Assistant Economist

Food Standards Agency

Closing date: 18 Aug 2017

Reference number



£30,050 - £35,000 (plus allowance of £3,000 per year)


Higher Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area

Other - Science, Evidence & Research Division

Type of role


Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Homeworking, Job share


37 Hrs per week

Number of posts




About the job

Job description


The Analytics Unit provides central analytical support to the Agency. It includes economists, statisticians, operational researchers and social science research. The Unit sits within the Science & Evidence Research Division (SERD) and is led by a G6 Head of Analytics and Chief Economist.

The economics team is comprised of one sandwich placement student (AO) and two Assistant Economist (AE) posts at HEO level (fast stream) supporting one G7 Economic Adviser. All economists, including Assistants, are recruited through and are members of the Government Economic Service (GES).

Our economists work on a wide range of topics, providing an economic input to policy development, cost benefit analysis of regulatory proposals, advice on the economics of the food chain and research. Recent topics have included modelling the cost foodborne illness; analysing impacts of reforms to the current system of charging for meat hygiene inspections; EU Exit impact briefs and reviewing the Agency’s regulatory regime.

Working at the Food Standards Agency (FSA)

The FSA is a non-ministerial department who reports to Parliament through health ministers. It has offices across the England, Wales & Northern Ireland and currently has responsibility for food safety across all countries with additional responsibility for dietary health in Northern Ireland. We also maintain a close working relationship with Food Standards Scotland.

The post would be based at our Head Quarters in London at Aviation House (near Holborn tube station) with plans to relocate to a new London location in Westminster by February 2018.

The Agency offers its staff an opportunity to choose a way of working (location and flexi-hours) that will help them excel while ensuring better work life balance.

The size of the Agency means that there are excellent opportunities for early responsibility and the team’s work is extremely diverse, covering a large range of policies. The Agency is committed to training and economists are provided with extensive development opportunities including sponsorship to pursue post graduate studies.

The Post

The post will involve supporting the Agency’s EU Exit programme of work; providing impact analysis, appraisal of policy options, and cost benefit analysis. The post holder will work closely with other analytical colleagues within the social science, statistics and operational research teams. The post will also require working with policy colleagues from across the organisation to help identify relevant issues requiring economic input.

The post holder will also have access to academic expertise through the Social Science Research Committee and the FSA’s Register of Specialists, a comprehensive register of experts in their field with an interest in the work of the Agency.

Working as an Assistant Economist at the FSA is challenging but exciting. Flexibility and the ability to think through problems from first principles are essential. The role also offers the opportunity to build data science and behavioural insight capabilities.

The main responsibilities are to:
• Promote and manage the cost-effective use of economic appraisal;
• Provide general economic advice on economic appraisal and evaluation, working closely with policy an project teams (covering strategic projects,
• Impact Assessments (IAs), evaluation and other areas requiring economic advice);
• Provide timely advice on economic inputs to IAs, promote a better understanding of the IA process within the FSA;
• Develop effective working relationships with a variety of stakeholders, including other analysts, policy leads, scientists within and outside the Agency and stakeholders in industry and central and local government;
• Keep abreast of developments outside the Agency in the economics of food safety;
• Provide cross-Agency advice and economic analysis that applies behavioural insights in explaining economic decision-making to support policy development and design.
• On occasion, commission and/or manage research projects.
• Opportunity to manage a GES summer/ sandwich placement student

The post-holder will be required to demonstrate the following competences:
• Experience of micro-economics and its application;
• Proven experience of quantitative and numerical analysis skills;
• Experience of communicating economic and other technical analysis effectively to policy colleagues and external stakeholders from a range of backgrounds;
• Demonstrable interpersonal skills – the role requires developing and maintaining good working relationships with internal and external colleagues;
• Ability to manage and prioritise a wide and varying workload.

The role is suitable for an Assistant Economist with experience. Knowledge and/or experience of Impact Assessments and evaluation are also an advantage.

For the full range of duties and responsibilities see the attached job description.



Applicants will need to possess or expected to have a first or upper second class honours degree with at least 50% of the modules in economics, or have a masters in economics. Modules must have covered both micro and macroeconomics to qualify and if you graduated more than five years ago then you must have examples of how you have maintained your economic knowledge on the competency section of the application form.


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

  • Application of knowledge - apply economic tools and techniques, and synthesise evidence from a range of sources, as appropriate
  • Analysis of data - be able to analyse and handle data for the purposes of producing evidence for policy advice
  • Effective communication - provide effective and appropriate written and oral communication to colleagues and stakeholders from many different backgrounds
  • Making effective decisions
  • Leading and communicating
  • Delivering at pace

Civil Service Competency Framework



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must pass basic security checks.

Nationality statement

Candidates will be subject to UK immigration requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules.

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

The interview process will consist of a competency based interview
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.


Candidates in their probationary period are eligible to apply for vacancies within this department.

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

For further enquiries about this position please contact Nicholas Daniel on 0207 276 8203 / email

Sift/interview dates and location

Sift Date: 21st August
Interviews date: 28th August

Further information

Candidates can claim travel costs if they attend an interview/selection stage for the vacancy.

Share this page