See job eligibility requirements: Senior Specialist (Hydrology)

Natural England

England, UK 🇬🇧

Reference number




Job grade

Senior Executive Officer

Senior Specialist

Contract type


Type of role

Environment and Sustainability

Working pattern

Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Number of jobs available



East Midlands (England), East of England, London (region), North East England, North West England, South East England, South West England, West Midlands (England), Yorkshire and the Humber

About the job

Job summary

This position is based nationally

Job description

The team  

About Natural England

Do you have a passion for nature and the environment? Do you want to make a real difference and secure significant environmental gains in the present and the future? Do you enjoy working in a team? Can you see yourself advising communities and customers to maximise gains for the Natural Environment? 

If this appeals to you, a career at Natural England offers rewarding opportunities to secure environmental improvements and play your part in creating a better future for people and nature. 

The priority work Natural England is delivering includes:

  • Establishing a Nature Recovery Network to help wildlife thrive
  • Monitoring environmental changes to identify and help reduce the effects of climate change
  • Working with farmers and landowners to develop greener food production methods
  • Advising on plans for new developments to maximise gains for nature
  • Providing ways for people to better connect with nature, including green social prescribing

We are the Government’s advisor for the natural environment, playing a vital role in delivering the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, an ambitious vision which brings new opportunities to protect and enhance and to achieve real outcomes for the environment.

Find out more about the work of Natural England at

The Role

This role is an opportunity to proactively lead and provide national expertise on all aspects of hydrology in England.  Working closely with other specialists, you will interpret evidence to provide expert, practical advice across Natural England, while also working with external partners to enhance the evidence base and achieve environmental outcomes to support delivery of Defra’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

The Team

You will join Natural England’s national Science team, which is made up of nature conservation specialists responsible for developing and applying natural, economic, and social science and evidence to drive and enable the achievement of environmental outcomes both within Natural England and externally.  The Science team is part of the Chief Scientist’s Directorate, responsible for delivering Natural England’s Science, Evidence and Evaluation Strategy, aiming to ensure Natural England is an evidence-led organisation.

You will, along with our existing Hydrology/ Hydrogeology Senior Specialist, work closely with colleagues for Chemicals, Air Quality and Water across Natural England. You will develop strong relationships with key stakeholders, especially DEFRA, Environment Agency, water industry, farming and environmental NGOs, and other key academic and research partners such as UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and academic researchers.

Job description  

Job description

Within this role you will work across a broad range of priorities including work to protect and improve our most valuable habitats. You will provide evidence to inform projects at a range of scales, and work with water companies and others to improve management of water resources regionally and nationally to help deliver nature recovery.

You will develop solid working relationships with colleagues in NE and partner organisations such as EA, Defra, Environmental NGOs and academic partners. You will use your technical expertise to contribute to policy development and collaborate with stakeholders within the water industry to reach satisfactory outcomes.

The role requires an expert knowledge and understanding of hydrological processes and evidence along with experience applying this knowledge to issues in the natural environment. You will need the ability to horizon scan to help build the evidence base to inform Natural England’s advice on both government policy and delivery.

A good understanding of regulatory regimes and other organisations’ broader roles in water resource management is desirable. This role plays a critical part in helping Natural England meet its aspirations of being an evidence-led organisation.

Key tasks and principal accountabilities:

Specific responsibilities will develop and change over time and the post holder will need to maintain a flexible and adaptable attitude and approach.  Initial broad work areas are described below:

  • Provide timely, clear and consistent advice and guidance to area team staff with respect to hydrology to enable area teams to deliver successful environmental outcomes, especially related to protected site management, habitat creation and restoration and hydrological impact assessment.
  • Provide training and mentoring for Natural England staff on hydrological subjects.
  • Develop and maintain Natural England’s evidence base through project leadership to better understand relationships between hydrology and water dependant habitats and species.
  • Represent Natural England externally as an expert hydrologist. This will include leading Natural England’s engagement on strategic consultations, including liaison with the Environment Agency and other water managers.
  • Work with other Natural England colleagues to progress delivery of the Defra 25 Year Environment Plan and provide specialist input to the development of ELMs (Environmental Land Management scheme) and the Nature Recovery Network.


Wherever possible Natural England accommodates requests for both full-time and part-time hours and other flexible working patterns to help employees achieve a good work/life balance and maintain their health and wellbeing.

Natural England provides excellent opportunities for career progression, training and development tailored to your role. From induction to ongoing learning and development, everyone in Natural England is supported to develop their skills and capabilities. Everyone has 10 days to devote to personal learning and development, as well as an additional 3 days to volunteer.

You will have access to Civil Service Pension and benefits arrangements and generous leave allowances (33 day per year pro rata), as well as flexible working, to help you achieve a work-life balance that works for you and us.

You will have access to a range of benefits including discounts on shopping vouchers, cycle to work scheme, and childcare vouchers. You can also join the Civil Service Sport club which offer discounts on a range of sports and leisure opportunities as well as social events.

Natural England is a fantastic place to work, where difference is celebrated.

We’re committed to fairness and equality for all, so you feel valued for who you are and what you do. Our shared values help us work together to benefit the communities we serve. Our thriving employee-led diversity networks support our inclusive culture and contribute to our Diversity Action Plan.


Natural England is adopting hybrid working – which means that our staff will work from a flexible range of locations, encompassing home, offices (ours and our partners) and relevant sites. All new staff will be formally linked to one of our 25 offices across England and the expectation is that all new staff will be able to access their local office to be part of the community of staff in their geographic area. Staff members are required to carry out all their duties working in this way and cannot do so from an overseas location at any time. Travel expenses will be paid if work related travel is required but does not apply to travel between home and your associated office.

National team roles can be linked with any Natural England office while Area Team roles will be linked with an office in the relevant geographic area.

View a map of our office locations here:

How to Apply

We welcome and encourage applications from all communities. Natural England is accredited to the Disability Confident Scheme, which denotes organisations which have a positive attitude towards disabled people. Disabled applicants who meet the minimum requirements for the role at the shortlisting stage are guaranteed an invitation to interview.

If you require a reasonable adjustment at interview, or there is anything else you would like the panel to take into consideration, you should notify us of this at application stage where possible, or well in advance of your interview.

This vacancy uses competency-based assessment. We’ll assess you against the competencies below during the selection process:

  • Technical Skills & Knowledge
  • Personal Effectiveness
  • Putting people at the heart of the environment
  • Work delivery

When completing the application form you should present relevant examples using the STAR format. Give us an example of how you have demonstrated the competency (which can be work related or from another area of your life) and tell us about the Situation, the specific Task you had to undertake, the specific Actions you took, and the Result (both immediate and in a wider context) of your doing so.

Examples should be given in no more than 250 words for each competency.


Competence 1  

Professional competency


Technical Skills and Knowledge
(You do not need to answer in the STAR format)


  • Qualified to at least BSc level in an ecological or water related discipline, with proven knowledge of and experience of hydrology and water dependant habitats (Essential).
    • A postgraduate qualification involving hydrology(Desirable)
    Applicants that do not hold the required degrees should specify experience and outputs that they have produced that demonstrate that they have an equivalent level of knowledge
    • Able to apply a sound knowledge of different aspects of hydrology and natural function in the context of water-dependent habitats and species (Essential)
    • Demonstratable knowledge of specific legislation and the legislative context relevant to the water environment and protected site series. (Essential)
    • Ability to use your strong numerical and analytical skills to manage large data sets and produce robust quality assured evidence. (Essential)
    • A good understanding of horizon scanning and evaluation methods. (Desirable)

Competence 2  

Professional competency


Personal effectiveness


  • Test and challenge others in a constructive and evidence-based way providing scientific scrutiny, challenge and assurance to casework and other delivery that is practical and, where appropriate, cross-disciplinary. (Expert)
    • Train, coach and mentor others to increase their capability to deliver the Science Evidence and Evaluation and People strategies and increase the organisation’s technical skill and capability (Practitioner)
    • Proactively communicate and present your data, evidence and analyses in ways that meet people’s needs so they can understand its implications and use it effectively to deliver positive outcomes for the environment (Practitioner)

Competence 3  

Professional competency


Putting People at the Heart of the Environment


  • Nurture trusting partnerships and collaborate to achieve pragmatic outcomes that help deliver the organisation’s vision, mission and aims (Practitioner)
    • Listen to and understand our diverse partners and customers so that you achieve the best outcomes for them and the organisation. (Practitioner)
    • Build relationships and effective networks both externally and internally to bring in fresh perspectives, approaches and evidence to raise the profile of both your individual specialist work and that of the organisation. (Expert)

Competence 4  

Professional competency


Work delivery


  • Identify priority evidence needs and seek ways to meet them (e.g. through funding or partnerships) (Practitioner)
    • See the big picture, setting your own work, and that of others within the context of the organisation’s vision, mission and aims and help them understand how their work relates to and supports this (practitioner)
    • Manage and deliver your work to meet agreed targets and deadlines (expert) 

Person specification

Please refer to Job Description


  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%

Things you need to know

Selection process details

Please refer to Job Description

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


Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.

People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) checks.

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) (opens in a new window)
  • 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 (opens in a new window)

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code (opens in a new window) 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 (opens in a new window).

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.

Apply and further information

The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment (opens in new window).

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 :

  • Name :Dr Susan Clark
  • Email
  • Telephone :07773783643

Recruitment team :

  • Email

Further information


Candidate Pack Natural England v1.5 Opens in new window(docx, 1319kB)




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