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Policy

Senior Policy Official , Constitution & Devolution Team – 48652
£36,049 - £4,109,541,747
Multiple Locations

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We encourage applications from people from all backgrounds and aim to have a workforce that represents the wider society that we serve. We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice. We champion diversity, inclusion and wellbeing and aim to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and a sense of belonging. To find out more about how we do this visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice/about/equality-and-diversity.

Who we are

The Northern Ireland Office is one of 3 Territorial Offices of the UK Government which represents Northern Ireland interests at a UK Government level and UK Government interests in Northern Ireland. We are passionate about Northern Ireland; we are flexible, empowering and inclusive.

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.

The Northern Ireland Office 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.

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. We support flexible working and have a modern, flexible IT system which helps enable this.

What we do

The Northern Ireland Office supports the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (SOSNI)  in delivering the Government’s strategic priorities for Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State’s vision is to make Northern Ireland a better place to live, work and invest.

The Department’s Outcome Delivery Plan sets out in detail how we will deliver our priority outcomes, how we will measure our success, and how we will ensure we continuously improve in order to:

  1. Support the levelling up of Northern Ireland’s economy with the rest of the UK
  2. Support greater inclusion, tolerance, and openness in Northern Ireland
  3. Contribute to a safer Northern Ireland, where terrorist and paramilitary groups are less able to cause harm to communities
  4. Ensure that governance in Northern Ireland is responsive, transparent and able to deliver effective public service

Through the provision of place-specific advice and promoting economic development by working with UKG departments, devolved institutions and partnering stakeholders, as well as leading on Northern Ireland specific communications, the department is also supporting the delivery of the following Priority Outcomes led by other UK Government departments.

About the Role:

The Constitution & Devolution Team sits within the Constitution & Rights Policy Group contributes to the departmental objectives of:

Society – Supporting  greater inclusion, tolerance, and openness in Northern Ireland

Governance – Ensuring that governance in Northern Ireland is responsive, transparent, and able to deliver effective public services

The Constitution & Devolution Team has responsibility for Union Policy which includes leading on the Places for Growth Programme to deliver SOSNI’s ambitious plans for a UKG Belfast Hub as well as driving forward other Union priorities by coordinating  NIO Ministers attendance at the PM led Union Strategy Committee and Union Policy Implementation Committee; ensuring SOSNI’s ambitious programme for NI is reflected in the Committee’s work programme so that evidence-based decisions can be taken as part of the levelling up agenda across the nations. 

The team is also the lead for legislation and Parliamentary scrutiny as well as having responsibility for managing the UK-wide approach to the Covid response and other Intergovernmental matters – This involves ensuring the maintenance of the devolution framework; coordinating with the other Territorial Offices to ensure the fundamental principles of the Belfast Agreement as set in legislation remain unchanged.

We are looking to recruit a highly motivated individual that can provide a consistently high level of service to internal and external stakeholders, while simultaneously managing a range of wider issues in support of the delivery of Ministerial objectives. 

Duties and Responsibilities:

The successful candidate will report to the Head of Constitution & Devolution and work alongside a fellow Band B. This role is best suited to someone who is self-motivated, adaptable and thrives in a changing environment, as key responsibilities may shift over time according to departmental priorities.

The main responsibilities will include but are not limited to:

4 Nations/East West Coordination

  • Promoting Positive Intergovernmental relations by leading and coordinating on UKG input and attendance at key Good Friday Agreement Institutions such as the British Irish Association, British Irish Council, North South Ministerial Council and British irish Intergovernmental Conference –  This includes working closely with Irish Govt, FCDO, Cabinet Office and wider political stakeholders to ensure agendas are set in a matter that can drive forward key policy areas in a  coordinated and collaborative manner.
  • Covid response- Managing the relationship and ensuring proactive coordination and collaboration between the UKG and NI Executive (NIE) as we continue to tackle the Covid pandemic and move to the recovery phase and supporting NIE to have a resilient and robust healthcare system that can cope with Covid 19 and other challenges.

Union Policy Coordination

  • Coordinating and leading on Union Policy activity within the NIO. This includes coordinating wider NIO union activity and leading on briefing for SOSNI attendance at the Union Policy Implementation Committee
  • Leading on the delivery of the Places for Growth Programme in NI – A UKG Manifesto commitment to increase UKG visibility across the UK by relocating/creating new roles outside of London and within the various regions of the UK.

Constitutional Matters

  • UKG & NI Assembly Legislation- Working closely with UKG Bill teams and the Constitution Group to ensure there is thorough engagement with NICS for any UKG legislation that intersects with devolved competence or executive functions, with the aim of ensuring and all avenues are exhausted to ensure legislative consent in line with the Sewel convention.

Select Committee Liaison

  • Coordinating preparing briefing for NIO Ministers for attendance at Parliamentary scrutiny evidence sessions and inquiries led by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.

Essential Criteria

The post holder will need to demonstrate the following in the application and at interview:

  • Excellent written and oral communications skills;
  • Experience of briefing senior colleagues/officials;
  • Experience working with others and maintaining collaborative relationships with colleagues and external stakeholders.

Desirable Criteria

  • An understanding of the political situation in NI including the devolved settlement.

Selection Process

Behaviours: We will assess you against the following Civil Service Success Profile Behaviours at Level 3 during the selection process:

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

More information on behaviours and success profiles can be foundhere.

Application

The application requires 2 parts:

  • Please submit a statement of suitability of no more than 500 words demonstrating how you meet the essential and desirable criteria.
  • Please submit separate evidence statements of no more than 250 words per behaviour on the following Civil Service behaviours (which will be assessed at Level 3 of the Success Profiles):
  • Seeing the Bigger Picture.
  • Making Effective Decisions.
  • Communicating and Influencing.
  • Working Together.

Please note if we receive a high volume of applications we may sift applications based on the suitability statement on essential and desirable criteria and on the 2 leading behaviours of “Working Together” and Communicating and Influencing”.

Interview

The interview will be of a blended nature consisting of behaviours and experience based questions.

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 nor relocation costs will apply to this post.

A Recruitment Retention Allowance for Belfast based staff may be available.  This is currently under review following the recent MOJ pay award.

This allowance is non-pensionable and subject to annual review in line with MoJ pay awards.

Further Information

Further information about the post may be obtained from constitution-mailbox@nio.gov.uk

Applications

You can apply for this post through the Civil Service website at: civilservice.gov.uk.  Once logged onto the site go 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 opportunities, 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 200 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. Depending on the role, these may 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.

Disability 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 (department/business area) 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 were accredited as a Disability Confident Leader in autumn 2017.

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.

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

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 moves to or from another employer or moves across the Civil Service this can have implications on your eligibility to carry on claiming childcare vouchers. You may however be eligible for alternative government childcare support schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. More information can be found on GOV.UK or Childcare Choices. You can determine your eligibility at https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.
  • Paid paternity, adoption and maternity leave.
  • Free annual sight tests for employees who use computer screens.

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 equal opportunities. As a Disability Confident employer, MoJ are committed to providing everyone with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, talent and abilities, by making adjustments throughout all elements of the recruitment process and in the workplace. MoJ are able to offer an interview to disabled candidates who meet the minimum selection criteria, except in a limited number of campaigns.

You will be able to request reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process within the application form. If you need additional help completing the application form, please contact the SSCL Recruitment Enquiries Team.

We encourage applications from people from all backgrounds and aim to have a workforce that represents the wider society that we serve. We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice. We champion diversity, inclusion and wellbeing and aim to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and a sense of belonging. To find out more about how we do this visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice/about/equality-and-diversity.

Working Arrangements & Further Information

For nationally advertised campaigns, candidates will be appointed to their nearest Justice Collaboration Centre or Justice Satellite Office. This will be discussed and agreed with the successful candidate(s) on the completion of pre-employment checks.

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.

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.

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.