Senior Investigations Officer

Environmental Standards Scotland

Apply before 11:55 pm on Monday 10th April 2023



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This is a permanent and pensionable appointment and new entrants will normally start on the minimum of the pay range.

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Job summary

ESS was established by the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2021, which received royal ascent in January 2021. ESS was established and gained its statutory functions and powers on 1 October 2021. 

ESS has been set up to ensure environmental laws and standards are adhered to in Scotland, replacing the European Union’s scrutiny and enforcement role. 

The remit of ESS covers a broad range of environmental law, including all aspects of environmental protection and harm, particularly in relation to human beings and their enjoyment of the environment. 

ESS’ role is to scrutinise, investigate and secure improvements in public authorities’ compliance with environmental law, the effectiveness of environmental law, and the way it is being implemented and applied in Scotland. 

ESS is accountable to the Scottish Parliament for the effective performance of its functions. It has recently published its Strategic Plan, setting out how it will operate and function, including how it will act objectively, impartially, proportionately and transparently.

ESS will: 

  • Monitor information about the quality of the environment in Scotland and the effectiveness of environmental law, including representations brought forward by citizens and interested groups;
  • Seek information from public authorities, including the Scottish Government, and working with the public authorities to understand the background to regulatory policies and practices;
  • Select a number of cases for detailed investigation, prioritising cases where there is the greatest risk to the environment;
  • Work with public authorities, where necessary, to seek to agree changes in practice to reflect environmental law, or develop advice on recommended changes to the law to improve its effectiveness.

The Senior Investigator role will sit within the Investigations, Standards and Compliance Team. They will assist the head of department in the management of the investigation function of ESS. They will manage a case load of matters under investigation by ESS, and assist in the management of the workload within the investigations team. This will include the preliminary investigation of matters brought to the attention of ESS by stakeholders and members of the public, or of concern to ESS’ Board from other sources of information. Preliminary investigation will consider the information against the criteria established by ESS’ Board, seeking information from public authorities as necessary, to determine whether a matter should be subject to further investigation. In addition, you will manage a case load of matters that are being further investigated, seeking detailed information from public authorities, and from legal advisors and other experts as required. They will present clear information and recommendations to allow ESS to make judgements on the further progress of cases and potential use of powers.

To find out more about a career with ESS and the Civil Service please click here

Job description

The role of Senior Investigation Officer will be critical to the work of ESS, which is high-profile, complex and consequential. The post-holder will be part of the Investigations, Standards and Compliance team, and will report to the head of department. The investigation function considers information submitted to ESS by members of the public and organisations, and other matters of concern to ESS’ Board. Information will be supplied to the Board to allow the selection of cases for detailed investigation, and these cases will be investigated through collection of information from public authorities and other experts as appropriate. Updates and recommendations will be made to ESS’ Board, and progress will be reported to the members of the public and organisations that report concerns to ESS.

The main duties of the Senior Investigations Officer will be: 

  • Provide support to the head of department. In particular, to provide high quality information to the Board on the matters reported for consideration, and supporting the Board in prioritising matters for full investigation.
  • Support the head of department in developing procedures for the determination of priorities for investigation, and ESS policies on the conduct of investigations.
  • Support the head of department in developing procedures for the determination of priorities for investigation, and ESS policies on the conduct of investigations
  • Assist in the planning and managing of the investigation function, advising the Board on achievable caseload and progress, and achieving planned outputs as agreed with the head of department.
  • Conduct initial investigations into matters of concern with respect to a public authority’s compliance with environmental law, a public authorities application or implementation of environmental law, or the effectiveness of environmental law itself, advising the Board on whether there is a significant matter within the scope of ESS, and making connections between issues raised to spot underlying systemic problems.
  • Assist the head of department in producing regular advice to the Board on matters of concern brought to the attention of ESS
  • Investigate matters of concern with respect to a public authority’s compliance with environmental law selected by the Board for full investigation, in a fair and impartial manner and in accordance with ESS’s Strategy and procedures.
  • Investigate the effectiveness of environmental law and its application or implementation, in selected areas agreed by the Board.
  • Maintain appropriate records of investigations.
  • Be the first point of contact for people and organisations raising matters of concern, for public authorities and others engaged in an individual case from the inception of an investigation through to its completion.
  • Obtain, by way of written requests for information, calls and meetings, research and consultation with other staff, all substantive, relevant information pertinent to matters under consideration.
  • Prepare timely, high quality, evidence-based reports on findings, in accordance with the Board’s requirements.

Person specification

Essential Criteria 

  1. Excellent interpersonal, networking and team-working skills, with experience of allocating work to match resources.
  2. Experience of analysing complex information to produce clear, concise and well-structured written work, with clear evidence-based recommendations.
  3. Excellent planning and organisational skills, including the ability to balance competing demands, and use of initiative and judgement to develop handling strategies to resolve sensitive issues.
  4. Excellent written and verbal communication skills, to ensure clear flow of information to senior leaders and accurate recording of decisions.

Qualifications Required 

A relevant degree level qualification, or substantial (minimum 4 years) proven experience gained through working within a regulatory, legal, intelligence, investigation or oversight environment. 

Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable, if you are in any doubt please contact the Recruiting Manager named at the bottom of the advert to discuss. 

Please note: If you fail to demonstrate how you meet the minimum qualifications as stated above, your application will be automatically sifted out.

ESS is a small organisation focused on ensuring Scotland achieves the highest environmental standards. We seek skilled individuals who have a passion for improving environmental standards through public service, that can work as part of a multidisciplinary team. 

In return, we offer a competitive employment package, including the civil service pension and a strong commitment to investing in each member of our teams personal and professional development. We also offer opportunities to work on some of the most significant and meaningful environmental challenges facing us today and the chance to play a part in helping to improve the quality of the environment for the people of Scotland. 

We are building a culture that encourages inclusion and diversity and we particularly encourage applications from people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

The post allows flexible working and is open to full time or, by agreement, other working patterns including part-time, job-shares or compressed hours.

  • A strong commitment to investing in your personal and professional development
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%

Selection process details

This competition is being run in accordance with the Civil Service Recruitment Principles. 

The selection panel will use your application to assess your suitability for the role against the essential criteria during sifting using your statement of suitability and your CV. 

In addition to setting out information on your work experience, please submit a personal statement. 

The personal statement (no longer than 1,000 words) should explain why you consider your personal skills, qualities and experience are suitable for this role, with particular reference to the essential criteria in the person specification.

You should read each of the essential criteria, and think about a time, or an example, that can help demonstrate your knowledge/skills. Remember, this must be evidence based and your answers should be clear, concise and reflect what actions you undertook. You may want to use the STAR(R) approach to respond to each criterion. You should aim to use approximately 250 words per criteria.

If you are shortlisted, you will be provided with full details of the next stages of the selection process. 

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

Please note: If you fail to demonstrate how you meet the minimum qualifications as stated above, your application will be automatically sifted out.

The Skills for Success Competencies required for this role are shown below. You will be tested against these competencies at interview.

  • Analysis and Use of Evidence
  • Improving Performance
  • Communications & Engagement
  • Self-Awareness

Sift provisional dates week beginning 17 April 2023

Interview dates still to be confirmed but likely to be week beginning 1st May. 

Interviews will be held at our Thistle House Offices, Edinburgh. 

If an alternative virtual interview is required, we will ask all applicants to ensure that they have a suitable space to complete the online interview. In addition, a personal device of choice that can access MS Teams will be required, alongside access to personal Wi-Fi/Broadband that has capacity to carry both audio and video feeds.

Further Information

A reserve list may be held for a period of 9 months from which further appointments can be made.

Any move to ESS 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

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.

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

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.

After submission of the first stage of your application you will be invited to complete a Civil Service Verbal Test and Civil Service Judgement Test. If you successfully pass the test, you will be invited to complete the final stage of the application. 

Please complete the online tests as soon as possible (within 24-48 hours is recommended), the closing date for the tests is 11:55 on 10th April 2023 . If you fail to complete the online test before the deadline your application will be withdrawn. Guidance for the test will be available when you are invited to take the test. The tests are administered online and accessed via the CS Jobs website.

This role is full time only. Applicants who wish to work an alternative pattern are welcome to apply however your preferred working pattern may not be available and you should discuss this with the vacancy holder before applying.

If successful and transferring from another Government Department a criminal record check may be carried out.

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

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.
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 : Jamie McGrandles
  • Email :

Recruitment team :

  • Email :

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