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HEO Team Leader

Posted: 8 Oct 2019 Closes: 7 Dec 2019
London £31,916 - £35,620
Permanent & Full-time defra/20191008163357

The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) is responsible for England’s environment, our countryside and rural economy, and the food and farming sectors. It is an exciting time to be at Defra, given the high profile nature of these issues and the important role we play within the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Defra’s Ministerial Contact Unit is the central point of contact for members of the public, MPs, and stakeholders. Every year MCU responds to thousands of letters and e mails from members of the public, MPs and high profile stakeholders. Each of these interactions provides an insight into the issues that MPs and members of the public care about and is an important opportunity to explain Defra's objectives and activities to people who care about the work we do. We pride ourselves in our ability to provide these customers with a good experience of dealing with Defra- something which is genuinely important to the department’s reputation and people’s confidence in our policies and services.

Within MCU we also coordinate the process of responding to written and oral parliamentary questions. This is an invaluable opportunity to work with policy and private office teams and provides an insight into parliamentary procedures and the business of both Houses.

This post provides an excellent opportunity to get an overview of Defra's policy portfolio and there are many opportunities to shadow and learn about the work of different teams within the department. You will develop your leadership and management skills and improve the service we provide to the public – all within a fast-moving delivery environment.

Key tasks
• Line management and day to day responsibility for a team of EO staff to deliver a credible, responsive and professional service to Ministers and the public.

• Work closely with Minister’s offices and policy colleagues to ensure deadlines are being met both in quality of service and within Whitehall agreed timescales.

• Quality assure all the work of the team and use the results to build capability and promote continuous improvement.

• Act as a positive role model for all staff by motivating and managing staff development.

• Understand and use performance data to prioritise work to drive overall performance.

• Proactively manage performance, ensuring work and development objectives are set and actioned.

• Promote the work of the department and play an active part in supporting the Civil Service values and culture.


Person Specification
• Excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills
• Experience of leading and managing performance is desirable
• Ability to build strong working relationships with colleagues across the department as part of a team or on individual initiative
• Strong planning and organizational skills; able to multi-task and prioritise competently with the ability to deliver at pace.
• Comfortable working in a fast paced and ever-changing environment


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

  • Delivering at Pace
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Developing Self and Others
  • Managing a Quality Service



• Learning and development tailored to your role
• An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension
• 25 days annual leave + bank holidays

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is counter-terrorist check.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths and Experience.

There will be an initial assessment process which will include literacy and English language tests.

Sift and interview dates as well as the interview location to be confirmed.

Should a large number of applications be received, an initial sift may be conducted using the lead behaviour, Delivering at Pace. Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift, or progressed straight to assessment/interview.

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV. Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made.

New entrants are expected to start on the minimum pay band.

Reasonable adjustment:

If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

- Contact Government Recruitment Service via as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.
- Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.

If successful and transferring from another Government Department, a criminal record check maybe carried out.

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstance some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing stating the job reference number in the subject heading.

Any move to Defra will mean you will no longer be able to carry on claiming childcare vouchers.

Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact Government Recruitment Services via email:

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can
contact the Civil Service Commission: Click here to visit Civil Service Commission

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

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