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Communications Director appointed

29 November 2019

Dirk Danino-Forsyth

The Government has today announced the appointment of a permanent Director of Communications.

Dirk Danino-Forsyth currently works in the UK Prime Minister’s and Cabinet Office Communications Team as a Head of Strategic Communications for International Security and Defence Projects. He is also a Second Lieutenant with the London Regiment: The Guards Reserve Battalion.

He was appointed after an open competition, overseen by the chair of the Jersey Appointments Commission, Dame Janet Paraskeva, which involved almost 50 applicants from Jersey, the UK and further afield. He will take up his post in March 2020.

Government Chief Executive, Charlie Parker, said: “I am very pleased that we had so much interest for this critical post, which shows that Jersey’s public services can attract talented people to join us in our programme to modernise and deliver better public services.

“Dirk brings valuable experience from the heart of the UK Government, as well as an international perspective, which will contribute to the diversity of expertise available to our senior leadership team. He will join us as we move deeper into the delivery phase of the Government Plan and the One Government project, and as we tackle the likely impacts of Brexit. It will be a challenging time to take over, but he will inherit a clear strategy and a high-performing, motivated and professional Communications team.”

Dirk Danino-Forsyth said: “I am immensely proud to have the opportunity to lead communications for the Government of Jersey at this exciting, yet challenging time.

“Growing up in Poole, I have wonderful memories of summer holidays in Jersey with my family. I am honoured to move here and look forward to contributing more to Island life, both professionally and personally.”

Mr Danino-Forsyth will report to the Chief Executive, and will attend the Corporate Strategy Board, Executive Management Team and One Government Board. He has been appointed as a Grade A senior leader on a tier 2 salary range of between £93,000 and £140,000.

Brief biography

Dirk Danino-Forsyth is currently Head of Strategic Communications for International Security and Defence Projects at the Prime Minister’s and Cabinet Office Communications Team. He has spent the past year leading teams of communicators and project managers in conflict and stabilisation zones, in places including Afghanistan and the Ukraine, managing projects to increase resilience to hostile-state activity and hybrid threats.

He has worked for HM Government for five years. He has served as Head of Media, Campaigns and Planning for HM Land Registry, as the Communications Manager for the Global Health Security Programme and as the Senior Communications Officer for HM Prison Service.

He is a Second Lieutenant with the London Regiment: The Guards Reserve Battalion. He will be seeking a transfer to the Jersey Field Squadron.

Dirk is a chartered manager with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

Recruitment process

  1. The process was overseen by the Jersey Appointments Commission, with the Chair of the Commission, Dame Janet Paraskeva, chairing the full end-to-end process. The recruitment and attraction of candidates was managed by the Government resourcing team and a specialist Executive Search Firm, Berrwick Partners.
  2. The selection panel for the position was:
    • Dame Janet Paraskeva DBE – Chair of the Panel – Jersey Appointments Commission
    • Charlie Parker – Chief Executive, Government of Jersey 
    • Ian Burns – Director General for Customer and Local Services 
    • John McTernan – independent expert panel member and technical assesor
    • Kate Kirk – independent local exert panel member – Director of Communications for Ogier
  3. 48 on and off-Island candidates were targeted in the initial search and formally applied for the role, which produced a formal long-list of 11 candidates (seven men and four women) for initial consideration. All 11 were taken forward for independent technical assessment. Following these assessments, five candidates were shortlisted for final Interview (three men and two women).
  4. In the application procedure, candidates were asked to complete and detail the following:
    • current salary package and expectations
    • provide an up-to-date CV detailing their career history and achievements
    • to provide a supporting statement on how they met the person specification of the role.
  5. There were seven stages to the recruitment process:
    • promotion of the role
    • initial assessment of candidates who submitted a formal application. This was conducted by the Government’s central resourcing function and the search consultant from Berwick Partners
    • candidate long-listing meeting attended by the full panel
    • technical assessment conducted by John McTernan
    • candidate shortlisting meeting attended by the full panel
    • full-day assessment centre. Candidates undertook psychometric tests, a strategic written exercise, a leadership role-play exercise, a leadership interview and a media assessment and met informally with the Chief Executive, Charlie Parker
    • final panel interviews attended by the full panel.

Interim arrangements

The current Director of Communications, who did not apply for the permanent position, has been asked to continue in role until his successor joins. He has agreed, subject to approval by the States Employment Board, to an extension of his fixed-term contract.

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