OEP – Head of Environmental Law – Interim Office for Environmental Protection

Grade: Grade 6

Reference: 124001

Location: Worcester

Salary: £57,114 to £65,740

Closing Date: 21 Jun 2021

Job description

The OEP will be the cornerstone of our environmental governance system now we have left the EU. It will have a unique role in tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time, from climate change to biodiversity loss. Its legal team will be at the heart of its operations, working on high profile, complex legal issues at the cutting edge of environmental public law. This is an unrivalled opportunity to join the OEP as it is established and help build its legal function from the ground up, influencing how the OEP will operate in its crucial early years of existence.

In the Interim OEP the legal team will be responsible for creating the legal framework for the OEP ready for its legal establishment. This will include working on the draft OEP Strategy and with the Complaints and Enforcement Team on the draft Enforcement Policy. They will also support the Interim OEP Complaints team with the validation of complaints received.

Once the OEP is established, the legal team will provide legal and governance support to all OEP functions and decision making. The team will work in a flexible and agile way, both to advise on a wide variety of legal matters but also to provide input to strategic decisions on how and when OEP will use its different powers. This means each of our lawyers can anticipate opportunities to work on matters across the OEP’s functions. As Head of Environmental Law, however, the post holder is expected to work in particular as the legal lead on the OEP’s scrutiny and advice functions. This will include input into proposed changes to environmental law, and OEP reports on the implementation of environmental law, environmental protection and enhancement and other matters. The post holder will also provide support across the OEP’s other business activities, such as on corporate and governance issues.

The team will act as the legal centre of excellence in the organisation creating and maintaining the organisation’s legal framework and providing training and guidance to non-technical staff to develop the wider legal capability of the organisation as a whole.

We are looking for individuals, from any background, who have the enthusiasm and flexibility to help us grow and develop this exciting new organisation. If this sounds like
something you would be interested in, we would love you to get in touch.

Information Webinars:
As the OEP is a new organisation, Defra will be hosting a webinar during the application period to provide potential candidates with further information about the OEP and the roles – for more information please visit the event page: http://oeprecruitment.eventbrite.com


The role holder’s responsibilities will be as follows.

• Work with other lawyers and client teams to develop the OEP’s statutory Strategy as well as legal policies and procedures for Board/Senior Exec team approval ahead of the legal establishment of the OEP.
• Provide expert legal advice and input into the Interim OEP’s Monitoring Environmental Law team regarding the development of the OEP’s programme to monitor environmental law and deliver associated statutory functions.
• Be accountable for all aspects of legal advice to support the OEP’s scrutiny and advice functions, such as reporting on the implementation of environmental law and the development of written advice by the OEP, ensuring decision-making is legally sound.
• Work with legal colleagues to provide expert advice and guidance to senior management on complex, novel and emerging legal problems within broad areas of environmental law.
• Provide day-to-day supervision of other lawyers working on the OEP’s scrutiny and advice functions.
• Identify where external legal advice is needed and manage the delivery of any externally commissioned legal services.
• Keep abreast of the ‘big picture’ relevant to the establishment and functions of the OEP/Interim OEP, such as developments in environmental policy, law, technology and relevant social and economic factors, both in the UK and around the world.
• Represent the OEP at external forums, such as meetings, legal conferences and stakeholder events, explaining and where necessary defending the OEP’s legal position clearly.
• Support with the transition of frameworks, policies and processes from the non-statutory Interim OEP to the legally established OEP.
• Act as the OEP’s Data Protection Officer, providing specialist governance and assurance to senior managers on matters of information and data protection.
• Be a strong leader and team player, working with all teams across the OEP providing expert legal advice to novel problems that require creative solutions.
• Support the training and upskilling of OEP staff in matters of environmental and public law.

The above list of job duties is not exhaustive. The post holder will be required to undertake such tasks as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.