See job eligibility requirements: SEO Economist – Floods & Water

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

Bristol, UK 🇬🇧

London, UK 🇬🇧

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK 🇬🇧

York, UK 🇬🇧

Reference number



£37,295 – £44,724

National: £37,295 – £41,425 London: £40,262- £44,724. This analysis post is also eligible for a Specialist Skills Supplement of £3000 per annum (pro rata). Please see below under the heading ‘Salary’ for further information.

Civil Service Pension with an average employer contribution of 27%

Job grade

Senior Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area

DEFRA – Environment – Water & Flood Management

Type of role


Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Number of jobs available



Bristol, London, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, York

About the job

Job summary

Working within Defra, we deal with a vast range of issues that profoundly impact people’s lives. We are responsible for England’s environment, our countryside and rural economy, the food and farming sectors and have lead responsibility for protection from a wide range of natural threats and hazards. We are looking for an ambitious and enthusiastic SEO economist to support the domestic and international policy agenda in Floods & Water for a role which will be critically important to achieving our vision of ‘creating a great place for living’. This is a particularly exciting time to join the Defra group as you will have the opportunity to contribute towards and influence the development of new approaches and policies on a wide range of issues affecting millions of people in the UK. You will play an active role in shaping and delivering the Defra group’s priorities, working creatively and collaboratively with others to deliver excellent outcomes. Working with us will provide significant opportunities to develop your own skills and future career. 

Water is vital for life – clean, freshwater for drinking and sanitation, providing for farms and industry, creating and sustaining the ecosystems on which all life depends. Our water supply is a finite natural resource, facing increasing pressures from climate change and population growth. And too much water in the wrong place leads to floods or sewer overflows that pollute our rivers. Never before has the political, media and public attention been as focused on the water environment as it is now.  And we have an ambitious forward agenda set out in our Environmental Improvement Plan. Together this adds up to a fantastic opportunity to make a real and lasting difference to benefit people and the environment.

Defra’s Floods and Water Directorate leads the government’s work on the water system – water quality, water resources, floods protection and emergency response. We are a friendly, high-performing, and inclusive directorate, and our work has a real impact on people’s lives and the environment.  

Your personal qualities will be as important as your professional experience; and we welcome applications from all backgrounds. If you believe you have the skills and qualities we are looking for, then we would like to hear from you. The Defra group is dedicated to promoting equality and valuing diversity. We are committed to ensuring that every talented and hard-working person has the opportunity to rise to the top, whatever their background and whoever they are. 

We are seeking an experienced and capable individual who will contribute towards delivering an improved environment whilst maximising value for money. Specialist knowledge is not required from applicants, as we value the importance of an individual’s range of skills, however we are looking for a strong foundation in microeconomics. You will play an active role in working creatively and collaboratively with others to deliver excellent outcomes. 

Job description

Defra’s responsibility for water quality and availability has never felt more important or exciting. This role is a fantastic opportunity to support high-profile economic work to make sure England’s water system delivers for people and the environment, working hand-in-hand with policy in a fast-paced environment where analysis has a significant impact.

Achieving “Clean and Plentiful Water” is a key element of Defra’s 25 Year Environment Plan and Defra’s Plan for Water. The water environment in England faces multiple pressures from human activities, including intensive land use, pollution from agriculture, processing of wastewater, and water usage. Significant change is needed if we are to meet the government’s challenging water objectives.

We are looking for an experienced analyst to support economic input and research into potential improvements that could be made to the water regulatory model in support of Defra’s Plan for Water. As set out in Defra’s Plan for Water, this should help support measures to transform and integrate our water system, address sources of pollution and boost our water supplies through more investment, tighter regulation, and more effective enforcement.

We are also seeking an individual who relishes the opportunity to evaluate and challenge economic analysis in the wider team – helping support other economists in the Analysis and Evidence for Floods, Water and Contamination Team on other projects as needed. The wider team operates flexibly.

Person specification

Please use your personal statement to demonstrate how you meet the below criteria.

Essential Skills for role:   

  • You must be a member of Government Economic Service or have the ability to meet the criteria
  • The ability to apply economic tools and techniques, and synthesise evidence from a range of sources, as appropriate
  • Theoretical and empirical knowledge of market forces, market failure, and how these impact on the incentives of economic agents
  • Excellent analytical skills including quantitative skills (at least intermediate proficiency with Excel) and ability to quality assure others’ analysis
  • Experience producing high-quality and policy-relevant analysis along with the ability to clearly communicate such analysis in both written and verbal format
  • Ability to work under pressure and to competing deadlines
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively across a multidisciplinary analytical team, building and managing relationships with policy colleagues and wider groups to achieve progress on shared outcomes
  • Experience in undertaking economic analysis ensuring application of Green Book Principles
  • Experience researching, judging the quality of, and summarising evidence in order to inform policy


You must hold a first or upper second-class honours degree in economics (or international equivalent), or a postgraduate degree in economics. If it is a joint degree, at least 50% of the course modules must be in economics.


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

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

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

  • Communicating and Influencing

Technical skills

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

  • GES – Application of knowledge. As a Senior Executive Office (SEO) grade economist you should be able to demonstrate your abilities against the GES technical framework: GES Technical Framework 2022 – GOV.UK at SEO/Level 2 Practitioner grade.


Alongside your salary of £37,295, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs contributes £10,069 towards you being a member of the Civil Service Defined Benefit Pension scheme. Find out what benefits a Civil Service Pension provides.

  • 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%

Blended Working

Defra operates a blended working policy subject to business need, giving people the flexibility to choose when and where they work and collaborate with others.

Individuals are expected to work from one of the office locations stated in the advert to connect with their colleagues, as required by their role and business team needs. There is flexibility to split the working week, spending minimum of 40-60% in the workplace, unless exceptional circumstances apply and/or you are a contractual home worker.

Things you need to know

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.

Application Process

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete:

  • CV
  • Personal Statement (maximum of 500 word) on how you meet the role criteria outlined in the Person Specification
  • Statement (maximum 250 words) on the lead behaviour, Communicating and Influencing

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 Personal statement and 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 and interview dates to be confirmed.


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

Interviews to be conducted via MS Teams.


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.

Candidates applying for these roles will be based at one of the Defra hubs as advertised. 

For information, our core Defra hub locations are:

  • York – the Kings Pool
  • Newcastle – Lancaster House
  • Bristol – Horizon House (Please note that space at this office is limited and it may not be possible for all Policy roles to be recruited to this location)
  • London – 2 Marsham Street

Internal (core Defra) employees can apply for this role and choose to remain in their current location or to be based in one of the advertised locations. 

All other applicants will be based in one of the advertised locations.

Defra continues to support a blended working model and candidates are currently expected to attend their office base for 40-60% of the week.

Travel and subsistence will not be paid for travel to a base office location.

Near miss 

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

Merit list

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.

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.

This post offers the successful candidate the opportunity to receive an additional pay supplement of £3,000 upon appointment (pro rata). In addition to this, there is a further pay supplement of up to £3,000 (pro rata) which may be offered based on candidate’s annual competency assessment.

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 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 may be 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 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 

Please be aware the levels of national security clearance are changing which may impact on the level needed for this role by the time of appointment. All efforts will be made to keep candidates informed of any changes and what that will mean in terms of vetting criteria. For more information please See our vetting charter.

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

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 the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities with settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window)
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities who have made a valid application for settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • individuals with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain who were eligible to apply for EUSS on or before 31 December 2020
  • Turkish nationals, and certain family members of Turkish nationals, who have accrued the right to work in the Civil Service

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.

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

This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans (opens in a new window) initiative.

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 :Kelly Wiles
  • Email

Recruitment team

  • Email

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:

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.




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