Downing Street is advertising for five ‘news’ roles, as the Dominic Cummings-led transformation of government communications continues.
Last month Boris Johnson began his search for a spokesperson to front new White House-style televised press briefings.
The role, which is described as a “unique opportunity” to work at the centre of government and “communicate with the nation on behalf of the prime minister”, has a salary of £100,000 per year.
Now it has emerged that No 10 is searching for five ‘Deputy Heads of News’ to support the Cummings communications revolution, covering topics from the economy and international affairs through to domestic policy and the Union.
All five jobs, reports suggest, will pay between £61,900 and £70,877.
‘Weirdos and misfits’
Cummings has been vocal about his desire to reform Whitehall, calling for “weirdos and misfits” to apply for new jobs at No 10 in a rambling blog post earlier this year.
“We need some true wild cards, artists, people who never went to university and fought their way out of an appalling hell hole, weirdos from William Gibson novels like that girl hired by Bigend as a brand ‘diviner’ who feels sick at the sight of Tommy Hilfiger or that Chinese-Cuban free runner from a crime family hired by the KGB,” Johnson’s chief adviser wrote.
“If you want to figure out what characters around Putin might do, or how international criminal gangs might exploit holes in our border security, you don’t want more Oxbridge English graduates who chat about [French psychoanalyst Jacques] Lacan at dinner parties with TV producers and spread fake news about fake news.”
No 10 is also searching for an aide to Lee Cain, Johnson’s communications chief, to work on communications across government and coordinate with special advisers. That role will also pay between £61,900 and £70,877.
Whitehall has come in for significant criticism for the way it has handled the pandemic. It emerged yesterday that departments have spent over £56 million on consultancy firms to outsource its response to the coronavirus pandemic – often without giving other companies chances to compete for the lucrative contracts.
An investigation by the Guardian and openDemocracy revealed that sixteen private consultancy companies, including major firms like Deloitte, McKinsey and PWC, have driven major aspects of the government’s Covid-19 strategy.
McKinsey was given £563,000 for six weeks’ work – around £14,000 a day – to establish a “vision, purpose and narrative” for a permanent replacement for Public Health England, which will be fronted by their former employee Baroness Dido Harding.
Related: Whitehall splurges £56m outsourcing its pandemic response