Defra seeks project managers for new Northern Ireland Directorate

Hiring drive offers up to £71k for staff to work on implementation of the post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol
PA

By Jim Dunton

16 Aug 2021

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is recruiting for project managers to join its newly-created Northern Ireland Directorate, which is leading on the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol.

It is looking to hire four Grade 6-level managers for the directorate, which was launched in January to consolidate Defra’s policy, strategy and delivery requirements into a single team responsible for the post-Brexit agreement designed to prevent border checks between the UK and the European Union.

Last month Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis told MPs that Brussels would need to agree to “significant change” in the protocol to offset some of the negative impacts it has already had in Northern Ireland. The two sides are under pressure to find solutions for the protocol before a huge wave of new paperwork hits British businesses sending goods to buyers in Northern Ireland in October.

Defra’s Northern Ireland Directorate provides a single point of contact for all Defra’s Northern Ireland protocol-related issues for business, the Northern Ireland Executive and its Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, as well as other government departments. It is led by Defra’s director for Northern Ireland, Emma Bourne.

Defra said each of the new Northern Ireland Directorate project-management roles would be at Grade 6 level, but none of them would be entirely the same.

Its advertisement said candidates would need to be “an experienced and skilled programme or project manager, capable of driving excellence in PPM delivery and use, but also able to be pragmatic in deploying your field in novel and atypical settings”.

Defra said activities successful applicants would be responsible for included robust project planning and effective risk and issue identification, feeding into the work of key partners such as the Cabinet Office’s Borders & Protocol Delivery Group; and driving forward programme reporting.

The roles will be split across the Northern Ireland Directorate’s programme-management team, its delivery team and the implementation-management team. The deadline for applications is 23:55 on 22 August.

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