About the job
We are recruiting across two roles in the Department of Health’s Private Office and Parliamentary teams. Private Office and the Parliamentary have a fundamental impact on the Department’s ability to deliver Ministers’ priorities, and an efficient Private Office is critical to our ability to create a society where everyone can access quality health and social care.
We are looking for enthusiastic and ambitious individuals to join the team. These are excellent roles in a friendly and flexible private office, that will give you a unique insight into the political, public and parliamentary aspects of Ministerial work.
Office Managers (up to 2 vacancies)
Office Managers are essential part of the Minister’s team; managing written Parliamentary Questions and Ministerial correspondence, as well as supporting the Minister with the organisation of meetings and travel, and the Head of Office with office finances. Over time, there is potential for the role to also encompass some policy work.
Parliamentary Assistants (2 vacancies)
We are also recruiting for Assistant Parliamentary Officers; this is critical role supporting Ministers in their accountability to the House and ensuring timely responses to Parliamentary Questions through developing and maintaining effective relationships within the Department and Arm’s Length Bodies.
There will also be the opportunity to work on corporate projects across Private Office and the wider Department.
Working in a Private Office and Parliamentary is challenging and rewarding. Successful candidates will need to be flexible and able to use their initiative to deliver results, sometimes at a fast pace and under pressure. At times, you may be required to work long hours – however flexible working can, and has been, supported in the past. In addition, the collegiate and friendly nature of the team ensures that hard work is recognised and that support is always available.
Both roles require good organisational skills and the ability to manage your time, as well as important resources. Working in Private Office and Parliamentary will give you opportunities to expand your knowledge of how the Department of Health works and how Government interacts with Parliament. You will interact with a variety of important customers on a daily basis, ranging from the Minister to Correspondence Officers. Maintaining and developing these relationships is an important part of success in this role. As a small, but interchangeable team, good interpersonal skills and the ability to work successfully with others are both very important.
Key accountabilities for Office Managers
• Manage the process to ensure timely Ministerial response to written Parliamentary Questions (PQs) and correspondence, ensuring these responses are of a high quality.
o Tracking progress with PQs and correspondence against relevant deadlines;
o Engaging with policy teams and special advisers to arrange relevant changes;
o Taking account of and communicating Ministerial preferences;
o Working with Ministers to sign off and processing final responses.
• Coordinating the office’s approach to “Private Office Case” correspondence, taking ownership of process and working with private secretaries to ensure these are turned around within appropriate timescales.
• Issuing cross-Government “Write Round” letters, tracking responses from other departments and devolved administrations, and working with the Cabinet Office to ensure that relevant clearances are received.
• Managing the Minister’s mailbox, working with the correspondence team and private secretaries to ensure that timely and appropriate replies are produced.
• Supporting the office head with the office’s budget and attending cross-private office meetings to report on progress.
Key accountabilities for Assistant Parliamentary Officer (Parliamentary Relations Unit)
• Delivering the allocations process of written Parliamentary Questions (PQs) and quality checking written answers. Supporting the Lords PQ process.
• Working with Ministerial Private Offices to ensure the timely answering of questions.
• Using the Parliamentary Q&A system to ensure that written PQs are returned to MPs and Peers to a high standard and within Parliamentary deadlines.
• Supporting the end-to-end process for Commons Oral Questions, supporting Ministers in their accountability in the House.
• Maintaining relationships with stakeholders in the Department and ALBs, and Parliament.
• Use knowledge of our PQ database (SCRIBE) to provide assistance to all users and to troubleshoot when required.
• Supporting the wider Parliamentary Relations Unit to deliver all aspects of Parliamentary business, meeting Ministerial priorities and ensuring accountability.
• The vacancy holder would be expected to remain in this role for a minimum of 12 months
We’ll assess you against these competencies during the selection process:
- Managing a quality service
- Leading and communicating
- Collaborating and partnering
- Delivering at pace
- Seeing the big picture
Things you need to know
If you’re applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.
Selection process details
Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.
Working for the Civil Service
Apply and further information
Contact point for applicants
Sift/interview dates and location
If successful and transferring from another Government Department a Disclosure and Barring Security Check may be carried out.
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:
• approach the point of contact in the job advert 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.
Some of The Department of Health’s terms and conditions of employment changed on 1st October 2013. These are often referred to as “modernized” terms and conditions. These changes will affect current Civil Servants transferring to the Department of Health from another government department and those new to the civil service. In brief these changes are:
• Civil servants from another government department who are in receipt of ‘modernised’ terms and conditions prior to the transfer will retain those terms and conditions on appointment. The rationale behind this is that changes to terms and conditions shouldn’t be underdone by a move to another department.
• Civil servants who have been in service prior to the modernisation of terms and conditions will inherit the terms and conditions changes applicable to existing staff (including OGD’s) in the Department. See the attached word document.
• New starters (external to the civil service) to the Department from 1 October 2013 will receive the full modernised terms and conditions. See the attached word document.
The document attached to this advertisement provides more information on the changes we made, this clearly outlines the entitlements for both new starters (external to the civil service) and existing staff (including transfers from other government departments). Please note this is not a full list of the Department of Health’s terms and conditions. If you need to discuss how these changes might affect you, please contact the vacancy holder.
Please note that eligible established civil servants will not retain any allowances paid in the former government department, unless there are special circumstances. We urge new entrants to establish their terms and conditions before accepting a formal offer of transfer/employment.
Applicants who are successful at interview, will as part of pre-employment screening be subject to a check of their personal details against the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about previous civil service employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. The check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave, but would have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s whose details are included on the IFD will be refused employment unless they can show exceptional circumstance.