Open position: Programme Manager, Coastal and Ocean Resilience – Deadline 14 May 2023

Job summary

What will I be doing?

We are looking for a Senior Research and Evaluation Officer (SEO) to join the Science, Evidence and Advice Team within Defra’s Marine and Fisheries Directorate. This is a multidisciplinary science and analytical team of around 20 scientists and social scientists, respectively informing and supporting the development and evaluation of Defra’s domestic and international marine and fisheries policy.

The vision of the Marine and Fisheries Directorate is to ensure our seas are cleaner, healthier, safer, more productive and biologically diverse. This means protecting and improving the marine environment, both in the UK and internationally, and managing our diverse range of fisheries sustainably. Our Marine and Fisheries evidence needs cover the same range of issues in the seas as those on land – from planning and construction, to biodiversity and climate change, food security and industry, to valuing natural capital. Our policy ambitions are high, requiring a significant evidence base to support policy development and evaluation – articulated in the Environmental Improvement Plan, the UK Marine Strategy, and the Joint Fisheries Statement.

The team have an ambitious programme of social science work to support the high profile and extensive policy development required for marine and fisheries management. We deliver this by providing policy advice and analysis, commissioning targeted research projects (including evaluations) and drawing on the skills and evidence developed across the Defra Group. The team also fosters partnerships with academia and research institutes. Our vision is to support policy with robust and timely analytical advice, working together and flexibly as a team to provide a holistic interdisciplinary package of evidence, drawing on resources from across the Defra System and engaging and leveraging the wider UK research community.

As a Senior Research and Evaluation Officer you will manage a portfolio of research. Priorities include evaluation of strategic marine programmes, for example, the Natural Capital Ecosystem Assessment programme and the UK Marine Strategy’s Programme of Measures to achieve or maintain Good Environmental Status in our seas. In fisheries management, critical areas include participatory approaches to fisheries science, and the evaluation of Fisheries Management Plans. Across both marine and fisheries policy you may also support with advice and evidence on, marine plastics and pollution, public perceptions of marine environments, evidence on marine culture and heritage and issues affecting coastal communities.

Job description

Some of the activity that this role will be delivering includes:

  • Developing and delivering a portfolio of research to build a robust social science evidence base that complements and enhances the directorate’s multi-disciplinary marine and fisheries research programmes.
  • Planning and managing monitoring and evaluation activity to improve understanding of “what works” across the directorate’s delivery of programmes and policies.
  • Design, commission and project manage external research projects as well as undertaken in-house research, ensuring projects are delivered to quality, value for money and time and are embedded within policy-making.
  • Maintaining and building engagement with external social scientists, including Defra’s Social Science Expert group, ALBs and Devolved Administrations, Marine Science Co-ordination Committee and the Marine Social Science Network.
  • Possible line management of HEO Research and Evaluation Officers, interns and GSR Placement students
  • Supporting the Heads of the Marine Social Science, Fisheries Social Science and Evaluation in regularly reviewing and developing our social science offer to the Directorate, including identifying new opportunities to upskill and maximise impact.

This list isn’t exhaustive but provides an overview of the activities the role will carry out.

Person specification

Essential Criteria

  • You will have knowledge and / or experience in environmental social or behavioural science methods.
  • You will have knowledge and / or experience in applying social and behavioural research in policy development or evaluation.
  • You will be self-motivated to use your own initiative to develop the marine and fisheries social science and evaluation portfolio, providing a strategic and impactful programme of research.
  • You’ll be an effective team player and will enjoy working with people to achieve shared goals. This includes proactively creating and maintaining positive, professional and trusting working relationships with people in the team, department and outside organisations.
  • You take a positive approach to tackling problems and find ways to identify suitable solutions whilst thinking ahead to anticipate, identify and address any risks or problems before they occur.
  • You will be well prepared, have good organisational skills, and good written and verbal communication skills.


The role is open to existing members of the Government Social Research (GSR) profession and non-members. If you are not already a member then you will need to meet the GSR eligibility criteria:

Qualification route:

A degree (minimum 2:1) in a relevant social science with a substantial social research component, such as demography, economics, human geography, linguistics, psychology, social anthropology, sociology and statistics;
OR a degree (minimum 2:2) with a relevant postgraduate qualification in social research.


Professional Experience route:

An undergraduate degree in any subject (at a minimum of 2:1, or 2:2 with a postgraduate degree) or degree equivalent (e.g. an advanced Certificate or Diploma from MRS), PLUS have at least 4 years’ social research practice experience.

Full eligibility guidance can be found here:


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

  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Communicating and Influencing

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

  • Making Effective Decisions

Technical skills

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

  • Government Social Research Technical Framework: Technical Skills
  • Government Social Research Technical Framework: Using and Promoting Social Research

A career in the Civil Service is like no other. If you’re looking to join a world class team and develop your career with us, then the Civil Service is the place for you! You might be wondering, “what’s in it for me”? Take a look below at some of the benefits available to you as a civil servant in Defra.

Marine and Fisheries Directorate Benefits

Learning and Development

Everyone in Defra is supported to develop their skills and capabilities. When you join the Marine and Fisheries Directorate, you will be welcomed into your new team through an induction programme that will provide you with helpful information on the civil service, Defra, our work and our policies.

Department Benefits


We’re a firm believer in agile and flexible working. When you join Defra, we’ll kit you out with a new Windows 10 Laptop, to make sure that you perform your best wherever you are.


25 days’ paid leave per annum rising to 30 days after five years’ service, in addition to eight public holidays and one privilege day. We also offer
– competitive maternity, paternity, parental and adoption leave;
– study leave for the pursuit of academic studies;
– 3 days paid leave for volunteering per annum;
– 15 days paid leave per year for reservist training; and,
– generous paid sick leave.

Cycle to Work Scheme

Defra loans you a bike for your commute as a tax-free benefit. At the end of the loan period, you have the option to buy the bike, saving 30% of the original cost.

Season Ticket and Bicycle Loan

We offer interest-free season ticket loans, to all Defra employees with more than three months’ service, for purchasing train and bus season tickets, as well as station car parking. For those unable to take advantage of tax-free benefits, we also offer an interest-free bicycle loan to enable the purchase of a bicycle for commuting.

Gym, Social and Sports Activities

Our offices have a range of different onsite facilities, including gym, fitness facilities, games room, showers and cycle storage. There are also a variety of networks and social groups to join. Ask your line manager for more information.

Restaurant and Café Facilities

A range of our offices offer onsite restaurant and café facilities.

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.

Civil Service Benefits


Your pension is a valuable part of your total reward package, and you will be given the chance to join one of three different pension plans. You can find more information on the Civil Service Pension on the MyCSP Website at

Civil Service Sports Council

The Civil Service Sports Council (CSSC) organises a wide choice of activities throughout the UK, from art, gliding, abseiling and orienteering to cabaret weekends and quiz and curry nights. Your CSSC membership will provide you with FREE access to hundreds of national and local sites, in addition to savings at many high street stores, cinemas, restaurants and historic houses.

Selection process details

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


To apply for this role, please complete the online application form, which will require you to provide:

  • An up-to-date copy of your CV which details your relevant experience and achievements
  • A personal statement explaining how you meet the requirements of the role (no more than 750 words)
  • An example of the behaviour ‘Making Effective Decisions’ (no more than 250 words)
  • Evidence to support GSR technical competencies
    • Technical Skills (no more than 250 words)
    • Using and Promoting Social Research (no more than 250 words)

Guidance on GSR technical competencies and the Government Social Research Competency Framework can be found here.

Guidance on Civil Service behaviours and the Success Profile Framework can be found here.


Applications will be sifted on CV and personal statement evidence supporting the behaviour ‘Making Effective Decisions’ and GSR technical competencies

Knowledge test

For candidates who are not an existing member of the GSR profession, if your application is successful you will be asked to sit a knowledge test prior to being offered an interview.

If you have passed a knowledge test in the last 12 months, you will not be required to take another test.


If you are invited for an interview, this will take place via MS Teams. We will assess your suitability against the role requirements outlined above. You will also be assessed against the following three Success Profile behaviours:

  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Delivering at Pace

And also, the GSR professional competencies:

  • Technical Skills
  • Using & Promoting Social Research

You will also be asked to deliver a presentation; further details will be provided nearer the time.

Expected Timeline subject to change

Sift dates: w/c 15th May 2023

Interview dates: w/c 5th June 2023

Interview Location: MS Teams.

Candidates are asked to note the above timetable, exercising flexibility through the recruitment and selection process.


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 – Nobel House and 2 Marsham Stree

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

If you are successful in your application and your base working location is London, please be aware that Defra’s Nobel House Office at 17 Smith Square, London will be closing in December 2023.

This means that Defra new joiners will be located alongside existing colleagues in offices a short distance away from Nobel House in our other office at 2 Marsham St, London.

To work from 2 Marsham Street, you will require the higher level of CTC clearance. Therefore, confirmation of appointment to the advertised post will be dependent upon successful CTC clearance being confirmed as part of pre-employment checks.

Reserve List

A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made.

Merit Lists

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.


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.

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.

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.

Criminal Record Check

If successful and transferring from another Government Department, a criminal record check maybe 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 circumstance 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.

All of these posts require the successful candidate to hold basic security clearance. Candidates posted to 2 Marsham Street, 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.

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.

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 Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals

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.

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 :Edd Hind-Ozan
  • 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

Further information about this opportunity can be found here.

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