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Policy

Head of Political Strategy – 35985
£43,958 - £71,411
Multiple Locations

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We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including groups currently underrepresented in our workforce and pride ourselves as being an employer of choice. To find out more about how we champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice/about/equality-and-diversity

BACKGROUND:

The Northern Ireland Office is the UK Government in Northern Ireland and works to make Northern Ireland a better place to live, work and do business. We have a wide range of responsibilities, including: underpinning political stability in Northern Ireland; overseeing the Northern Ireland devolution settlement; leading on national security policy in Northern Ireland; addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past; delivering elections and constitutional reform in Northern Ireland; playing a key role in rebalancing the NI economy; representing NI interests, including around the Irish border, as the UK exits the EU. Our small size and diverse portfolio create a stimulating, fast-paced and challenging working environment, with regular engagement with a range of Ministers and senior officials. We support flexible working and have a modern, flexible IT system which helps enable this.

ABOUT THE ROLE:

As Head of Political Strategy you will be responsible for supporting political objectives in Northern Ireland, particularly:

  • supporting the stability and peace brought about by the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and its successors;
  • supporting newly restored institutions including the NI Executive and NI Assembly to survive and thrive to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland;
  • delivery of the New Decade, New Approach agreement to restore the institutions reached in January 2020.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

You will be responsible for:

  • developing a strong expertise on Northern Ireland politics and the events, people and decisions that shape it;
  • ensuring that the Northern Ireland Office and the whole of the UK Government maintains a strong understanding of Northern Ireland’s political events and their impact on UK Government policy and approach;
  • developing and maintaining excellent relationships across the NI political system, including with officials in the institutions such as the Northern Ireland Civil Service and the Northern Ireland Assembly, with Northern Ireland’s political parties, with opinion formers and influencers;
  • identifying and managing risks to political stability in Northern Ireland, including through the relationships you build within both Northern Ireland politics and across the UK Government;
  • managing the delivery by UK Government of our commitments made under the New Decade, New Approach deal to restore the Executive, and managing the governance arrangements under that agreement to oversee wider implementation of the agreement by all parties;
  • managing a small team with a focus on coaching, empowerment and inclusion.

ESSENTIAL CRITERIA:

A detailed knowledge of Northern Irish affairs is not essential, but successful candidates will be expected to be able to quickly grasp complex political issues and work to deliver policy effectively in the context of Northern Ireland. Some knowledge or understanding of Northern Ireland politics will be beneficial.

Willingness to undergo SC clearance, or existing clearance to that level.

To be successful, you must be able to demonstrate that you have:

  • Excellent political awareness, with the capacity to understand the wider implications of both your work and that of others
  • The ability to develop and maintain effective, responsive relationships with colleagues and stakeholders in a range of contexts, and to use your interpersonal skills to achieve results;
  • Good fundamental policy making skills, with excellent written and oral communication;
  • Previous experience of working closely with Ministers and senior officials;
  • A proven ability to work at pace and under pressure and dealing with high levels of uncertainty.

DESIRABLE CRITERIA:

Good knowledge of Northern Ireland’s political environment would be beneficial.

For the essential and desirable criteria please upload a suitability statement of no more than 250 words setting out how you meet the essential/desirable criteria

BEHAVIOURS:

We will assess you against the following Success Profiles behaviours at Level X during the selection process.

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

More information on behaviours and success profiles can be found here.

The interview will be of a blended nature consisting of behaviours, experience and strength-based questions. The strength-based questions will require natural responses from the candidates.

Please note that in the event of a large number of applications being received we may run the initial sift on the lead Behaviour “communicating and influencing”.

SECURITY CLEARANCE

Security clearance to SC level will be required for this post.

ELIGIBILITY SIFT

An eligibility sift will be carried out on the basis of the information contained in the application form. It is therefore important that all applicants demonstrate in their application how and to what extent their behaviours are relevant to the above criteria. Those candidates who do not clearly demonstrate that they meet the experience and behaviours will not be invited to interview.

PAY AND ALLOWANCES

The successful candidate will adopt the terms and conditions of the NIO for the length of their appointment.

Neither Detached Duty terms no relocation costs will apply to this post.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Further information about the post may be obtained from Paul Flynn on e-mail to paul.flynn@nio.gov.uk.

APPLICATIONS

You can apply for this post through the Civil Service website at: civilservice.gov.uk. Once logged onto the site got to the civil service jobs page and then search for jobs in the Northern Ireland Office where the application form can be found.

Additional information received after the closing date will not be considered. Failure to provide sufficient information in support of an application prior to the closing date will not be considered as grounds for an appeal if an applicant is not short listed for interview.

HCS applicants who, because of disability, need assistance in completing the application form should contact MoJ Shared Services on 0845 010 3512.

All applications for employment are considered strictly on the basis of merit.

This job description should not be taken as constituting conditions of employment.

Please note that due to the high interest in NIO secondments, feedback cannot be given if you are unsuccessful at sift stage. Feedback is available on request if unsuccessful following interview.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Further information about us

We are a small and friendly department of approximately 203 staff. Due to our size we are able to offer staff more exposure to ministers and the opportunity to work on a far wider portfolio of responsibilities than might be the case in a larger department. This creates an interesting, though often challenging, work environment.

Other Benefits

The NIO offers a pleasant, modern work environment which allows consideration of a range of flexible working arrangements which support a good work/ life balance. These include flexible/ alternative working patterns, part-time and job-share options.

Benefits include:

               interest-free season ticket and bicycle loans

                Reward & Recognition scheme

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

The Northern Ireland Office operates the Guaranteed Interview Scheme, details of which are attached to the application form for this post.

Diversity Information

The Northern Ireland Office is committed to being an inclusive employer with a diverse workforce. We encourage applications from people from the widest possible diversity of backgrounds, cultures and experiences.

We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates, as they are under-represented within the NIO at this level.

The Northern Ireland Office strives to be an inclusive employer and is recognised by its staff and externally as being an employer where Diversity and Inclusion are valued.

We hold a Diversity & Inclusion Charter Mark and are an accredited Disability Confident Leader organisation

In March 2018 we won the award for Best Employer for Diversity & Equality in Northern Ireland (small employer category) in a Gala Award ceremony hosted by Legal-Island, a multi-award winning workplace compliance company based in Northern Ireland.

We have an active D&I network supporting colleagues through D&I Advocates, championed by our Directors.

We want all our people to feel valued for who they are and we are confident that you will find the NIO a warm, welcoming and inclusive place to work.

Further information on civil service careers can be found at  www.civil-service-careers.gov.uk

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants. 

Appointment to the Civil Service is governed by the Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles. You have the right to complain if you feel a department has breached the requirement of the Recruitment Principles.

Please contact SSCL (Moj-recruitment-vetting-enquiries@sscl.gse.gov.uk) in the first instance.

If you are not satisfied with the response, you may bring your complaint to the Commission. For further information on bringing a complaint to the Civil Service Commission please visit their web pages:

http://civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk/civil-service-recruitment/complaints/

Additional Information

Working Arrangements & Further Information

Some of MoJ’s terms and conditions of service are changing as part of Civil Service reform. The changes will apply to staff joining MoJ who are new to the Civil Service. Staff joining MoJ from other civil service employers will transfer onto the new MoJ terms if they are already on ‘modernised’ terms in their current post or onto ‘unmodernised’ MoJ terms if they are on ‘unmodernised’ terms at their current post. Details will be available if an offer is made.

Flexible working hours

The Ministry of Justice offers a flexible working system in many offices.

Benefits

The MoJ offers a range of benefits:

Annual Leave

Annual leave is 25 days on appointment and will increase to 30 days after five years’ service.

There is also a scheme to allow qualifying staff to buy or sell up to three days leave each year. Additional paid time off for public holidays and 1 privilege day. Leave for part-time and job share posts will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.

Pension

The Civil Service offers a choice of pension schemes, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best.

Training

The Ministry of Justice is committed to staff development and offers an extensive range of training and development opportunities.

Support

  • A range of ‘Family Friendly’ policies such as opportunities to work reduced hours or job share.
  • Access to flexible benefits such as voluntary benefits,retail vouchers and discounts on a range of goods and services.
  • For any moves across the Civil Service may have implications on your ability to carry on claiming childcare vouchers
  • Paid paternity, adoption and maternity leave.
  • Free annual sight tests for employees who use computer screens.

Networks

The opportunity to join employee-run networks that have been established to provide advice and support and to enable the views of employees from minority groups to be expressed direct to senior management. There are currently networks for employees of minority ethnic origin, employees with disabilities, employees with caring responsibilities, women employees, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

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. Should you feel that the recruitment process has breached the recruitment principles you are able to raise a formal complaint in the following order

1-      To Shared Service Connected Ltd (0845 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm) or e mail Moj-recruitment-vetting-enquiries@gov.sscl.com);

2-      To Ministry of Justice Resourcing (resourcing-services@justice.gov.uk);

3-      To the Civil Service Commission (details available here)

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.

Grading Structure Review

The Ministry of Justice is currently undergoing a review of posts which are currently graded at Band A to realign our grading structure with the majority of the wider Civil Service.

Posts advertised at Band A may be graded at either Grade 6 or Grade 7 once the review has taken place.