Senior Executive Assistant to the Commercial Director
Defra Group Commercial (DgC) is part of Defra, the central Government Department responsible for growing the rural economy; improving the environment; and safeguarding animal and plant health. DgC is responsible for providing a procurement and commercial service to organisations within the Defra Network such Animal Plant & Health Agency,Rural Payments Agency, Natural England and the Environment Agency.
This is an exciting time to join Defra group Commercial (DgC). The Commercial team is transforming, as they play an important role in enabling Defra group’s vision of ‘creating a great place for living’. Defra is also one of the lead Departments in delivering a successful exit from the EU.
Defra is currently recruiting a senior personal assistant for our Commercial Director. The Director is the professional head for all commercial staff across the whole of Defra group. You will have significant exposure to teams across Defra group and other government departments. This role provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the overall running of a government department and to get to grips with the challenges that senior management face on a daily basis.
The work will be highly varied, with responsibility for ensuring that the Director is sighted on issues as they arise within their Directorate, and the wider organisation, and help them manage these effectively. You will work closely with a wide range of teams across the department and network, as well as scope to become involved in a variety of specific projects.
In this role, you will:
• Act as Senior Personal Assistant for the Director of Commercial, including commissioning information and advice from different parts of the Directorate and prioritising requests, liaising with the Senior Management Team (SMT) to ensure they follow up on management actions and leading on all corporate requests on behalf of the Director.
• Play a pivotal role in supporting the Director in the day to day running of the office, having oversight of organising and managing the time of the Director, including diary and email management.
• Act as secretariat for the Senior Management Team and other management meetings, drafting agendas, circulating papers, co-ordinating attendance and drafting minutes.
• Establish effective working relationships with other private offices across Defra group, in particular those of the Permanent Secretary, Ministers, Chief Operating Officer, ALB Chief Executives and ExCo membership.
• Acting as Senior Personal Assistant for the Director of Commercial, including commissioning information and advice from different parts of the Directorate and prioritising requests, liaising with the Senior Management Team (SMT) to ensure they follow up on management actions and leading on all corporate requests on behalf of the Director.
• Management of the Director of Commercial’s diary on a daily basis.
• Playing a pivotal role in supporting the Director in the day to day running of the office, having oversight of organising and managing the time of the Director.
• Managing the Director’s inbox and dealing with all correspondence that covers the communications and corporate areas in your portfolio. Prioritising and delegating work appropriately, according to relative importance and urgency.
• Hold regular planning meetings with the Director to provide updates on the work of the division and to prioritise the Director’s time and workload.
• Keeping track of high profile areas and escalating issues to the Director where necessary.
• Act as secretariat for SMT and other management meetings, drafting agendas, circulating papers, co-ordinating attendance and drafting minutes
• Develop an understanding of the Director’s priorities by actively seeking and considering their views, as well as those of their SMT.
• Support the Senior Management Team in delivering against the team business plan and the wider priorities.
• Working closely with the SoS, Minister’s, Perm Sec and other DG, ExCo and ALB private offices, and building key relationships with policy, finance and HR teams.
• Communicating effectively within the Director's group to identify links, raise awareness and promote joined up working and co-ordination.
• Supporting the Director of Commercial and other members of SMT in their communications to the division, including ensuring that there are regular and effective face-to-face meetings as well as written updates and briefings from the Director of Commercial
• Draft briefings, papers and correspondence for the Director as required.
• Demonstrate resilience and adaptability to deal with challenges.
• Demonstrate confidence to have difficult conversations with senior people and make tough decisions.
• Display excellent judgement, enabling you to prioritise work and recognise when to escalate difficult issues.
• Be a flexible team player.
• Ability to organise yourself and your workload effectively.
The following Experience is essential to this post and will be tested at sift and interview.
• Experience of working as a personal assistant to senior executives in a fast paced and high pressured environment.
• Evidence that you have a track record of having set high professional standards and delivered measurable results in a complex and demanding environment.
• A track record of having worked with stakeholders in a pressured environment and that you have successfully influenced and challenged to ensure the best result.
• A history of having built and maintained strong and productive working relationships with stakeholders.
• A track record of effective communication with a wide range of stakeholders (at all levels).
• That you have a track record of having delivered improvements to ways of working and that this has resulted in embedded change.
We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:
- Managing a Quality Service
- Communicating and Influencing
- Working Together
- Making Effective Decisions
• Learning and development tailored to your role
• An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension
Things you need to know
Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Selection process details
This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours and Experience.
Sift and interview dates as well as the interview location to be confirmed.
As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV and Statement of Suitability. Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.
A reserve list may be held for a period of 6 months from which further appointments can be made.
New entrants are expected to start on the minimum pay band.
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 email@example.com 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 Pre-Employment.Checks@cabinetoffice.gov.uk 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.
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.