Secretary General

What is the role?

The Secretary General is the title typically given to the Head of a Civil Service Department. The Secretary General is responsible for the effective and efficient management of the Department, including particular financial responsibilities as Accounting Officer, providing advice to Ministers, delivering outputs and outcomes, addressing cross-cutting matters and being accountable before Oireachtas Committees as required.

As the head of an organisation, the Secretary General is assisted by a senior management team typically known as a Management Board, which acts as a team and a unifying force, providing leadership and direction for the organisation.

What are the requirements?

The specific requirements will vary from post-to-post but typically the person appointed will have:

  • a proven track record of significant achievement as a leader and senior manager in a large, complex service delivery organisation in either the private or public sector;
  • experience of developing key strategies and policies and implementing a vision across a large and disparate organistion(s);
  • a track record in change management in a large operational environment and ensuring flexibility in response to emerging social needs;
  • sound judgement and a capacity to deal effectively with complex interrelated issues across diverse public policy areas and on the implications of different approaches:
  • excellent communication skills and a track record in managing relationships, providing clarity, developmental leadership and delivering results.

Further details on the particular skills and requirements for this role can be found in the Information Booklet for each campaign at this level.


Starting salary is €190,233.

Learning and Development:

The Senior Public Service (SPS) was established with the aim of strengthening senior management and leadership across the civil service, and ultimately the Public Service. Membership is currently comprised of all serving and newly appointed civil servants at Secretary General, Deputy and Assistant Secretary, and Director levels and related Departmental and professional grades.

The SPS Leadership Development Strategy, approved by Government, sets out the initiatives to be implemented for the SPS in the period 2017-2020, including executive coaching, development programmes, mobility opportunities and networking events. The goal is to equip the SPS with the skills and supports necessary in meeting the key business and leadership challenges facing a modern civil service and to support lasting change at an individual, organisational and Civil Service level.

For more information please see: Senior Public Service Publication