Hydrography Programme Lead

Job summary

Do you have experience in Project and Contract Management?

Are you a confident communicator, with the ability to develop and strengthen excellent relationships with contractors and stakeholders?

Are you experienced in budget management?

If so, we are looking for a Hydrography Programme Lead to join us at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and we’d love to hear from you! 

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) implements the government’s maritime safety policy in the United Kingdom and works to prevent the loss of life and occurrence of pollution on the coast and at sea.

Safer lives. Safer Ships. Cleaner Seas. 

Our vision is to be a world-leading organisation, accelerating the transition to sustainable shipping with non-negotiable safety standards. We put our people, our customers and our planet at the heart of everything we do.

We welcome applications from all communities, and we don’t discriminate against any identity. We’re interested to hear from you, regardless of your background.

Job description

Within the UK Maritime Services Directorate, the UK Technical Services Navigation (UKTSN) branch delivers the UK implementation of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention: to minimise risk to mariners, their ships and marine environment by facilitating safe and efficient navigation.

We have an exciting opportunity for a motivated individual to join an ambitious and supportive team as the Programme Lead for Hydrography. Reporting directly to the Head of Hydrography and Meteorology (Hydro&Met). The role holder will provide programme and contract management in order to successfully deliver the multi-million pound a year UK Civil Hydrography Programme (CHP) and other survey and collaborative initiatives, including any externally funded projects, undertaken by the Hydro and Met Team.

As part of the largest commissioner of sea-bed mapping within the UK, the successful applicant will have the fantastic opportunity to work in an area utilising the latest cutting-edge technology and equipment to explore and map areas that may never have been surveyed before.

Our programme is highly regarded as a global leader in seabed mapping, and we receive requests from other countries for advice on the design and structure of a national-scale survey programme, as well as sharing expertise and data with the UK government and industry.

Providing support and line management for the Hydrography and Meteorology Programmes Coordinator, the role will include liaising with a variety of stakeholders, including Contractors, Project Managers and Survey Teams on matters such as survey operation schedules and progress, and the monitoring of CHP deliverables and key performance indicators, and contractor performance management. The role will also involve participating in the tender evaluation panel and ensuring contract management documents are updated and compliant with procurement requirements and legislation. You will report to Procurement and the Cabinet Office, keeping them informed of delivery metrics, contractor performance, contract assurance and ensuring governance compliance.

You will also oversee the financial payment milestones for the CHP contracts and co-ordinate the reporting for the UK Technical Services Navigation (UKTSN) department’s finances.

This a very interesting and varied role which includes a requirement for travel on official duty within the UK and overseas, potentially involving overnight stays away from home. A full UK driving licence is required.

Sift and Interview Dates:

The sift is due to take place on 25th – 27th March 2024.

Interviews/assessments are likely to be held week commencing 15th April 2024.

This interview will be conducted face to face at one of our offices. Further details will be provided to you should you be selected for interview.

We will try to meet the dates set out in the advert. There may be occasions when these dates will change. You will be provided with sufficient notice of the confirmed dates.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :

  • Name :Andrew Colenutt
  • Email :CHP_MCA@mcga.gov.uk

Recruitment team

  • Email :dftrecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk


Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Managing the long-term CHP contracts covering all hydrographic operations, maintaining oversight of spend, progress against milestones and deliverables, in accordance with the CHP specification and the contract terms and conditions.
  • Liaising with the MCA Contracts and Procurement team in the management and implementation of the procurement process for the CHP and other ad hoc purchases.
  • Providing programme and contract assurance for DfT/Cabinet Office as required by ensuring that the appropriate assurance and governance processes and procedures are in place, in line with Government Commercial Function Guidance.
  • Acting as Key Account Manager for CHP contractors, and Deputy Key Account Manager for agreements MCA holds with the UK Hydrographic Office, British Geological Survey, Channel Coastal Observatory, Cefas, and others as appropriate.
  • Ensuring all financial returns for the Hydro and Met team and UKTSN are completed accurately and on time including the month-end accruals and pre-payments, cash forecast, budget and resource profiling.

Person specification

About You

This role requires an individual with a background in programme and contract management. You will also have knowledge and experience of budget and financial management, and we will train you to collate and report information in line with our standards and policies.

Although this role is in the Hydrography arena, a hydrographic background or experience in this area is not required. This is an opportunity to learn about this industry while utilising your contract management and financial skills.

You will have excellent forward-planning skills, being able to see the big picture and make considerations in relation to future circumstances and requirements when forming a plan. You will have excellent organisational skills, capable of balancing multiple priorities and have good attention to detail, ensuing tasks are completed on time and effectively.

You are a team player but also able to work with autonomy, self-driven with a focus on achieving your objectives and supporting others to do the same.

Able to build rapport with a variety of stakeholders both internally and externally, you will possess strong communication skills and are confident in expressing yourself to a variety of audiences delivering messages and information in a professional and concise manner.

You will possess a qualification in project management and an understanding of contract management – e.g. Govt Commercial Function Management – (Practitioner Level) or will have a willingness to work towards it in post.

This role will be based in the Southampton HQ (or relevant office).  MCA supports flexible working and operates a hybrid working model between home and office for this role, giving you greater flexibility over where and when you work.

The expectation is that you will spend a minimum 60% of your working time based at your principal workplace or out on official business. Details of the arrangement will be discussed further with your line manager.

There may be a requirement for occasional travel on official duty within the UK, which may involve overnight stays. Notice will be given prior to travel.


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

  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Seeing the Big Picture

Technical skills

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

  • Project Delivery Capability Framework: Assurance
  • Project Delivery Capability Framework: Risk and Issue Management
  • Project Delivery Capability Framework: Planning

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities with settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window)
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities who have made a valid application for settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • individuals with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain who were eligible to apply for EUSS on or before 31 December 2020
  • Turkish nationals, and certain family members of Turkish nationals, who have accrued the right to work in the Civil Service

Further information on nationality requirements (opens in a new window)

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Hydrography Programme Lead


Maritime & Coastguard Agency


Hydrography Programme Lead


Southampton, UK

Closing Date:

24 March 2024