2 x G6 Head of Policy and Delivery

Bristol, London, York
£57,114 - £71,019
14 Oct 2020
19 Oct 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

2 x G6 Head of Policy and Delivery

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

About the job It has never been a more exciting time to join the Defra group, which is responsible for the environment, the countryside and the rural economy. Defra’s diverse teams deal with a vast range of issues that profoundly affect people's day-to-day life from the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink.

We are looking to recruit dedicated and experienced professionals to fill two senior policy and delivery roles in Defra’s CPHW Division which is part of the Environmental Quality (EQ) Directorate. The Directorate’s aim is to improve and protect health and the environment by improving air quality, managing noise, promoting resource efficiency, managing risks from chemicals, to support our objective to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited.

CPHW Division is a large multi-disciplinary team dedicated to delivering policies and regulations which ensure the effective management of chemicals throughout their lifecycle, for everyone, the environment and the economy. We work with a number of delivery partners to achieve our goals, including other Whitehall departments, as well as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Environment Agency (EA) and international organisations such as the OECD.

At the end of the transition period, the UK will be making independent policy on chemicals, pesticides and hazardous waste which will need to balance facilitating innovation and growth with protecting human health and the environment. There is a unique opportunity to reconsider chemicals policy from first principles. Job description

We are looking for two experienced policy and delivery professionals to drive development and implementation of new policy commitments in the Government’s Framework for chemicals.

The post holders will be accustomed to working across a range of complex policy areas and looking to develop by leading teams in the delivery of ambitious programmes of work. They will be instrumental in shaping the future direction of chemicals policy development, regulation and delivery and pro-actively drive forward programmes of work, building effective relationships with delivery partners, across Defra, Whitehall and with external stakeholders.

Reporting directly to the Deputy Director, the post holders will lead dynamic teams comprised of policy and regulation experts, project and service delivery professionals and scientists, as well as activity manage analysts in order to drive the delivery of two major work strands within CPHW:

1. UK REACH Work Programme:
Regulation of chemicals is hugely important to ensure that chemicals entering the EU or UK market are not used in a way detrimental to human health or the environment. From the 1 January 2021, the UK will implement its own chemicals regulation regime - UK REACH.

The Chemicals Framework and Strategy that CPHW is building will work to improve our understanding of the risks posed by hazardous chemicals, both those we are aware of, and emerging hazards. Several of these chemicals are rising up the international, UK and political agenda. The UK REACH regime will be an essential regulatory tool that will enable efficient and effective management of the most harmful chemicals.

The post-holder will be responsible for ensuring the UK develops and publishes its national work programme, representing a coordination of multiple activities, involving several different organisations, including the Health & Safety Executive and the Environment Agency, who act as regulators on Defra’s behalf, and the Devolved Administrations who have competence in several areas relating to chemicals. The post-holder will also be responsible for running several aspects of the UK REACH regime, including ensuring a rigorous process for enabling ministers to make regulatory decisions with confidence and within statutory deadlines, for example on the authorisation or restriction of the most hazardous chemicals. As well as this, the post-holder will work to continuously improve the delivery of the UK REACH regime, from organising training and upskilling of staff to identifying future improvements to the processes or legislation for the UK REACH framework.

Given this is a newly repatriated power at the end of the transition period, there will be very close scrutiny of UK REACH from both industry and NGOs. This post-holder will therefore have a strong role in working with these stakeholders to ensure they understand and are engaged in the process and the service meets their expectations and needs.

2. Chemicals Framework
Did you know that 350,000 chemicals exist on the market globally? By 2030 the global industry will double. Chemicals benefit society but the pace of innovation can exceed understanding of their potentially harmful effects to humans and the environment, which may require regulatory or other interventions. Chemical pollution is also one of the top five drivers of biodiversity loss.

The UK has not set out its overall approach to chemical management for over 20 years. Nor has the UK needed to deliver regulatory decisions across a number of regimes at the scale and complexity we must now take forward post transition period.

Therefore, CPHW is developing the UK’s Chemicals Framework, built around a robust UK regulatory regime, including UK REACH, and a suite of appropriate policies and approaches, all based on evidence. The vision for the UK Chemicals Framework will be set out in the Chemical Strategy which is due to be published in 2021/22. Its ambition is to ensure chemicals are safely used and managed, and that the levels of legacy harmful chemicals and those entering the environment are significantly reduced.

In this context, the post holder will have a genuinely exciting opportunity to grip and drive the development of (i) the Chemicals Strategy, as well as (ii) a clear suite of policies to manage existing as well as emerging hazardous chemicals that are fast rising up the international and political agenda. This includes policies on addressing the issues of chemicals in waste, as well as PFAS “forever chemicals”, endocrine disruptors and sustainable product design. The post will also involve developing and managing our approach to persistent organic pollutants and related international commitments. Given the considerable socioeconomic, regulatory, industrial and political (including EU Exit) changes since the last strategy, it is a very critical and high-profile piece of work.

The post holder will also be responsible for developing CPHW's trade capability and capacity in regard to negotiating the chemicals elements of future trade agreements and interactions with global trade rules, such as those of the World Trade Organisation. This is a growing function in the team and requires working in close partnership with trade teams in Defra and across government, such as with BEIS and DIT.

Both roles are part of CPHW’s senior management team and the post holder will be influential in setting the future strategic direction and priorities of the Division, working with the other senior managers to lead the whole team to implement these. They will be a visible presence, deputising for senior leaders as required, able to handle financial management, and contribute to the wider organisation, ensuring an inclusive and fair working environment.

Both post holders will:

• Provide confident leadership to the team on priorities to drive and implement robust policies - this is particularly important given we will be delivering and embedding new UK regimes after the end of the Transition Period and adopting EU repatriated functions.
• Be instrumental in defining longer term goals for chemicals strategy, UK REACH , building a strong evidence base and strategic policy narrative to support this.
• Define strategic direction for the division: working with the team and division to identify future priorities.
• Manage and lead teams from various disciplines and varying degrees of expertise and ensure they deliver to the best of their ability.
• Work closely with other Government departments and arms-length bodies, the devolved administrations and external stakeholders.
• Interface with the CPHW International team to inform UK policy positions and implement legally binding obligations of Chemicals and Waste Multilateral Environment Agreement and frameworks.
• Work in close collaboration, and ensure your team builds effective relationships, with analysts from CPHW’s central analysis team to ensure policy is based upon strong rational and evidence.

The posts offer some flexibility to be based outside of London, but the post holder is likely to be required to travel to London regularly, and may need to be able to attend meetings at short notice.

All of these posts require the successful candidate to hold basic security clearance. Candidates posted to London will 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.


We are looking for people with:
• Inclusive management and leadership skills who work well with and through others, as well as someone who is curious, embraces change and constantly looks for new ways to add value in an ambitious and challenging policy and delivery environment.
• Experience in understanding and simplifying complex policy choices using a range of evidence sources and expertise.
• Excellent communication and influencing skills, in particular, a strong ability to communicate clearly to diverse audiences, including senior stakeholders and international parties.
• Experience in strategic planning and proactively identifying opportunities to make a positive impact on policy priorities.
• Strong experience of leading multi-disciplinary teams and actively managing people to deliver required outcomes, ensuring join-up between different disciplines and creating a positive, supportive team culture.
• A track record of collaborative working across disciplines and organisational boundaries to deliver a programme of work and holding delivery partners accountable for progress and outcomes.


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

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Leadership
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Seeing the Big Picture


A career in the Civil Service is like no other. If you’re looking to join a world class team and develop your career with us, then the Civil Service is the place for you! You might be wondering, “what’s in it for me”? Take a look below at some of the benefits available to you as a civil servant in Defra.

A working environment that supports a range of flexible working options.

A civil service pension.

A working culture which encourages inclusion and diversity.

Defra is committed to taking positive action on diversity through recruitment, and actively encourage applications from as diverse a group of candidates as possible. We are particularly interested in applicants from communities such as BAME, LGBTQ+, veterans, disabled and ex-offenders, for example. The delivery challenges Defra faces are great, and we know that as a team and department we will only succeed by bringing a diverse set of views and backgrounds together. We are wholly committed to the Civil Service principles of diversity and equality of opportunity and will recruit through a fair, open and unbiased competition.

Access to learning and development tailored to your role:-

Everyone in Defra is supported to develop their skills and capabilities. When you join the Chemicals, Pesticides and Hazardous Waste Division (CPHW), you will be welcomed into your new team through an induction programme that will provide you with helpful information on the civil service, Defra, our work and our policies. Your line manager will also work with you to establish your priorities for the fiscal year, developing a performance, learning and development plan tailored to you and your role.

We’re keen to invest in you! CPHW ensures that each employee has clear learning and development opportunities funded through the financial year. As a civil servant, you will also have access to Civil Service Learning where you can participate in professional development programmes across a wide spectrum of subjects and professions.

Things you need to know Security

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.

People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

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

Application process
After submission of the first stage of your application, you will be invited to complete a Verbal Reasoning test. If you successfully pass the test, you will be invited to
complete the second stage of the application.

As part of the application process, you will be asked to complete 250-word statements on each of the following four Behaviours – (1) Communicating and Influencing; (2) Leadership; (3) Making Effective Decisions, and (4) Seeing the Big Picture – together with a Statement of Suitability which should be no more than 500 words and should be aligned to the following guidance:

Using the job description and person specification, outline how you meet the criteria for this role including technical skills. Please provide details of relevant past experience and how this will assist you in meeting the needs of this post.

As part of the application process, you will be asked to complete a CV. The CV will ask for your Job History, Qualifications and Past Skills and Experience.

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

Sift is likely to take place in mid to late October with interviews early to mid November.

The interviews will be Behaviour, Experience and Strength-based. All candidates invited to interview will be required to give a short 5-minute verbal presentation. The topic will be provided prior to interview.

**Please note that due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will not be interviewing face-to-face at this time. All interviews will be conducted remotely via video call. Further information will be provided to candidates in advance of interviews.**

Reserve list
We have a number of opportunities coming up across EQ and Defra. Candidates who pass the interview criteria but are not offered a post will be kept on a reserve list for 12 months and may be offered similar roles elsewhere.

Candidates who are judged to be a near miss may be considered for other posts in Defra which may be at a lower grade, but have a potential skills match.

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.

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 defrarecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk 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 Pre-Employment.Checks@cabinetoffice.gov.uk 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. You will however have access to the governments Tax Free Childcare scheme.

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: defrarecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

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.