See job eligibility requirements: Policy Advisor (Water Industry Markets and Investment)

U.K. Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

United Kingdom 🇬🇧

Reference number: 200999

Salary: £29,179 – £35,888National: £29,179 – £32,160, London: £32,557 – £35,888. For details of our pay on appointment policy, please see below under the heading ‘Salary’.

Grade: Higher Executive Officer

Contract type: Permanent

Business area: DEFRA – Environment Rural and Marine Environmental Quality and Water

Type of role: Policy

Working pattern: Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Number of posts: 1


Can be based at any of one of the Defra hub offices. Staff will be required to travel to London to attend staff meetings.

About the job


The Defra Economic Regulation Team (part of Defra’s Water Services Division) is responsible for the overall policy framework of economic regulation for England’s water industry. We are a diverse and geographically dispersed team, and we support flexible working. We work to secure clean and plentiful water for all through our work with England’s water industry. .

The team leads Defra’s work on the 2024 price review for the water industry. We work across Defra and the regulators Ofwat and the Environment Agency to support effective policy design. We also monitor and advise Ministers of the cost of new and emerging policies. You will support the team to deliver Defra’s interests through the 2024 price review, and help to advise Ministers and Senior Civil Servants on some of the most pressing issues facing the water industry.

The team is also leading Defra’s sponsorship of the growing business retail market for water, supporting England’s businesses to access clean and plentiful water. You will be responsible for developing policy to ensure business customers are protected in the event that a water retailer fails.

Across your responsibilities, you will work closely with the economic regulator Ofwat.

This role requires a working understanding of the utilities industry and economic regulation.

Experience with developing primary legislation, or other parliamentary process, is desirable.

Candidates may have experience working for an economic regulator, in a relevant role within the civil service policy profession, or in the utilities industry.

Defra welcomes applications from prospective candidates who could fill the post on a fixed-term basis on secondment or loan from another organisation.

Job description

Work with Ofwat and the water industry to solve some of the most challenging problems facing the water sector;

Build relationships with the water sector and across-Whitehall to stay up to date with the latest developments on economic regulation and competition policy (e.g. the cross-Whitehall review of economic regulation);

Develop, own and represent the DEFRA position effectively, and brief senior civil servants and Ministers when needed;

Provide written briefing, and respond to parliamentary correspondence; and

Support other teams within the Floods & Water directorate to help them understand how their work interacts with the price review.


Ability to deliver outcomes in a complex environment, developing big-picture long-term vision (Seeing the Big Picture).

Ability to understand complex policy (including economic, financial or commercial issues) and use data and evidence sources to make recommendations (Making effective decisions).

Ability to translate technical or complex information for a non-technical audience and to provide clear, impactful advice (Communicating and Influencing).

You will need to be familiar with the core principles of Economic/Utility regulation. We particularly welcome candidates with background in utilities (commercial or regulatory) and consultancy.


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

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

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

  • Seeing the Big Picture


– Learning and development tailored to your role
– An environment with flexible working options
– A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
– A Civil Service pension

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security 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 and Experience.Application Process
As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV, personal statement and a behaviour statement.

Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

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

Sift and interview dates as well as the interview location to be confirmed.

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

Sift and interview dates are to be confirmed.

A presentation or additional exercise may also be assessed.

Please be aware that this role(s) will be contractually based in a Defra group workplace/office. The successful candidate is required to carry out all their duties from a UK location, and cannot do so from an overseas location at any time

Reserve List
A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made.

New entrants to the Civil Service are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band. The internal roles rules apply to existing Civil Servants, i.e. level transfers move on current salary or the pay range minimum, transfers on promotion move to new pay range minimum or receive 10% increase. Either case is determined by whichever is the highest.

Visa Sponsorship Statement
Please take note that Defra does not hold a UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) Skilled Worker License sponsor and are unable to sponsor any individuals for Skilled Worker Sponsorship.

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 [email protected] 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.

If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the ‘Contact point for applicants’ section.

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 circumstances 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 [email protected] stating the job reference number in the subject heading .

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.

A candidate is not eligible to apply for a role within the Civil Service if the application is made within a 5 year period following a dismissal for carrying out internal fraud against government.

Higher Security Clearance:
All of these posts require the successful candidate to hold basic security clearance. Candidates posted to 2 Marsham Street, London 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.

Childcare Vouchers
Any move to Defra from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at here

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.

As government restrictions continue to lift, Defra group is exploring future ways of working with flexibility in mind. This means, that subject to business need, successful candidates will be offered the option to combine working at home with working at their contractual Defra group workplace, with occasional travel to other work locations. Further information relevant to this post will be available for candidates invited to interview.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals

Further information on nationality requirements

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.The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.

Apply and further information

Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :

Recruitment team :

Further information

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: [email protected] 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