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Policy Team Leaders (EU Exit) - Grade 7

Posted: 25 May 2019 Closes: 24 Jul 2019
Bristol, York, London £46,612 (National) £51,258 (London) - £54,320 (National) £59,740 (London)
Flexible defra/20190525184926

As a Policy Team Leader you will be responsible for guiding a small team of experts to deliver on Defra’s priorities that support the UK’s Exit from the European Union.

You may be asked to have responsibility for a single large policy area or lead on several connected policies. No two posts are the same but in broad terms your work will include: 
• The provision of effective planning and prioritisation activities to deliver high quality results to time; 
• Working with a range of connected stakeholders, both in and outside of Government, to help ensure that you are able to deliver the best results; 
• Using a combination of evidence and your expertise to help guide decisions on the most effective approach to strategy development and delivery; 
• Taking the lead to brief Ministers and senior officials on your key areas. 

It remains an exciting time to work in Defra as the department adapts to deliver an effective exit from the EU. Our policy areas are each split into Directorates, workstreams and projects that combine flexibly to deliver on Ministerial priorities. 

Each Policy Team Leader role is different and depends on the type of work being delivered, but typically it is likely that you will manage a team of Senior and Higher Executive Officer Policy Advisors. You will report to a Grade 6 or Deputy Director as part of a wider, collaborative and supportive team of 20+ people, working to drive strategies and policies forwards as the UK leaves the EU. 

You will be expected to work with a number of internal and external stakeholders including Ministers, industry bodies, non-government organisations and other key delivery bodies. 

Your involvement today will contribute to policy, projects, and initiatives that will continue for years to come! 

There are a number of work areas under which a Policy Advisor may work in Defra. Please see the attached candidate pack for a little more information about them and the Policy Profession in Defra. 

Work areas that available are: 
• Agri- Food Chain 
• Animal and Plant Health and Welfare 
• Biosecurity and Food Projects 
• Environmental Regulations 
• EU and International Trade 
• EU Exit Domestic and Constitutional Affairs 
• EU Exit Overview 
• Future Farming and Countryside 
• Marine and Fisheries 
• Strategy 

The Policy Profession in Defra and the Civil Service 

The career anchor for these roles is the Policy Profession, Defra’s central Policy Profession team works alongside HR and other teams to equip policy professionals in the Defra group, with the skills, knowledge, and confidence necessary to deliver high-quality policies in an increasingly complex environment. 

New joiners can expect full support from the Policy Profession, including in your career development, through peer learning, mentoring and coaching as well as access to a wide range of material and professional advice to support you in your role. 

The central Policy Profession operates across the Civil Service, and sits within Civil Service Learning, supporting government-wide Policy Profession initiatives. It’s for anyone who works in, or is involved with, the formation of policy for government – including those that may belong to another Government Profession. 

To find more information on the policy profession in the Civil Service, click here

Essential Experience: 
• You will have evidence of analysing information, identifying key drivers and then making recommendations to senior colleagues. 
• You will have experience of communicating confidently and concisely. Effectively communicating with a wide range of stakeholders (at all levels) both in a technical and non-technical environment. 
• You will have a proven track record of planning and prioritising your workload in a changing and challenging landscape. 
• You will have evidence of managing others, using leadership skills to achieve desired outcomes in an ambiguous environment. 

Person Specification: 
To be successful in this campaign you will need to demonstrate the advertised Ability, Behaviours and Experience. In addition, we are looking to appoint individuals who are comfortable taking an innovative approach to a range of complex and rapidly changing situations. You will be the type of person who is able to adapt to variations in work or environment, without your effectiveness being impacted by change. Ideally, you’ll be an innovator who tries new approaches and pushes yourself to work outside of your comfort zone. 

Strong candidates will seek and analyse information in order to inform decisions based on the best available evidence. You think ahead to anticipate, identify, and address any risks or problems before they occur. 

As a leader, you will be able to effectively build capability and resilience in your team, actively encouraging and providing opportunities for others to share ideas and contributions. Naturally, you will be able to influence others, articulating the rationale to gain their agreement. 

Personally, you will demonstrate inner composure, recovering quickly from setbacks and learning from them. You take ownership for your decisions and hold yourself accountable for what you have promised to deliver. 

PLEASE NOTE: This is a rolling recruitment campaign over an initial 6 month period. Sifting and interviewing will be conducted weekly over the length of the advert. 

Candidates are encouraged to submit their applications early to account for the rolling sift and interview dates. Candidates can only apply for this vacancy once under the same reference number. Any subsequent applications under the same vacancy reference will be flagged as duplicates and not considered. 


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

  • Delivering at Pace
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Leadership
  • Working Together



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.

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.

Nationality statement

Candidates will be subject to UK immigration requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules.

If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.

Selection process details

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

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete four Behaviour statements and submit 250 words (under a personal statement) on which two areas you would prefer to be placed in to if successful and the reasons that you consider are important to support this preference. Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form. 

PLEASE NOTE: The personal statement section will allow you to input up to 1200 words but you must only provide 250 words maximum. All information provided beyond 250 words will not be considered as part of your application. 

Please note that your behaviour statements should be aligned to the essential experience listed above. 

After submission of your application you will be invited to complete an online Situational Judgement test. You must be successful at this stage to progress to the manual sift. Please complete the online test as soon as possible (within 24-48 hours is recommended), the closing date for the test is Midnight on Tuesday 3rd September 2019. If you fail to complete the online test before the deadline your application will be withdrawn. 

Guidance for the test will be available when you are invited to take the test. The test is administered online and accessed via the CS Jobs website. 

The panel will assess your evidence against the advertised Behaviours and Experience. You will also be asked to submit up to 250 words on which two areas you would prefer to be placed in to if successful and the reasons that you consider are important to support this preference. 

Candidates successful at this stage will be invited to interview where the advertised Ability and Experience elements will be further tested alongside other required elements of the post. Candidates will be required to give a short presentation at interview. 

Further details will be provided to shortlisted candidates in advance of the interviews. 

Candidates who are judged to be a near miss at interview may be considered for other posts within Defra at the grade below the one advertised where there is a potential skills match. 

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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