Microbiological Risk Assessor (HEO) 1 x Permanent 1 x FTA (with possibility of permanency)

Food Standards Agency

Apply before 11:55 pm on Monday 12th June 2023



Reference number



HEO: £30,957 (National) £32,997 (London) Salary will be pro rata for part time working or as part of a job share partnership. If applying on a job-share basis, the expectation is that you are already in an established job-share partnership. Due to the nature of the role we are unable to consider requests for part time working of less than 30 hours per week.

Job grade

Higher Executive Officer
HSO (Higher Scientific Officer - equivalent to HEO Grade)

Contract type

Fixed Term

Length of employment

1 x perm, 1 x 23–months FTA with possibility of permanency

Business area

FSA - Information and Science - Microbiological Risk Assessment

Type of role

Risk Management

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Homeworking, Job share, Part-time, Compressed Hours

Number of jobs available



Multi-location from one of our FSA Offices (Belfast, Cardiff or York), or home based in the UK. Please be aware that this role can only be worked within the UK and not overseas. Travel across the UK will be required on an occasional basis, possibly with overnight stays.

Job summary

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is a small government department with a big mission: to keep food safe, ensure that it is what it says it is, and that it is increasingly healthy ad more sustainable.

We are looking for Microbiological Risk Assessors to help us deliver this important work, delivering key insights on food safety that will guide our policy development and incidence response.

As well as carrying out robust risk assessments, the team also commissions external research that empowers us to make decisions based on the latest science. You will work on a wide range of projects, from detailed reports to incident response risk assessments. This role offers a fantastic opportunity to engage in varied and fascinating work that will support not only the mission of the FSA but also the health of the wider public.

You will work with colleagues from across the FSA, as well as other government departments, gathering and assessing scientific information that will fuel our wider work. You’ll also provide key secretariat support to our Scientific Advisory Committee, supporting their work through the drafting of agendas, discussion papers and meeting reports.

The work requires flexibility, as well as the ability to deliver results at pace when necessary. If you are as comfortable working in a close-knit team as you are settling down to work on a longer project under your own initiative and are driven by a desire to deliver excellent scientific research and analysis, do not hesitate to apply.

Job description

This recruitment campaign is for two posts.  1 post will be offered a permanent appointment and one as 23-months Fixed Term/Loan (with possibility of permanency) appointment.

The highest scoring candidate at interview will be offered the permanent role.

Candidates that are already established Civil Servants or from non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) will come to the FSA on a Loan basis and will need to request permission from their Home Department for the Loan prior to applying for this job.

Note for FSA employees: You must seek approval from your substantive manager before applying for this recruitment campaign as it involves a non-permanent vacancy, this includes applying for a new post during an existing temporary posting.

Person specification

Please read the attached Candidate Pack to discover further details about the role, our organisation, who we are looking for and the criteria we will assess against during the selection process.

We look forward to receiving your application and wish you every success.


5. A degree in an appropriate life science (e.g. microbiology) or a food production discipline.
6. Postgraduate qualification in a related field or equivalent experience.


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

  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Working Together
Our candidate pack details the benefits that the FSA has to offer. Please also refer to the attached Terms and Conditions statement.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Behaviours and Experience.

Full details of the selection process are detailed in the attached candidate pack. 

Application and shortlisting
This will consist of an application which will be shortlisted against the essential person specification criteria stated in the Candidate Pack.

Lead Criteria

An initial sift may take place on just the identified Lead Criteria indicated below:

·         Proven experience of either designing or conducting risk assessments following the stages established in international standards (e.g., CODEX, WOAH) that have been used to inform risk management decisions by others.

In the event that we receive a large number of applications, the minimum pass mark for the Lead Criteria may be raised at shortlisting stage. Candidates who apply under the DCS, GPTW or RIS schemes and meet the minimum requirements will be unaffected by the pass mark raise.

If successful at shortlisting stage, you will be invited to a final interview in which we will assess you against the following Experience requirements of the role and Civil Service Behaviours Level 3


·         Making Effective Decisions

·         Delivering at Pace

·         Working Together


·         Proven experience of either designing or conducting risk assessments following the stages established in international standards (e.g., CODEX, WOAH) that have been used to inform risk management decisions by others.

Expected Timeline
Advert closes:  12 June 2023
Sift: Expected to take place week commencing 12 June 2023
Final panel interview: Expected to take place week commencing 26 June 2023

Interviews will be held remotely via MS Teams. (If you do not have the Microsoft Teams application installed on your computer, you can join on the web without installing the application.)

Please note that indicated dates may be subject to change.

The FSA is dedicated to a policy of equal opportunity for all.
Being truly reflective of our society and building a culture where everyone can perform at their best is critical to the work of the FSA. We are looking to recruit from the widest possible talent pool and encourage candidates to apply from a diverse range of backgrounds. We are proud to be an inclusive, equal opportunities employer and are committed to ensuring that all candidates are treated fairly throughout the recruitment and selection process and beyond. All appointments are made on merit.

Please be assured that diversity or socio–economic information requested during the course of your application plays absolutely no part in our selection processes and is not seen by anyone assessing applications.  Any information provided is anonymised and used for statistical purposes only.

We actively review the deployment of talent on a periodic basis in the interests of optimising personal development and the achievement of business plans.

Childcare Vouchers
Any move to the Food Standards Agency 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 https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

Reserve List
A reserve list will be held for a period of up to 12 months from which further appointment may be made.

Visa Sponsorship
Please note that the FSA does not hold a licence to sponsor any visa applications and we are unable to provide any advice about visas.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.
People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) 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 European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window)
  • 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
Further information on nationality requirements (opens in a new window)

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code (opens in a new window) 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 (opens in a new window).
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.
This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans (opens in a new window) initiative.
The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment (opens in new window).
Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :

  • Name : Anthony J. Wilson
  • Email : anthony.j.wilson@food.gov.uk

Recruitment team

  • Email : hr.recruitment.campaigns@food.gov.uk

Further information

If you wish to raise a complaint then please email hr.recruitment.campaigns@food.gov.uk in the first instance.

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