OEP - Senior Investigations Officer

Office for Environmental Protection

Apply before 11:55 pm on Monday 11th July 2022



Reference number



£35,895 - £40,613


Senior Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area

OEP - Regulatory

Type of role


Working pattern

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

Number of posts



Northern Ireland, West Midlands (England)


The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) is a new public body, established to protect and improve the environment by holding government and other public authorities to account.

We do this by:

• Monitoring and reporting on UK and Northern Ireland governments' progress in meeting environmental improvement plan goals and targets set under the Environment Act 2021
• Monitoring and reporting on the implementation of environmental law
• Advising UK and Northern Ireland government ministers on proposed changes to environmental law, and other matters related to the natural environment
• Investigating suspected serious failures to comply with environmental law by public authorities and enforcing compliance where needed

We also receive complaints from the public about suspect failures to comply with environmental law.

The OEP was legally created in November, under the Environment Act 2021, and since February we have become fully established after Parliament and the Assembly took the steps needed for our functions to commence. The OEP is a non-departmental public body sponsored by Defra. This means it operates independently from Defra and is not part of the UK Civil Service.

Our work covers England and Northern Ireland.

The natural environment is important for everyone, and we aim for our teams to reflect the diversity of our society. Your personal qualities will be as important as your professional experience and applications are welcomed from all backgrounds.

Job description

The OEP is the cornerstone of our environmental governance system now we have left the EU. It has will have a unique role in tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time, from climate change to biodiversity loss. The Investigations team will have an important role in developing the OEP’s ability to oversee the implementation of, and suspected non-compliance with, environmental law. This is an unrivalled opportunity to join the OEP and help build this function from the ground up, influencing how the OEP will operate in its crucial early years of existence.

The OEP Complaints, Investigations and Enforcement team will manage, maintain and operate a system and processes to receive and validate complaints submitted by the public about failures of public authorities to comply with environmental law. The team are also creating the policies and procedures to enable the OEP to assess the seriousness of, prioritise and investigate cases identified both from complaints and from other sources of information and, if necessary, take enforcement action.

The Investigation team will oversee the development, maintenance and application of the OEP’s approach to investigations, and will itself apply that approach predominantly in relation to cases identified from sources of information other than complaints, for example the OEP’s broader function of monitoring environmental law. The investigation of cases deriving from complaints will be handled primarily by the Complaints team, with the Investigations team advising on the approach to investigation and providing support as needed. The Complaints and Investigations teams will need to work closely, cooperatively and flexibly, agreeing priorities and resource allocations across all of their areas.

The Investigations team will assess the seriousness and priority of case for investigation against the OEP Complaints and Enforcement policy. They will then conduct investigations into the most serious complaints to assess whether a breach of environmental law has occurred and negotiate with public authorities to identify appropriate solutions and remedies. Where a suitable solution cannot be found, they may also need to escalate cases to the OEP Board to decide if enforcement action should be started and support the OEP legal team with enforcement action.

The complaints, investigations and enforcement functions will play a central role in the OEP’s ability to effectively oversee the implementation of environmental law in England and Northern Ireland. This is a unique opportunity to join the OEP as it is established and help develop its functions and high performing service.

We are looking for individuals, from any background, who have the enthusiasm and determination to help us develop and implement an effective approach investigating important matters of public compliance with environmental law, supporting the principal objective of the OEP to protect and enhance the natural environment. The approach to investigations will need to cover a range of scenarios involving a broad range of different types of public authorities, laws, and degrees of complexity.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, we would love you to get in touch.

The OEP will be working on a wide variety of issues at any given time, and we are looking for people who will be able to work flexibly across multiple work areas, when needed. For example, in addition to your standard duties you may called to support a specific high-profile investigation or piece of thematic analysis and be comfortable working in an environment where priorities and objectives may shift.


The OEP is based in Worcester, a thriving county town with three mainline stations providing good links to London, Bristol, and Birmingham.

Great Britain based staff will initially be contractually based at the Defra office at Worcestershire County Hall, and then at a new Worcester OEP office location, details of which will be shared with the successful candidates. Staff will be expected to be based at and regularly attend the Worcester office, although non-contractual home working arrangements for part of the working week may be possible (subject to business agreement and need).

Staff members based in Northern Ireland will be employed on a permanent home working basis but there will be the expectation of regular travel to Worcester, the details of which will be discussed at interview.

Information Webinars:

As the OEP is a new organisation, we will be hosting a webinar during the application period to provide potential candidates with further information about the OEP and the roles – for more information please visit the event page: http://oeprecruitment.eventbrite.com


The jobholder will:

• Assist the complaint handlers, as required, with the receipt and validation of complaints to the OEP by the team, ensuring they are assessed appropriately, escalated if needed and that any incorrectly submitted complaints are correctly signposted to the appropriate place.
· Contribute to the development and testing of the OEP Investigation and Enforcement processes.
· Develop and maintain collaborative working practices with the monitoring environmental law team to identify possible cases for investigation in line with the OEP Complaints and Enforcement procedure and the OEP Strategy.
· Assess the seriousness and priority of those cases, recommending which should proceed through to investigation and the suggested approach to take in each instance.
· Conduct investigations into serious cases, managing the relationship with the relevant public authority, making recommendations to managers around remedies, serving information notices where approved to do so, and drafting investigation reports.
· Produce final investigation reports for approval and publication on completed investigations and report on investigation activity.
· Support the OEP legal team with enforcement action that the OEP undertakes e.g., Decision Notices, Environmental Review.
· Provide advice to the Complaints team on the approach to investigations stemming from complaints.
· Support the G7 Investigations Manager with stakeholder (e.g., environmental regulators, Ombudsmen and NGOs) and media engagement in relation to the complaints and enforcement activities as needed to maintain good relations and effective working interactions and maximise the effectiveness of the team’s work.

The above list of job duties is not exclusive or exhaustive and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

Essential Skills, Experience and Qualifications
• Degree level qualification in a relevant discipline, or equivalent experience.
• Experience or awareness of environmental regulations in Northern Ireland.
• Significant experience of detailed work involving the consideration of UK environmental law.
• Experience of using analytical skills to explore issues and reach decisions based on evaluating a range of evidence.
• Strong verbal and written communication skills and experience of negotiating and influencing to reach an agreement or solution between parties.
• Experience of producing high quality, formal, written reports.
• Flexible and adaptable mindset, happy to work across a wide range of cases (and complaints if required) and change direction quickly in response to changing demands.
• Proactive approach to changing and improving processes/communications etc and identifying new ways of working and improved customer experience.
• Tenacious and able to continue looking and get to the truth in the face of sometimes ambiguous situations and information.
• Adaptable and competent to research, navigate and get to grips with technically and legally complex matters involving the implementation and interpretation of environmental law outside of previous areas of core experience.

Desirable Experience
• Experience of delivering, investigating the implementation of, or enforcing one or more areas of environmental law is desirable.
• Experience managing casework in a case, or complaints, handling environment would be desirable.


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

  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Changing and Improving
• Flexible working to allow for variations in your hours from day to day, suiting your needs, and where this is compatible with business needs.
• Generous Annual Leave allowance
• An Employee Assistance Programme providing free and confidential 24/7 telephone advice service to staff
• An Occupational Health Service (OHS) to provide a range of support services to help with the way you feel at work.
• Outstanding Learning and Development support including paid study leave
• Salary Sacrifice Schemes such as Cycle to Work and Charitable Giving
• Season Ticket and Rental Deposit Loans
• Access to a huge range of retail discounts and offers through an employee discount portal


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours and Experience.
Application Process
As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV detailing qualifications and work history; a 750 word statement of suitability on how you meet the essential experience, skills and qualifications criteria; and behaviour statements.

Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

Should a large number of applications be received, an initial sift may be conducted using the lead behaviour, Making Effective Decisions. Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift, or progressed straight to assessment/interview.

Sift and interview dates are to be confirmed.

If successful at application stage, you will be invited to interview where you will be assessed on experience and behaviours.

At interview, you may be required to deliver a presentation or complete an additional exercise.

All interviews will take place online using MS Teams.

Reserve List
A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made.

New entrants are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band.

Reasonable Adjustment
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:

- Contact Government Recruitment Service via oeprecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk 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.

If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the 'Contact point for applicants' section.

Criminal Record Check
If successful and transferring from another Government Department, a criminal record check maybe carried out.

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service or Access NI on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstances some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing Pre-EmploymentChecks.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk stating the job reference number in the subject heading.

For further information on the Access NI confidential checking service telephone: the Access NI Helpline on 0300 200 7888 and ask to speak to the operations manager in confidence, or email accessni@ani.x.gsi.gov.uk

Childcare Vouchers
Any move to Defra from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at here

We are closely monitoring the situation with regard to Coronavirus, and will be following central Government advice as it is issued. There is therefore a risk that recruitment to this post may be subject to change at short notice. Please continue to follow the application process as normal and ensure that you check your emails regularly for any updates from us as this is how we will communicate with you.

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

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)
  • 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

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 equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
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 : recruitment@the oep.org.uk
  • Email : recruitment@theoep.org.uk

Recruitment team :

  • Email : oeprecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Further information

Complaints If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact Government Recruitment Services via email: oeprecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission: Click here to visit Civil Service Commission

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