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Senior Policy Adviser Multiple Roles

Category : Government
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Location : Belfast , London
Salary : £ 43,958 - £ 71,411
Type : Fixed Term , Loan
Closing Date : 2021-02-04
Date Posted : 2021-01-24
Reference : 40847  

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

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, 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:

We are currently seeking to recruit people who thrive on challenge and have a proven track record in building relationships quickly and effectively to drive a department or organisation’s agenda.

As a Band A Senior Policy Adviser you will be responsible for leading and driving a range of priority policy areas in our Legacy and Political Affairs Groups.


The Legacy Group has staff based in London and Belfast with a challenging remit of working on the Government’s response to the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, both at a strategic policy and individual case level. Addressing the legacy of the Past is widely seen as one of the most significant outstanding issues from the Northern Ireland political process and is a top priority for Ministers. Both individual cases and broader issues continue to have a very high profile in Northern Ireland, and across the UK and internationally. The team is responsible for dealing with legacy-related judicial reviews, civil claims, inquests and investigations; as well as the development and implementation of the Government’s wider legacy policy.

Political Affairs

The Political Affairs group is responsible for supporting political and community objectives in Northern Ireland. It does this through managing relationships with Northern Ireland’s political parties, the Executive, the Assembly and engagement with communities and civic, voluntary and academic stakeholders. The team supports the stability and peace brought about by the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and its successors, and supports the newly restored institutions to survive and thrive to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland. The team also oversees the delivery of the New Decade, New Approach agreement reached in January 2020. The jobholder(s) will be expected to develop a strong expertise on Northern Ireland politics and the events, people and decisions that shape it. They will also play a key role in 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.

The roles in both Legacy and Political Affairs Groups offer significant amounts of autonomy, and the post-holder(s) should be comfortable with driving forward work and maintaining effective, responsive relationships with a wide range of stakeholders.

Duties and Responsibilities:

If your application is successful, your role will require you to lead policy development and deliver outcomes in a politically sensitive and often fast-paced environment. It is likely this will require you to:

  • Identify and manage risks to political stability in Northern Ireland, including through the relationships you build with key stakeholders;
  • Develop expertise and knowledge quickly sometimes in quite technical and legal areas;
  • Provide clear, compelling and straightforward advice in writing and in person to ministers and senior officials;
  • Work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders across Whitehall, the Northern Ireland Civil Service and other external and political stakeholders in Northern Ireland, championing your policy area and Government priorities;
  • Link up relevant work across the department, ensuring a consistent and clear voice is presented across Whitehall and externally across a range of interconnected issues;
  • Support your own professional development, promoting a culture in which talent and developmental opportunities are recognised and encouraged; and
  • Provide line management responsibilities.

Essential Criteria:

A 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.

Willingness to undergo SC clearance, or existing clearance to that level. Some posts may require DV level clearance.

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;
  • Strong policy making skills, with excellent written and oral communication;
  • Experience of working closely with Ministers and senior officials; and
  • A proven ability to work at pace and under pressure and dealing with high levels of uncertainty.

Desirable Criteria:

It would be desirable, but not essential, for applicants to have an understanding of the political environment and historical context of Northern Ireland.


We will assess you against the following Success Profiles behaviours at Level 4 during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • 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 and experience based questions.

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

Security Clearance

Security clearance to SC or potentially DV level may be required for these posts.

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.

A Recruitment and Retention Allowance is available for Belfast-based staff up to a maximum of £6,000 for Band A, bringing the effective band minima up to £49,958 (from £43,958).

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

Neither Detached Duty terms nor relocation costs will apply to this post.

Further Information

Further information about these posts may be obtained from Ruth Sloan at ruth.sloan@nio.gov.uk or Paul Flynn at paul.flynn@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.

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 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. 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.

In the event that we identify more appointable candidates than we currently have posts available, we will hold applicant details on a reserve list for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made. This may include roles at a lower grade. Candidates placed on a reserve list will be informed of this. Those candidates who do not wish to remain on the reserve list should contact MoJ-recruitment-vetting-enquiries@gov.sscl.com to be removed from the reserve list.

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:


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