U.K. nationals: Policy Advisor (Floods and Water)

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
Various, United Kingdom
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
Experience Level: 
Not Specified


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Bristol, South West : London : York, Yorkshire and the Humber

About the job

Job description

This is an exciting opportunity to work as part of the Water Services team, in the Floods and Water Directorate at Defra.

Clean and plentiful water is something we often take for-granted but challenges such as climate change and population growth are putting pressure on the availability of this precious resource. The team are responsible for a number of high profile, fast moving work areas to address these challenges, ranging from developing legislation to developing policy on using water more efficiently. We work with the water industry and regulators, such as the Environment Agency and Ofwat, to ensure clear expectations are set for the industry to deliver for customers and to ensure that new water resources can be developed on time to meet future needs.

The team:

Water Services is a friendly, inclusive and supportive team that encourages collaborative working between teams and provides good opportunities for development.

About the roles:

We are looking for three, potentially four, policy advisors who are keen to help us to deliver important water and wastewater policy. In summary, the roles will involve:

• building relationships with stakeholders within and outside Government.

• being organised so that you plan and prioritise to deliver effective results.

• using evidence to help guide decisions that develop and deliver strategic policy.

• supporting in the development of policy papers and reports.

• supporting the team to provide effective and timely briefings to Ministers and senior officials.

• the roles may also involve line management responsibilities.

The successful candidates will work in or across the following areas:

Water resources planning, efficiency and abstraction:

Ensuring we use water efficiently, reduce leakage and plan ahead, is vital to ensuring we have the water resources we need in place to deliver secure supplies into the future. We also need to make sure that abstracting water from the environment for use in homes and businesses doesn’t harm it.

When working in this area, you will help to manage the statutory process for water company drought planning, as well as work collaboratively with the Environment Agency to develop new policy thinking on the future of water company drought planning. You will support legislative changes to the abstraction regime and see through the implementation and further policy thinking on water resources and efficiency projects, as well as managing Parliamentary business for water resources and abstraction.

Economic Regulation and Strategy:

There has been extensive commentary in the press on high water company dividends/ CEO pay and poor operational performance, which has undermined trust and confidence in the sector. The Secretary of State has a strong interest in this area - the water industry is amongst his top five priorities. We are working closely with Ofwat, the independent water regulator, to deliver an ambitious agenda for reform of the sector as part of the 2019 price review. This will set performance expectations and costs water companies can recover for the 2020-2025 period.

You will engage with Ofwat and key stakeholders and will work with Ministers on how the industry are delivering their commitments and objectives whilst maintaining commitments to keep bills affordable and deliver value for money. We are also starting to scope out our priorities for the next price review period (PR24) and you will get the chance to be involved in these early discussions.

Consumer protection:

This work will include having oversight of implementation of the Digital Economy Act provisions to allow data sharing, to help identify customers who may need support with their bills. It involves taking the lead on water industry bad debt and the levers in place in the current water industry planning process (price review PR19) to tackle this issue and leading on other policies designed to protect customers and help the most vulnerable (including for example, social tariffs, WaterSure, Guaranteed Service Standards). You will work closely with the water consumer body (the Consumer Council for Water) and take the lead role in Defra’s sponsorship of this organisation.

Wales Devolution on water and sewerage:

The Wales Act 2017 sets out a new reserved model of devolution on water and sewerage. It will introduce England / Wales geographical boundary delineations of UK and Welsh Governments’ powers. You will be involved in a joint project with Welsh Government to implement the legislation. You will also engage with Wales Office, Defra policy leads, Legal teams, Ofwat and water companies to identify issues, consequential legislative changes needed and ways forward. You will draft policy instructions for Defra legal, lead on the development of the draft consultation document and on drafting updates and submissions for ministers.

About you:

We are looking for motivated individuals who are keen to take the lead and drive forward action, show initiative and make key decisions. The team support and work closely with senior civil servants and Ministers and work with a range of other stakeholders, including water companies and NGOs. We are therefore looking for individuals with excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, who can build effective relationships and influence others. You will be proactive, adaptable and happy to work across different policy areas. You will have good organisational skills that will allow you to work at pace and under pressure, whilst effectively managing the delivery of short and long term tasks and projects alongside one another.

Experience of working in a policy role and/or knowledge of the water industry or regulation would be useful but is not essential.

If these sound like the kind of roles you might be interested in we would love to hear from you!


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

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



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.

Things you need to know


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.

Nationality statement

Candidates will be subject to UK immigration requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules.

If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.

Selection process details

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

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV. Your CV should demonstrate examples of the skills and experience listed above (for example, how you can demonstrate good organisational skills).

You will be asked to complete a personal statement. Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

If your application is successful, the selection process will involve a short presentation followed by interview. Candidates will be informed of the presentation topic prior to the interview.

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 equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Contact point for applicants

Contact: Laura Chester

Sift/interview dates and location

Sifting is envisaged to take place in mid-June with interviews beginning the week commencing 24th June, to take place in 2 Marsham Street, London but this is subject to change.

Further information

Location: The post-holder could be based in London or York but will need to be able and willing to travel to London on a semi- regular basis (i.e. at least once a fortnight) where Ministers and other members of the team are based. Travel may be slightly more frequent during the first few months of induction.

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 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.

Legislative changes and the closure of Employer Supported Childcare scheme on 4 October 2018 will mean individuals moving across the Civil Service to a new PAYE scheme on any type of move other than TUPE/COSOP will lose the right to continue to claim Childcare Vouchers.

Whilst some employees may lose the right to continue claiming childcare vouchers via their employer, they may still be eligible to claim Click here Get Tax-Free Childcare

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.

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:

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

Candidates can claim travel costs if they attend an interview/selection stage for the vacancy.