Senior Policy Advisor – Department for International Development – Darlington

Department for International Development

Job summary

This recruitment is continuing as usual, but candidates should be aware that following a Government announcement on the changes to some civil service departments, roles will be located in the new Department for Business and Trade.

The Department for Business and Trade negotiates trade agreements for the UK and promotes UK Trade and Investment around the world. Working within the Regulatory Environment Team (part of the Trade Negotiations Group), you would play a pivotal role in developing policy positions that break down regulatory barriers to trade and help businesses, in particular SMEs, to succeed in overseas markets.

We are seeking an enthusiastic and diligent person who is looking to develop a career in trade policy and international negotiations. This is a fast paced and exciting area of policy. You will need to be proactive, dynamic, able to balance competing priorities and problem-solve. While you do not need specific knowledge of trade policy, you will need to become an expert quickly. You will also need to be able to express highly technical and sophisticated arguments in a manner that is easy for non-experts to understand. You will need to confidently collaborate with Government departments and businesses to identify UK interests, leverage support for policy positions, and help formulate UK strategy for negotiations. 

We have an ambitious programme of trade negotiations, sometimes simultaneously, though this may change due to business needs. There may be a requirement to travel internationally, sometimes for multiple weeks at a time.

Our team is vibrant, hardworking and collaborative. We pay special attention to providing training and support needed to allow individuals to achieve and excel. We recognise the importance of professional and personal growth and will encourage you to develop your skills and trade knowledge.

Job description

  • Develop and implement trade policy that is consistent with the UK’s domestic and international priorities.
  • Work closely with colleagues across Government to develop joined-up trade policy and ensure analysis of information from a wide variety of sources.
  • Commission legal and other analytical advice to inform our negotiation positions.
  • Develop a deep understanding of negotiation issues, contribute to development of strategies and participate in trade negotiations as support to the chapter lead.
  • Listen to the needs of businesses and consumers in a rapidly changing environment and address these through our negotiation and implementation work.
  • Write briefings and other materials related to policy areas for Ministers and senior officials.
  • Ensure that processes are in place to implement commitments.
  • Hybrid working

    The role will be based in either Darlington or London. You will be asked to express a location preference during the application process. 

    Please be aware that this role can only be worked from within the UK and not overseas.

    Informal hybrid working arrangements will be available as agreed with the vacancy manager and in line with the requirements of the role. 

    Most DIT employees will be working a hybrid pattern, spending 2-3 days a week (pro rata) in an office, on average. If your office location is London, you will be eligible to receive London weighting.

    Appointments will be made to candidates in merit order based on location preferences. 

    Support in applying for our vacancies is available by joining a virtual . These sessions include helpful tips and advice on the recruitment process, from application to interview.

    Person specification

    Essential Criteria

  • Excellent communication skills, with the ability to persuade and influence others.
  • Experience of analysing information from a range of sources and making recommendations.
  • Experience of working collaboratively, including with a range of stakeholders.
  • Ability to balance multiple priorities.
  • Desirable Criteria

  • Knowledge or experience of trade policy, Good Regulatory Practice or SME policy.
  • Personal Attributes & Skills

    The ideal candidate will have the analytical skills to examine the detail of trade agreements and barriers experienced by UK businesses. You will need to be happy with learning and operating autonomously with limited supervision. You will need to have the problem-solving and organisational skills to lead policy development in a complex area.

    You will need strong interpersonal and communication skills to support work with domestic and foreign colleagues, and external stakeholders. You will also need to be able to persuade and influence others to create collaborative solutions, sometimes in the face of sustained opposition.

    In pursuing your objectives, you will be enthusiastic about developing yourself and others around you. You will prioritise effectively to meet competing needs and support colleagues at critical times. You will be flexible and ready to be redeployed in other roles, taking on new challenges as the team’s goals evolve.


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

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

  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A with an average employer contribution of 27%
  • Things you need to know

    Selection process details

    This vacancy is using , and will assess your Behaviours and Experience.

    Interviews for this vacancy will be conducted virtually. We will, however, consider in-person interviews by exception.

    Please ensure that you check your emails regularly as all updates from us will be sent to you this way.

    Sift will take place week commencing 27.03.23

    Interviews will take place week commencing 10.04.23.

    As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV and a personal statement. 

    Please align your CV with previous skills and experience. Maximum of 2 A4 pages.

    In your personal statement, please explain your motivation for applying for this role and the extent to which you satisfy the essential and desirable requirements of the role. Maximum word count of 500. 

    Should a large number of applications be received, an initial sift may be conducted using the CV only. Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift, or progressed straight to assessment/interview.

    Visa : For this role, the Department will not consider sponsoring a visa or issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship. Please note we are unable to offer advice on any Visa and Immigration cases.

    If successful and transferring from another Government Department a criminal record check may be carried out. 

    In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check toDisclosure and Barring Serviceon your behalf.

    However, we recognise in exceptional circumstances 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.

    New entrants are expected to join on the minimum of the pay band.

    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.

    Please note – the successful candidate will be expected to remain in post for a minimum of 18 months before being released for another role.

    The Department for International Trade embraces and values diversity in all forms. We welcome and pride ourselves on the positive impact diversity has on the work we do, and we promote equality of opportunity throughout the organisation.

    Please note – harmonised terms and conditions are attached. Please take time to read the document to determine how these may affect you.

    Further Information

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

    Any move to the Department for International Trade from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at

    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 [email protected] 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 an 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.

    Vetting Requirements


    All security clearances require you to provide evidence of your UK footprint where you have been physically present in the UK. The requirement for SC clearance is to have been present in the UK for 3 of the last 5 years. Failure to meet the residency requirements will result in your security clearance application being rejected. 

    If you require SC clearance you will need to provide evidence of the below requirements.

    Checks will be made against: 

  • Departmental or company records (personnel files, staff reports, sick leave reports and security records)
  • UK criminal records covering both spent and unspent criminal records
  • Your credit and financial history with a credit reference agency
  • Security Services records
  • Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


    Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is .

    .People working with government assets must complete 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
  • 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
  • Working for the Civil Service

    The 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 .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.

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