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Senior Test Engineer

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 Closes: 1 Apr 2020
Bristol, Warrington, York £35,540 - £40,411
Permanent & Full-time defra/20200319115641

Defra is the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Our broad remit means we play a major role in people's day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink.

Our Digital Data and Technology Services (DDTS) function is currently undertaking a once in a generation transformation as the UK moves towards exiting the EU.

We are currently recruiting for a Senior Test Engineer in our digital hubs in Bristol, Warrington and York. The Senior Test Engineer will report to the Lead Test Engineer and will be working on a number of meaningful projects in a challenging environment which continues to evolve as an exemplar in the Digital, Data and Technology (DDAT) Quality Assurance & Test profession.

Working in a supportive, diverse, and user-focused culture our flexible working arrangements mean you can maintain a healthy work-life balance. You will play an important part in building a digital future for Defra and our customers. This means big changes to how our services and technologies are designed and delivered.

Quality is at the heart of our digital strategy. Everyone is responsible for quality and we have a team of skilled people who make sure quality is delivered in the most effective way.

• Using your innovation and not being afraid to challenge the status quo to make government better

• Helping to improve our natural environment by making it easier for people to interact with us

• Working in a multidisciplinary team on a wide range of digital projects, you will use industry standard agile methodologies and software testing tools to help build accessible, sustainable and robust digital services for our customers whilst upholding the Government Digital Service standards

• Ensuring that the right level of quality is built into services throughout the lifecycle of a delivery by engineering automated, functional & non-functional tests

• Informing & influencing key stakeholders around the key testing decisions that need to be taken by the project

• Owning the release test plan and ensure the correct test types & acceptance criteria are applied to the right standard

• Assessing & owning quality assurance risks and promote a culture of continuous improvement


• Experience of authoring and validating acceptance criteria

• Experience of using Behaviour Driven Development or similar approaches in practice

• A strong working knowledge of test automation using open-source tools and frameworks (such as using WebdriverIO, Nightwatch.js, Protractor, Capybara, Cypress or similar)

• A working knowledge of performance testing (preferably using open-source tools such as JMeter)

• Experience in testing web APIs (preferably using Postman or Karate DSL)

• Experience in testing for the benefit of the end users, including accessibility, browser compatibility and an awareness of what good content and usability look like

• Experience of testing within a continuous integration and continuous delivery pipeline (preferably using Jenkins or Azure DevOps)

• Comfortable using source control tools such as GitHub and GitLab

• Confident using exploratory test techniques to focus testing on the areas of greatest risk

• An awareness of potential security risks to digital services

Successful candidates should also be able to demonstrate the following personal attributes:

• Experience of ensuring that the team conforms to good software practice and is producing high quality, well tested software that meets standards and design principles

• Ability to quickly research and learn new tools and techniques

• Strong interpersonal and communication skills


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

  • Changing and Improving
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Developing Self and Others

We only ask for evidence of these behaviours on your application form:

  • Changing and Improving
  • Developing Self and Others

Technical skills

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

  • Functional & Non-functional Testing
  • Automation Frameworks
  • Agile Practices
  • User Focus




• Your pension is a valuable part of your total reward package

• Defra invests in providing a contribution to the cost of your pension (contribution rates vary between 20.0% and 24.5%, dependent upon salary)

• The contributions you make are deducted from your salary before tax is taken.

Generous Annual Leave and Bank Holiday Allowance:

• Defra offers 25 days annual leave (rising, over 5 years, to 30 days) for full time new entrants to the Civil Service. Employees receive 8 public holidays a year, plus an additional day in May to mark the Queen’s Birthday

Staff Recognition:

• We have a Staff Recognition Scheme, to reward exemplary work.

Learning and Development:

• All new employees joining (and returning) to Defra will have an induction to the department, our work and policies. You will have access to a broad range of learning and development opportunities with world class providers

Mentoring and Coaching:

• Mentoring is an effective means of developing your career, boosting your confidence and empowering both the mentor and mentee. All our employees have the opportunity to voluntarily engage and work with a Mentor or a Coach


• Defra employees are entitled to 3 days special leave with pay, per year, for volunteering. We encourage our employees to take this up, as it can be a great way to share skills with worthy charitable causes, while developing new insights and stronger links with the civil society sector


• We fully support reservists and offer 15 days special leave with pay for training

Childcare vouchers:

• The government has introduced the Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) scheme. Working parents can open an online childcare account and for every £8 they pay in, the government adds £2, up to a maximum of £2000 a year for each child or £4000 for a disabled child. Parents can then use the funds to pay for registered childcare

Bicycle Loan Schemes:

• Defra offers interest-free loans towards the cost of a bike and Cycle to Work Scheme. Defra loans you a bike for your commute as a tax-free benefit. At the end of the loan period, you have the option to buy the bike, saving 30% of the original cost

Season Ticket Loan:

• We offer interest-free season ticket loans to all Defra employees with more than three months’ service, for purchasing train and bus season tickets, as well as station car parking

Sick Pay:

• We offer a generous and supportive Sick Pay Policy, with Sick pay progressively increasing, by the length of service, beginning at one month’s sick pay in the first year of service

Employee Discounts:

• Defra employees have access to a range of discounts at hundreds of top retailers via our employee discount scheme

Give as You Earn:

• Defra is registered with the Give as You Earn scheme, which enables you to make regular deductions directly from your salary, in support of a chosen charity. This is simple and tax efficient

Flexible working:

• Defra is committed to providing a great place to work and is open to smarter ways of working that enable you to choose how, when and where you want to work in line with business needs. This includes the ability to work from home, work compressed hours and choose from a range of locations best suited to when and where you need to be. Our offices are equipped with a range of onsite facilities including fitness centres, staff canteens and much more. You can discuss where you will be based and the amount of travel you will need to undertake at the interview with the Vacancy Holder

Employee Assistance Programme:

• Is a free and confidential 24/7 telephone advice service available to all our staff

Occupational Health Service:

• Provides a range of support services, to optimise attendance, engagement and performance at work

Sports and Social Association:

• Promotes sports and social activities and organises our annual sports day and staff lottery

Equality Diversity and Inclusion:

• We have many strong and pro-active staff Networks that cover a broad range of requirements including Mental Health and Disability. We also have a range of Special leave policies for hospital appointments and a commitment to putting reasonable adjustments in place for those who need them

The department also places significant emphasis on talent programmes which help everyone to achieve their full potential

The Civil Service as a whole is committed to providing a work environment free from discrimination, harassment, bullying and victimization. There is a range of support in place to help and support those that may be experiencing difficulties including the Bullying and Harassment network and Mediation services

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, Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.

Application Process
As part of the application process, you will be asked to complete one 250-word statements on the Behaviours listed above, a CV and Statement of Suitability. The CV will ask for your Job History, Qualifications and Past Skills and Experience. Your Statement should be no more than 250 words, and should be aligned to the following guidance: Please explain why you feel your experience would make you a suitable candidate for this role?

Should a large number of applications be received, an initial sift may be conducted using the lead Behaviour, Changing and Improving. Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift, or progressed straight to assessment/interview.

Sift is expected to commence on the 6th April with interviews planned to be held in either Warrington or Bristol. Interview dates will be confirmed.

If successful at application stage, you will be invited to interview where you will be assessed on experience and will also be assessed on the listed behaviours and related strengths.

Merit Lists
Where more than one location is advertised, candidates will be posted in merit order by location. You will be asked to state your location preference on your application.

New entrants will be expected to join on the minimum of the payband.

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.

Criminal Record Check
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.

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

Internal Fraud Database Check
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.

Higher Security Clerance:
All of these posts require the successful candidate to hold basic security clearance. Candidates posted to [Insert location] may be subject to a higher level of clearance because of the security requirements for that location. Job offers to these posts are made on the basis of merit. Security vetting will only take place after the receipt of a job offer.’’

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

We are closely monitoring the situation with regard to Coronavirus, and will be following central Government advice as it is issued. There is therefore a risk that recruitment to this post may be subject to change at short notice. Please continue to follow the application process as normal and ensure that you check your emails regularly for any updates from us as this is how we will communicate with you.

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 equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

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