OEP - Complaints Officer

Office for Environmental Protection

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



Reference number



£29,179 - £32,160


Higher 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 Complaints and Enforcement team have an important role in improving 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 and Enforcement team will prioritise, manage and investigate complaints about alleged breaches of environmental law by public authorities. The team will also actively identify and investigate issues coming to the attention of the OEP by other means (for example, via its separate function of monitoring the implementation of environmental law) where breaches of environmental law are suspected to have occurred.

The team will need to ensure that complaints are received by the OEP in an efficient manner, demonstrating high standards of good customer service. This will include conducting validation checks to ensure that complaints fall within the OEP’s remit to act and collecting additional information from the complainant and public authority to verify the information.

The team’s role will also be to assess, in accordance with the OEP’s strategy and complaints and enforcement policy, which cases are serious and are priorities for formal investigation. For those that are considered serious, the team’s investigations will determine whether or not a breach of environmental law has occurred, and if so, recommend the most appropriate and proportionate remedy that the public authority should take. The findings and recommendations of investigations will need to be set out in reports and be published.

Where necessary, as part of investigations, the team will make recommendations that the OEP issue information / decision notices or take legal action through judicial review or environmental review. Within these processes, the team will need to consider the urgency of any action based on the imminence of any threat of serious harm to the environment or human health.

The team will negotiate robustly with public authorities to agree solutions to resolve compliance issues in a timely and pragmatic way, where possible without the need for legal action. Robust and clearly communicated decisions must be rational and defensible, as they will be published and may be subject to legal scrutiny as part of a judicial or environmental review. The team will draw extensively on specialist expertise (data scientist, data analyst, environmental specialists, economic specialist and environmental lawyers).

We are looking for individuals, from any background, who have the enthusiasm and flexibility to work with our busy team. 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 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 role holder will:  
• Validate complaints submitted to the OEP to determine if they are within the OEP’s remit and produce high quality written assessments explaining and documenting the rationale behind the decision.
• Prioritise complaints and support investigations into serious cases being carried out by the Senior Case Officer.
• Lead investigations into less complex cases, manage relationships with complainants and public authorities, identifying and making recommendations on appropriate remedies.
• Provide excellent customer service to members of the public who have submitted complaints, providing timely updates, managing expectations, and signposting complaints to the relevant public authority where appropriate.
• Work with the legal team and other specialist teams as necessary to inform complaints triage and validation.
• Ensure the complaints case management system is kept up to date with all correspondence on complaints and cases they are handling.
• Prepare operational reports on the complaints function for the SEO Senior Complaints Officer and G7 Complaints Manager.
• Display flexibility to assist with wider OEP project work where necessary, in support of the OEP’s mission to protect and improve the natural environment.

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 Experience and Skills:

• Proven experience of managing customer/stakeholder relations.
• Very strong verbal and written communication skills.
• A working knowledge of UK environmental law and regulation.
• Analytical skills to reach decisions based on evaluating a range of evidence.
• Good customer relationship management.
• Ability to prioritise and coordinate workload to effectively handle complaints and enforcement activity.
• M/S office (or equivalent) and core business applications
• Demonstrable experience working with environmental law is desirable.
• Demonstrable experience of case management is desirable.


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

  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Delivering at Pace
• 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 Skills and Experience 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 and additional assessment 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.
This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans initiative.
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@theoep.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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