Principal Inspector - Network and Information Systems (NIS) - Drinking Water Inspectorate

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 29th May 2022



Reference number



£52,289 - £60,188
For details of our pay on appointment policy, please see below under the heading ‘Salary'.


Grade 7

Contract type


Business area

Drinking Water Inspectorate

Type of role

Information Technology
Knowledge and Information Management
Senior leadership

Working pattern

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

Number of posts



City of Westminster, London (region), SW1P 3JR


The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) is the independent regulator of drinking water quality in England and Wales. Established by Parliament in 1990, the strategic objective is to protect public health and maintain public confidence by securing safe and clean drinking water, now and for future generations.

The powers and duties under which the Inspectorate operates are established in legislation and are wide-ranging, covering all aspects of the quality and sufficiency of water together with duties in regard of network and information systems of public water supplies as delegated by the Secretary of State and Welsh ministers. Statutory duties in relation to private supplies for the provision of technical advice to local authorities and the authority of appeal are provided on behalf of the Secretary of State and Welsh ministers.

The Inspectorate produces its own independent reports for ministers in both England and Wales; reporting on the operational performance of the water companies that it regulates in both countries, and on the performance of local authorities in their duties with respect to private water supplies. These cover assessment of the results of monitoring of drinking water supplied by the water companies month by month; investigation of notified events; and site visits and meetings with companies to audit technical operating practices, procedures and policies for compliance with regulation and enforcement notices. In addition to the statutory function, further non-statutory functions are provided, including an evidence programme; consumer and media advice on information about drinking water safety and regulation as well as the running of an independent website.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate recovers its costs from the industry which it regulates, but operates as a business unit within Defra’s Floods and Water Directorate. The Directorate has formal responsibility for sponsoring the Inspectorate in Defra.

Job description

The Network and Information Systems Regulations (2018) extended the original Drinking Water Supply regulations to include greater emphasis on the security and reliability of information systems which control drinking water production or delivery; and in particular the later day threat of cyber security.

The key management responsibility for a Principal Inspector (PI) will be to ensure, via a combination of Inspectors activity and their own, that drinking water companies take appropriate and proportional technical and organisational measures to manage risks posed to both the security of their network and information systems (used in the production or treatment of drinking water) as well as physical security of assets on which their essential service (drinking water) relies. Such a responsibility is pivotal for the relationship developed with each water company – the intent will be to develop a collaborative relationship. However, if a company does not engage to this effect, the resultant relationship will be adversarial and confrontational with the necessary use of Enforcement.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate has a base in central London but has a flexible working policy which includes homeworking.


The Principal Inspector (PI) will manage a small team of Inspectors and the whole regulatory process of ensuring all 18 designated (for NIS purposes) water companies across England and Wales comply with the Network and Information Systems Regulations 2018. The regulatory process requires the detailed understanding of significant complex operational dynamic systems which control the treatment/production of safe drinking water over multiple operational sites for up to several million consumers at all times.

The post holder will develop the internal processes and delivery of the regulations to effectively monitor, and if necessary to enforce, how water companies are complying with the complex regulatory requirements. Specialist expert advice may be sought by water companies, which will require additional interpersonal skills from the PI to guide companies and yet leave the company to make its own decisions. Management support and leadership will be required from the PI for the small team of Inspectors evaluating technical information about the operation and monitoring of network information systems (Information Technology and Operational Technology) for the production and continuous supply of drinking water.

The Principal Inspector will be responsible for ensuring all 18 water companies are compliant with the regulations. The technical information, including the receipt of Incident reports, will require audit and assessment against the regulatory requirements, which will also require company site visits to inspect/audit a variety of drinking water production and distribution processes and their management and control. Where necessary, guidance may be required to help a company understand or implement the most appropriate controls to have in place, which may include support for the correct interpretation of regulatory requirements.

The key deliverable will be to ensure that each water company has seen the Big Picture relating to network information systems and physical security, and how their regulatory responsibilities result in a strategy to ensure compliance. The PI will ensure that Inspectors have a clear understanding of the required outcome for water companies to enable Inspectors to enforce effectively. The enforcement process involves an escalatory process of formal requests (Notices) for information, through Notices to legally require system improvement, to Penalty Notices for non-compliance of up to £17m. The PI has complete autonomy for information and improvement Notices, but will need to justify and escalate any penalty notice and communicate effectively with Senior Management in order to influence the outcome.

Apart from the inward focused responsibility of ensuring the water industry are complaint with regulations, the PI also has outward facing responsibilities of engaging with other Competent Authorities, advisory Government departments, Defra security and occasionally senior Defra staff. The role here would be either to receive knowledge or advice regarding security issues (and then to decide on any required action), or to inform or make recommendations for strategy.

In addition, Principal Inspectors form the Management Team for the day to day activities of the whole Drinking Water Inspectorate. The Principal Inspector (NIS) will fulfil these duties, which includes appraising the Management Team of activity and developments within the NIS and security areas. The Management Team support the activity areas and so there will be an expectation that the PI (NIS) has a working knowledge of the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2016.

Proven experience in cyber security is necessary. Additionally, experience of the water industry and experience of working for a regulator is beneficial.


As travelling is an integral part of the job, often to areas not served by public transport, you should have a valid driving licence, although it may be possible to adjust this requirement for those who have difficulty meeting this criteria.


A tertiary level qualification in a subject related to water supply or cyber security.

Recognised cyber security qualification (e.g. CISSP, CISM, M. Inst IISP, etc.)


Candidates should have attained, be working towards or willing to work towards chartership of a professional body.


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

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Leadership
  • Communicating and Influencing

We only ask for evidence of these behaviours on your application form:

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Managing a Quality Service
• Learning and development tailored to your role
• An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is counter-terrorist check.

See our vetting charter.
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, Strengths and Experience.
Candidates wishing to apply for the Principal Inspector role are invited to apply for the post online.

Application Process
As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV, personal statement and behaviour statements. Further details around what this entails are listed on the application form.

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

Sift and interview dates as well as the interview location to be confirmed.

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

Candidates invited to attend an interview will be asked to prove their suitability for the post in the form of a short exercise. No advance preparation will be required and candidates will be provided with further information in due course.

Currently, it is expected that interviews will be conducted remotely using Microsoft Teams.

Please be aware that this role(s) will be contractually based in a Defra group workplace/office. The successful candidate is required to carry out all their duties from a UK location, and cannot do so from an overseas location at any time

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

New entrants to the Civil Service are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band. The internal roles rules apply to existing Civil Servants, i.e. level transfers move on current salary or the pay range minimum, transfers on promotion move to new pay range minimum or receive 10% increase. Either case is determined by whichever is the highest.

Visa Sponsorship Statement
Please take note that Defra does not hold a UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) Skilled Worker License sponsor and are unable to sponsor any individuals for Skilled Worker Sponsorship.

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 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 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 stating the job reference number in the subject heading .

Internal Fraud Database Check
Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

A candidate is not eligible to apply for a role within the Civil Service if the application is made within a 5 year period following a dismissal for carrying out internal fraud against government.

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.

As government restrictions continue to lift, Defra group is exploring future ways of working with flexibility in mind. This means, that subject to business need, successful candidates will be offered the option to combine working at home with working at their contractual Defra group workplace, with occasional travel to other work locations. Further information relevant to this post will be available for candidates invited to interview.

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 : Suzanne Calmels
  • Email :
  • Telephone : 07585 988028

Recruitment team :

  • Email :

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: 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

Share this page