess. 

    In your statements, it is best to focus on one example in each section to allow you to provide enough detail in your answer and use all the words you have been allocated. Examples from a range of roles across your application will demonstrate that you have the skills, experience and behaviours we are looking for. We would also advise you to use examples that best meet the criteria, even if it is a few years old. 

    How to Structure your Answer  

    Please use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) approach when writing your application answers.

  • Situation – Describe the situation you found yourself in and what happened.
  • Task – The Hiring Manager will want to understand what you tried to achieve from the situation that you found yourself in.
  • Action – What actions did you take and how did you do it. Make sure to use “I”, not “we” to explain how your actions lead to a result.
  • Result – Use facts and statistics to demonstrate the results that your actions produced. Explain whether it was a successful outcome, and if not, what you learned from the experience. 
  • Notes to Candidates  

  • Please refer to the candidate FAQ document which is a link on the job advert – this will provide you with guidance on completing the application form. Please contact if you have any issue accessing this document 
  • At HM Treasury, to maximise diversity and inclusion within our workforce, we operate a fair, open and anonymous recruitment process. This means that the sift panel will only be able to assess you on the written evidence supplied in your application answers. They will not have access to personal information.
  • You may be asked to provide some CV details during your application; however these will NOT be assessed during the process, but will be used to support discussions at interview – please ensure you put all information you would like to be scored against in your behaviour, experience and technical skill statements
  • You will be assessed on your skills, experience and behaviours through the online application form. When completing your application form, please outline how you meet the requirements as detailed in the ‘ Essential Criteria ‘section of this job description. This will give you the best chance to provide the evidence that the panel wants to assess. More guidance can be found here –
  • If we receive a large number of applications, applications will be assessed initially against the lead criterion alone. You will then be assessed against the other criteria if you have met the minimum score on the first criterion. 
  • Find out more about how the Civil Service assesses candidates and uses to test skills, experience and behaviours in applications and interviews.
  • Applications are not reviewed until the closing date has passed. You will be notified of the outcome of your application as soon as the recruitment panel has reviewed all the applications.
  • Candidate Guidance Support Session  – Microsoft Teams 
    We will be running an overview of Success Profiles and the STAR approach; top tips for the application and interview process and an opportunity to ask general questions around our recruitment practices. If you would like to join us, then use the link below to join the call at the right time.

    Tuesday 21st March at 12:30:

    Candidate Drop-In Session  – Microsoft Teams 
    We will be running a candidate drop-in session for this role to give you greater insight about the role as well as the chance to learn more about HM Treasury. If you would like to join us, then use the link below to join the call at the right time.

    Wednesday 29th March at 12:30:


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

  • Leadership
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Working Together
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • We only ask for evidence of these behaviours on your application form:

  • Leadership
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Working Together
  • Benefits

  • 25 days’ annual leave (rising to 30 after 5 years), plus 8 public holidays and the King’s birthday (unless you have a legacy arrangement as an existing Civil Servant)
  • Flexible working patterns (part-time, job-share, condensed hours)
  • A which provides an attractive pension, benefits for dependants and average employer contributions of 27%
  • Onsite restaurant and coffee bar. The London office also offers a gym, showers and prayer room
  • Access to a cycle-to-work salary sacrifice scheme, season ticket advances and payroll giving
  • Access to a retail discounts and cashback site
  • A Rental Deposit Advance Scheme to help meet the total costs of deposits for privately rented homes
  • A range of active staff networks, based around interests (e.g. analysts, music society, sports and social club) and diversity (e.g. women in the Treasury, ethnic minority network, LGBT* network, faith and belief network)
  • Flexible Working Arrangements

    HM Treasury views flexible working as essential in enabling us to recruit and retain talented people, ensuring that they are able to enjoy a long-lasting career with us. All employees have the right to apply for flexible working and there are a range of options available including; working from home, compressed hours and job sharing. Additionally, we operate flexitime systems, allowing employees to take up to an additional 2 days off each month, providing you work enough hours to meet business need.

    We also offer a generous parental and adoption leave package.

    At HM Treasury we have an incredibly broad remit; our work touches every citizen of the country. So, it’s important our employees come from the widest possible range of backgrounds, bringing us the widest possible range of perspectives and ways of thinking. We are committed to ensuring that all staff are able to realise their potential and achieve a healthy work-life balance.

    Things you need to know

    Selection process details

    This vacancy is using , and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths and Experience.

    As part of our pre-employment security checks, if you are invited to interview and are not a current HM Treasury member of staff, you will need to bring:

  • Proof of identity, e.g. your passport or driver’s licence. Documents must be in date and valid.
  • Proof of address, e.g. a utility bill or bank statement issued within the past 3 months
  • Proof of your National Insurance (NI) number, e.g. letter from DWP confirming your NI number, or P60
  • If you do not bring a UK or EU passport, you will need to bring other documentation of your right to work in the UK, e.g. your visa, biometric residence permit or birth certificate.
  • If your right to work is granted through the EU Settlement Scheme , alongside you proof of identity you will need to provide either a letter of application or status outcome letter from the Home Office. If you are successful in being appointed to the role you will also be required to provide a Right to Work Share Code
  • Further details regarding acceptable documents will be provided in the invitation to interview. If you cannot provide in the first instance, the above documentation required for employment checks, at interview, please contact [email protected], If you are offered the role, we will require all documentation, as this is part of the security vetting process. If you do not provide this at interview stage, this may slow down the process and delay your start date.

    If your contact details change at any time during the selection process, please ensure you update your Civil Service Jobs Profile.

    Eligibility Statement

    Individuals appointed to the Treasury Group will be subject to National Security Vetting. To allow for meaningful checks to be carried out applicants will normally need to have lived in the UK for at least 3 out of the past 5 years. A lack of UK residency in itself is not always a bar to security clearance but the Department will need to consider eligibility on a case by case basis using all information that can be obtained following a successful application. You will be asked to provide information regarding your UK residency during your application, and failure to provide this will result in your application being rejected.

    Everyone working with government assets must complete checks.

    For many roles, security clearance is also required. Successful candidates must meet the security requirements of the role before they can be appointed. The level of security clearance required for this role is

    Please read the for information on what to expect during the vetting process and what will be expected from you.

    Many areas of your life may be explored during your vetting journey, and it is important that every individual, regardless of their background and experiences, should feel comfortable going through this personal process, whilst having confidence that it is fair, proportionate, and inclusive.

    These short address common concerns and preconceptions which applicants may have about national security vetting.

    If you have questions relating to security clearances, please contact .

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


    Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is .

    .People working with government assets must complete checks.

    Nationality requirements

    This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals
  • Working for the Civil Service

    The 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 .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.

    Read more…

    To apply for this job please visit uk.whatjobs.com.

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