Private Secretary to the Chair and CEO

Equality and Human Rights Commission

  • Team: People Team
  • Salary: £38,990.64 plus £3,200 London Weighting Allowance (pro rata for part time)
  • Location: London
  • Closing: 11:59pm, 5th Dec 2021 GMT

Job Description

About us

We are the Equality and Human Rights Commission. We are Great Britain’s national equality body and a United Nations accredited National Human Rights Institution. We were established by the Equality Act 2006 and our role is to protect and promote equality and human rights across England, Scotland and Wales. As a statutory non-departmental public body, we are funded by HM Treasury via the Cabinet Office, but we operate independently of governments.

We pride ourselves on being a flexible and inclusive employer. We celebrate difference, embrace diversity and support all our people to thrive at work. If this sounds interesting - apply to join us!

Our Vacancy

The Chair and CEO’s Office provide crucial support, advice and guidance to the CEO, Chair and wider leadership team and are central to the effective running of the Commission. This will be a fast paced, complex and fascinating job at the heart of the organisation, working on high profile, high impact issues to do with equality and human rights in Britain. The issues we focus on affect all of us and working for the Commission will give you an opportunity to engage with some of the most pressing issues of the day, from the future of the workplace to the equality and human rights implications of artificial intelligence and emerging technologies. 


The team is led by the Chief of Staff and you will be one of two Private Secretaries in the team, along with an Assistant Private Secretary who leads on diary management and providing general support to the team, and a PA who supports the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Strategy and Evidence Officer.


We place a big emphasis on personal development and you will be supported to grow into and thrive in the role, with access to training opportunities, mentoring and other development in your role. We work as a team to ensure the Chair, CEO and wider leadership team are enabled to deliver and there will be many opportunities to test your boundaries and learn new skills. You will be engaging with highly influential internal and external stakeholders and using your judgement to provide advice and test ideas.


This is a job where often there isn’t a clear process to follow; you will need to exercise your judgment, use influencing skills and move at pace to get things done, often working through others. If you thrive in a high pace, complex and intellectually engaging environment, this is the job for you. 


Key Responsibilities

There are two Private Secretaries in the team working to the Chief of Staff, and this role will primarily support the Chair, with the second Private Secretary supporting the CEO. However, there will be a high degree of collaborative working across the team to ensure joined up and effective advice and support.


The key responsibilities for this role include:


  • Alongside a second Private Secretary, ensuring the Chair and Chief Executive are supported for all internal and external meetings and engagements, including preparation and quality assurance of briefings, co-ordination with internal and external stakeholders and providing support in meetings.

  • Providing advice to the rest of the Commission on supporting the Chair and Chief Executive.

  • Quality assuring and sense checking briefings, submissions and correspondence before they go to the Chair and CEO to ensure the highest quality of work, and providing constructive feedback to teams.

  • Working closely with the stakeholder engagement team and with the internal communications team to provide strategic advice to the Chair and CEO on internal and external engagement and ensure engagement is effectively managed.

  • Managing correspondence to the Chair and Chief Executive.

  • Driving improvement to the way the Chair and Chief Executive’s Office operates.

What we are looking for

The role would suit an organised and resilient individual, with excellent written and oral communications skills, who is able to manage a large number of competing demands and commitments whilst maintaining both quality and timeliness.


The role also involves working with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds, so people skills are essential. In particular experience of working with Ministers or senior Non-Executives will be essential.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience required include:


  • Excellent written and oral communication skills (Essential)

  •  Excellent people skills and the ability to engage with people from a wide range of backgrounds (Essential)

  •  The ability to manage competing demands and commitments whilst maintaining quality and timeliness (Essential)

  • A sound political awareness and ability to navigate complex issues (Essential)

  • Experience of engaging with a wide range of senior external stakeholders (Essential)

  • Experience of working as a Private Secretary/advisor to Ministers/senior Non-Executives (Essential)

  • Experience of preparing and providing both written and oral briefings (Essential)

  •  Experience of organising meetings and events (Desirable)

  •  Experience of line management and getting the best out of others (Desirable).


You will be assessed against our core skills (Leadership, Delivery Management and Stakeholder Engagement) and the knowledge, skills and experience required for the role in the application form. Please provide evidence and examples from your work history or other aspects of your life to demonstrate how you meet the criteria required. Full criteria details can be found in the candidate pack.

Important Information

Currently we are trialling hybrid working, which is where an employee works part of the week in their EHRC office and part of the week from home. This is a voluntary, non-contractual arrangement and your office will be your contractual place of work. The number of days that anyone will be able to work at home will be determined primarily by business need. If you are successful, any opportunities for hybrid working, including whether a hybrid working arrangement is suitable for this role or for yourself, will be discussed with you prior to you taking up your post.


In addition to a competitive salary, we offer a range of benefits including flexible working patterns, 30 days annual leave plus 8 bank holidays (full time FTE), access to the Civil Service Pension Scheme and partnership pension schemes, and enhanced parental leave benefits. More information can be found in the candidate pack.

How to apply

If this sounds like the role for you, please review the attached Candidate Pack for more information and submit your application today!

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is an accredited Disability Confident Leader and operates a Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS) for candidates with a disability.

Should you wish to apply under our Guaranteed Interview Scheme or request a reasonable adjustment, please indicate this in your application.  

If you require an alternative accessible version of the application form or wish to discuss your application or reasonable adjustment  – please contact us by email at or by telephone on 0161 829 8100.

Diversity in our workforce

At the Commission, we are proud of our inclusive workplace where we celebrate difference, value everyone’s contribution and where people of all backgrounds can thrive.  We do not accept discrimination or harassment, and all our recruitment decisions are based on fair and open competition, with appointment on merit. We are committed to further growing our workplace by making sure that the talent pipelines for our most senior roles are as diverse and inclusive as they can be. We welcome applications from everyone and encourage disabled people and people from an ethnic minority background to apply. This is to ensure we are taking positive action in order to achieve our legitimate aim of a balanced representation in our workforce at senior grades.

Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You won't need a CV to apply to this job

Applications closed Sun 5th Dec 2021


Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You won't need a CV to apply to this job

Start your de-biased application