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8 x Great Crested Newt (GCN) Strategist

***Please note this job has now expired***
Contract typeFixed-term
Contract length2-years
OrganisationNatural England

Job details

Natural England is the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England, helping to protect England’s nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide.

Natural England is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

This is an exciting opportunity to work with the Change and Reform team, providing a cross organisational change leadership service to Natural England. The Change and Reform Team develops, prioritises and coordinates delivery of change to help support our shift to working through our Conservation Strategy so we can delivering bigger better outcomes for the environment and people. 

Job Description

Natural England is recruiting 8 GCN Strategists to enable the National roll out of district level licensing for great crested newts. The work, funded through Department for Communities and Local Government, represents a step change in the conservation of this important species. It will establish district level licensing across 150 districts by 2020. The new licensing system will almost entirely replace the current system of site by site mitigation licensing for GCN, and will enable investment of a further £18 million in the conservation of the species by the development industry over the next ten years. This will radically improve our knowledge of the status of the species and shift the focus of licensing to securing effective habitat provision on a grand scale. This new approach will also save development costs of £200 million over this period. It is a win:win which is seen by Government as an exemplar of regulatory reform and, by Natural England, as a significant step forward in delivery of our Conservation Strategy, C21. By bringing licensing into the scope of local authority administration and democracy it will enable nature conservation solutions to be developed with and owned by local communities. It is the most ambitious project we have ever launched for local authority partnership. The GCN strategists will work as a part of a team leading our engagement with local authorities, using detailed and up to date information regarding Great Crested Newt distribution to formulate district level licensing strategies. Some of the post holders will also lead on themed national priorities within the project. 

Key tasks/principal accountabilities: 

The GCN strategists will: 
  • Act as lead contacts for district and county authorities, working with them to deliver district licensing;
  • Undertake any local negotiation which proves necessary to secure access to local data to inform strategy formulation; 
  • Formulate district licensing strategies which includes: interpreting and quality assuring local evidence; impact assessment of the district development plan; mapping of risk zones; advice to the local authorities on avoidance and mitigation options; identifying areas of search for habitat compensation;
  • Present the strategies and underlying evidence to the local stakeholders and adjusting both to reflect feedback;
  • Support the local authority in consultation on the district strategies or leading consultations;
  • Assess habitat compensation options and feasibility;
  • Brief the project team on risks and opportunities;
  • Work with Natural England’s area teams to ensure clear agreement with them on respective delivery roles for each strategy and as a minimum to keep them fully informed so that they can take ownership of district licensing when it reaches business as usual;
  • Lead or contribute to other broader delivery work within the project, for example for evidence gathering, formulating our approach on key points of policy or practice, or internal and external communications. 

Potential for Secondment

Natural England would like to encourage individuals and organisations to consider the benefit of secondment into these roles. This is both an exciting career development opportunity and an opportunity to play a central role in a step change in improving how we do nature conservation in the UK. 


There is flexibility regarding the location of the post holders, though there will be a need to travel and so applicants would benefit from having a full current driving licence. Flexible working patterns will generally be accommodated. Candidates with disabilities will automatically be put forward to the interview stage provided that they satisfy the minimum criteria for the role. 


Current UK/EU driving licence


We'll assess you against these competencies during the selection process:

Technical/specialist knowledge/qualifications
  • Knowledge of GCN ecology and habitat
  • Ability to represent NE at high level, establish and maintain relationships with key partners;
  • Ability to apply a high level of judgement on: quality of evidence and the level of certainty which it provides; the level of impact of development plans and risk to GCN conservation status; the feasibility and effectiveness of habitat proposals; the relative value of varied conservation options; and stakeholder feedback and risk of challenge;
  • Effective problem solving and negotiation of solutions in challenging circumstances;
  • Effective communication with stakeholders;
  • Team working, seeking from, and offering support to, colleagues;
  • Adaptability to take on varied work, as and when need arises, for the purposes of fulfilling the overall project objectives;
  • Some experience of EPS licensing or the land use planning system would be an advantage;
Personal effectiveness
  • Use clear and appropriate language, communication styles and techniques that engage your audience (Practitioner);
  • Be decisive, combine your professional judgement with evidence to inform your decision-making (Expert);
Work delivery
  • Manage and deliver your workload to meet agreed targets and deadlines (Expert);
  • Interpret and apply relevant evidence to underpin your advice (Expert);
Resilient landscapes and seas
  • Assess environmental impacts and identify appropriate avoidance, mitigation and/or compensation methods (Expert);
  • Interpret relevant legislation, guidance and policy and apply to all areas of work (Practitioner);
  • Identify appropriate solutions for avoidance, mitigation, compensation of environmental impacts and meeting shared outcomes; and identify opportunities for enhancing the natural environment (Practitioner);
Putting people at the heart of the environment
  • Develop an understanding of the objectives and needs of our partners and customers (Practitioner);
  • Collaborate, negotiate and influence in a well-informed way to achieve pragmatic outcomes (Practitioner) 


Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.


Things you need to know

Successful candidates must pass basic security checks.
Selection process details
Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.
Nationality requirements
Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.
Working for the Civil Service
The Civil Service Code 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.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information:

Contact point for applicants
Nicola George email: Phone: 01206826419 The closing date for this vacancy is 2 February 2018 at 23:55pm 
Closing date2018-02-02
Interview date2018-02-19