Policy Advisors for EU Exit (HEO); Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Job Title: 
Policy Advisors for EU Exit (HEO)
Job Location: 
Bristol, York and London
Full-Time / Fixed Term

As a Policy Advisor you will be part of a team of experts that is delivering on Defra’s priorities to support the UK’s Exit from the European Union. 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 and your to help guide decisions that develop and delivery strategic policy. 
• Supporting the team to provide effective and timely briefings to Ministers and senior officials. 

It remains an exciting time to work in Defra as the department changes to deliver an effective exit from the EU. Our policy areas are each split into Directorates, workstreams and projects that combine flexibly to deliver on Ministerial priorities. 

As a Higher Executive Officer 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 the exit of the UK from the EU. 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. 

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 industry bodies, non-governmental organisations and UK citizens. 

There are a number of work areas under which a Policy Advisor may work in Defra. Please see the attached candidate pack for a little more information about them and the Policy Profession in Defra. 

Work areas that available are: 
• Agri- Food Chain  
• Animal and Plant Health and Welfare 
• Biosecurity and Food Projects 
• Environmental Regulations  
• EU and International Trade 
• EU Exit Domestic and Constitutional Affairs 
• EU Exit Overview 
• Future Farming and Countryside 
• Marine and Fisheries 
• Strategy 

The Policy Profession in Defra and the Civil Service 

The career anchor for these roles is the Policy Profession, Defra’s central Policy Profession team works alongside HR and other teams to equip policy professionals in the Defra group, with the skills, knowledge, and confidence necessary to deliver high-quality policies in an increasingly complex environment. 

New joiners can expect full support from the Policy Profession, including in your career development, through peer learning, mentoring and coaching as well as access to a wide range of material and professional advice to support you in your role. 

The central Policy Profession operates across the Civil Service, and sits within Civil Service Learning, supporting government-wide Policy Profession initiatives. It’s for anyone who works in, or is involved with, the formation of policy for government – including those that may belong to another Government Profession.  

To find more information on the policy profession in the Civil Service, click here

Essential Experience: 
• 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. 

Person Specification: 
To be successful in this campaign you will need to demonstrate the advertised Behaviours and Experience. In addition, we are looking to appoint individuals who are able to show how an innovative approach to a range of complex and rapidly changing situations can deliver results. You need to be able to adapt to variations in work or environment and not allow your effectiveness to be impacted by change. You’ll be flexible and versatile and act as an advocate for change. 

Naturally, you will be someone who like to seek and analyse information in order to inform decisions based on the best available evidence. You will always think ahead to anticipate, identify and address any risks or problems before they occur.  

It is in your nature to work well as part of a team, striving to ensure the team pulls together and is at its most effective. You are able to quickly establish mutual respect and trust, building long lasting relationships with others, both internally and externally. 

On top of this, you will show you have inner composure, recovering quickly from setbacks and learning from them, remaining self-aware and true to yourself in all situations, even when under pressure. You take ownership for your decisions and hold yourself accountable for what you have promised to deliver. 


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

  • Delivering at Pace
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Changing and Improving
Please note that all jobs are automatically removed once the application deadline passes. Jobs without a deadline are automatically removed after 30 days.