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Policy Advisor, Security Protection Group

Category : Government
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Location : Belfast , London
Salary : £ - £ 31,265
Type : Permanent
Closing Date : 2022-09-13
Date Posted : 2022-09-04
Reference : 63952  

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.


London (1 Horse Guards Road) or Belfast (Erskine House, Chichester Street) Occasional Travel to other office locations will be required.


Existing Civil Servants and External Applicants

Salary scale: Inner London £35,405 - £39,000 and National £31,265 - £34,446) 
New entrants to the Civil Service are expected to join on the minimum of the pay band advertised.

Inclusion and diversity 

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. 

What we do 


The Northern Ireland Office represents Northern Ireland interests at a UK Government level and UK Government interests in Northern Ireland. 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 on the border with Ireland,following the exit from 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. 


Keeping people safe is one of the UKG's strategic aims and the Security & Protection  Group (SPG) in the NIO delivers this through core teams working on: Policy, Strategy, Operational Delivery, Casework and Protection. 

We pride ourselves on delivering high-quality work on issues that matter, at pace and often in challenging circumstances. All SPG colleagues have an anchor within one of the core teams, allowing them to build specialist knowledge, expertise and relationships. Everyone, regardless of grade or experience, also has the opportunity to get involved in project-based work across the group and the wider department beyond their core teams. This approach ensures we add more value, are agile enough to deliver on key departmental priorities and give everyone in SPG a wide range of developmental opportunities. We are committed to using every opportunity to continuously improve ourselves and our business outcomes. You can expect diverse, interesting and rewarding work that goes to the heart of public service and you can expect to do this in a safe space where individuals and teams are supported to deliver and encouraged to innovate, stretch, challenge and learn. 

We are currently looking to recruit a Policy Advisor within the Security and Protection Group. 

In this role you will work on one of the UK Government’s highest priorities - national  security - and gain a broad range of policy, strategy, project management, operational delivery and briefing skills within a supportive and focused team.  

You will work closely with other group members in London and Belfast to ensure that  Ministers are fully briefed on national security and resilience matters, and owing to the Department’s  relatively small size this will mean more exposure to Ministers than might otherwise be the case in a larger Department. 

You will work closely with partners in Number 10, the Cabinet Office, Home Office and other government departments, a range of security and law enforcement partners, and colleagues in the NI devolved government.  

As a policy adviser you will help to develop strategic policy direction and use your policy and project management skills on a range of high-profile, complex and challenging national security issues. You will be ready to take on challenges with enthusiasm and commitment and move flexibly between policy and operational roles.  

You will be responsible for working on long term policy priorities and may also work on a short to medium term basis on key policy and national security related casework or operational priorities across the Security and Protection Group where there is a priority business need for additional or new skills. 

Building and maintaining a strong and extensive network of business critical relationships with policy and operational partners in Northern Ireland and in Whitehall  will be key. Good communication and relationship management skills will be essential. 

You will be articulate, discreet and thoughtful in your approach, quick to pick up new  subjects and proactive in all your dealings. You will have a strong political antenna and  inspire confidence when briefing verbally and in writing. You will be accustomed to building productive relationships in difficult contexts and being agile and able to anticipate and respond quickly to new challenges and unexpected developments. You will be focused on delivering clear outcomes. You will want to work in a group with a strong focus on learning and development. You should be willing to undergo Developed Vetting Security Clearance for the Policy Advisor role. 


Specific responsibilities may include:

  • National security related policing, counter-terrorism, resilience and prisons policy
  • Investigatory powers policy and legislation
  • Working with partners and the devolved government to deliver better criminal justice outcomes
  • Representing the Department at Whitehall and Northern Ireland based security meetings¬†
  • Engagement with the Devolved Administration on matters that impact national security and resilience
  • Providing support and briefing to senior officials and Ministers on their statutory duties
  • Building strong relationships with partners in Northern Ireland and in Whitehall to safeguard and enhance delivery of strategic objectives
  • Budget management
  • Line management of staff at Bands D/E
  • Participation in an on-call rota for out of hours cover arrangements (for which an allowance will be paid)¬†


  • Experience working on policy within Whitehall or Northern Ireland
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to self-organise, prioritise and pay close attention to detail
  • The ability to develop and maintain effective responsive relationships with colleagues and stakeholders, and to use your interpersonal skills to achieve results
  • Existing DV clearance or the willingness to acquire it.¬†


  • Experience of briefing senior leaders both orally and in writing.
  • A good understanding of the political and security environment in Northern Ireland
  • Experience working on complex policy development.¬†


Due to our size, we are able to offer staff the opportunity to work on a far wider portfolio of responsibilities than might be the case in a larger department.  This creates a dynamic, interesting and challenging work environment.

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

Additional information received after the closing date will not be considered. 


The selection and interview process will consist of two stages: 



We will assess you against the following Success Profiles behaviours at Level 3 during the selection process.

  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Working Together
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Seeing the Big Picture¬†

Please note that in the event of a large number of applications being received we may run the initial sift on your suitability statement, followed by the lead behaviour of ‚ÄėMaking Effective Decisions‚Äô only.¬†

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


You will be assessed on your experience and the 4 behaviours mentioned above. 

More information on Success Profiles can be found here.


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


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.


Further information about the post may be obtained from Sharon Ewart at sharon.ewart@nio.gov.uk


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.

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

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 shortlisted for interview.

Home Civil Service 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.


Further information about us 

We are a small and friendly department of approximately 185 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. 

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