Policy Officer

Grade: HEO

Reference: 205443

Location: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, York

Salary: £29,179 to £32,160 £29,179 - £32,160 For details of our pay on appointment policy, please see below under the heading ‘Salary'

Closing Date: 08 Jun 2022


In the Defra group, we deal with a vast range of issues that profoundly impact on people’s lives. We are responsible for England’s environment, our countryside and rural economy, the food and farming sectors and have lead responsibility for protection from a wide range of natural threats and hazards. Your role will be critically important to achieving our vision of ‘creating a great place for living’.

Would you like the opportunity to develop your own skills and future career?

As a Policy Advisor you will be part of a team who work with a range of both internal and external stakeholders. You will contribute towards the drafting of policy and strategy that support Defra’s key priorities. This means that you may develop specialist expertise and work across a small portfolio area. Alternatively, you may develop a more over-arching knowledge of a wider range of topics.

You will play an active role in shaping and delivering the Defra group’s priorities, working creatively and collaboratively with others to deliver excellent outcomes.

Job description

Our policy areas are each split into Directorates, work-streams and projects that combine flexibly to deliver on Ministerial priorities.

Your wider team will likely be made up of both counterparts and senior colleagues, working collaboratively, supporting each other to deliver one project. You will also build relationships with a variety of stakeholders. Internally, these could include Directors and Ministers, as well as your counterparts in other teams, whereas externally, this could include devolved administrations, industry bodies, non-governmental organisations and UK citizens.


As a Policy Advisor you will be part of a team of experts that is delivering on Defra’s priorities. No two posts are the same but in broad terms your work will include:

• The delivery of expertise in a specific area of policy. Alternatively, you may be asked to support across several different, but linked, policy areas.
• Being organised so that you plan and prioritise to deliver effective results.
• Building relationships with stakeholders within and outside Government, to help ensure that you are able to deliver the best results.
• To use evidence to help guide decisions that develop and deliver policy priorities.
• Supporting the team to provide effective and timely briefings to Ministers and senior officials.

About You

Your personal qualities will be as important as your professional experience; and we welcome applications from all backgrounds. If you believe you have the skills and qualities we are looking for, then we would like to hear from you. The Defra group is dedicated to having a diverse workforce which represents people in our communities and an inclusive culture where everyone feels they can be their authentic self at work, belong in the organisation and can speak up to challenge. We want everyone to be able to contribute to the success of our organisation, regardless of your background.

For this post you will be assessed on the areas set out below.

Essential Criteria

• Experience of having had to quickly understand specific and complex work challenges.
• Evidence that you can identify the key issues and the significant risks that arise from your interpretations.
• A track record of having taken an innovative approach to work. That you have sought opportunities to do things differently or to start from a blank page, and have been sufficiently responsive enough to adapt or develop new options as circumstances change.
• Evidence that you can plan and prioritise effectively and remain sufficiently calm so as to have delivered results at pace.
• Ability to respond to changing demands and priorities, with the confidence to take quick decisions often without comprising the quality of work.
• Ability to act on your own initiative and ensure deadlines are met.
• Ability to quickly build good relationships with new people and work with them find the best solution that meets everyone’s needs.


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

  • Delivering at Pace
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Communicating and Influencing