Seasonal Bee & Plant Inspector

Animal and Plant Health Agency

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 16th October 2022



Reference number



£24,918 - £26,584


Executive Officer

Contract type

Fixed Term

Length of employment

24-month APHA Fixed-Term appointment with potential for extension or permanency

Type of role

Operational Delivery

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Homeworking, Shift Working

Number of posts



East of England, North East England, North West England, South East England, South West England, Wales, West Midlands (England), Yorkshire and the Humber


This is a full-time blended role where the predominant activity and skillset will be as a Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) undertaking the full range of tasks during the bee season. Candidates will need to undertake apiary inspections and work closely with honeybees as a key function of this role from April to September/October.  

In the winter season October – March a range of alternative tasks will be available to support Plant Health inspection activities, either within the same geographical region as SBI work or working remotely from home to support national desk-based activities subject to business needs. There may also be opportunity to undertake Detached Duty for periods of time to support other Plant and Animal Health teams, particularly when outbreaks occur. 

Work may require participation on shift or overtime rotas subject to location to deliver inspection services within published Service Level Agreements. Currently Plant Health provide export services between 7am-7pm, 7 days a week. Import service standards may vary subject to Border Control Point operating hours. 

We are currently seeking inspectors in any of the following areas:



Target Areas


Whole of Wales, but particularly North

South Western Region

Whole of SW

Western Region

Staffordshire, Shropshire

Eastern Region

Norfolk, (particularly north)

North Eastern Region

Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire,

North Western Region

 greater Sheffield area (SW Yorkshire, NW Derbyshire)


Northamptonshire, North Buckinghamshire, Hampshire

South Eastern

Kent. East Sussex

Please note that location will be a deciding factor when offering roles to candidates.

Job description

Bee Season

From an approved ‘Home-Based’ location the successful candidate(s) will organise and conduct a statutory inspection programme of honeybee colonies, within a geographically defined area, for bee diseases and pests currently the subject of EU or UK statutory regulations, e.g., foul brood, small hive beetle and Tropilaelaps sp., as directed and supervised by the Regional Bee Inspector carrying out subsequent enforcement actions where necessary. Engage with the beekeeping sector through the National Bee Units (NBU) Extension and Advisory work providing educational support and advice via local and national beekeeping events. The post of Seasonal Bee Inspector is critical to the effective delivery of the objectives of the Healthy Bees Plan, and the delivery of the bee health implementation plan. 

Inspect Bee Colonies and confirm the presence of notifiable bee pests and disease using field test equipment and to forward appropriate samples of material from suspect diseased or infested colonies to the NBU laboratory for diagnosis in a secure and efficient manner, together with all the information needed by laboratory staff to identify the beekeeper and to make treatment recommendations. 

Issue standstill notices or movement licences upon apiary sites from which suspect pests or diseased material has been confirmed by field-testing or removed for laboratory examination, and at other times as directed by or after consultation with the Regional Bee Inspector to ensure that the recipient complies with the conditions of these notices. 

In instances where Statutory guidelines are not adhered to the Seasonal Bee Inspector will engage in the preliminary investigative stages of any subsequent enforcement action brought under UK or EU statutory regulations, in liaison with line management. 

Treat or destroy (or supervise treatment & destruction) of diseased or infested colonies in accordance with the recommendations of the NBU Laboratory and/or after consultation with line management. 

Maintain accurate and up-to-date apiary inspection records, including any follow-up action such as treatment, destruction, and post-treatment inspection, and to forward these promptly to the line manager or laboratory as appropriate, by paper or electronic media. 

Collect a required number of honey samples at specified times each year on behalf of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), as part of their statutory residue analysis programme, and engage in any subsequent preliminary investigative actions which may arise following analysis. 

Liaise with local beekeepers, beekeepers' associations, research institutes and other organisations associated with the beekeeping sector, as required by line management, to further the work of the NBU. 

Foster good working relationships between the NBU and local beekeepers including the provision of advice on the diagnosis and control of bee diseases and pests under the direction of the Regional Bee Inspector within the advisory policy of the NBU, using talks, apiary demonstrations and the distribution of APHA, Defra, Welsh Government, or management-approved advisory material. 

Regularly collect and report information about local beekeeping conditions, problems and practices and related matters, such as forage availability or colony losses to support the advisory, research and development and policy advisory work of the NBU. 

Engage in the Contingency Planning Activities of the NBU in addition to Exotic Pest Surveillance colony inspections; such as Sentinel Apiary Programmes, Sample Gathering and attending and participating in Contingency Planning Exercises which may take place outside of the geographical area normally covered. This includes working with Non-native species Secretariat with the triage of Asian Hornet and engaging with the eradication Forward Operating Base if required. 

Engage in the research and development activities of APHA (such as maintenance and monitoring of experimental colonies, application of experimental disease control treatments, collection of samples and/or liaison with beekeepers and others, Technical Advice Panels (TAP’s) and other projects as directed by the National Bee Inspector or Head of Unit. 

Engage in the work of the National Bee Unit for the Defra Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (bee poisoning incidents) by collecting and forwarding samples to NBU laboratories and collecting local information and carrying out preliminary field investigative work regarding incidents as directed by line management. 

Inspect beekeepers' premises, bee colonies, equipment, and Veterinary Medicines Records to confirm compliance with current EC and UK statutory regulations relating to bee health or wider animal health legislation, when required and as directed by line management. 

Engage and work with Bee farmers in respect of the DASH scheme undertaking baseline inspections of all colonies and audit inspections every three years.  

Maintain competence and follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) to meet requirements of ISO17020 for NBU Foulbrood Inspections and Treatments. 

Obtain City & Guilds Level 2 Bee Health Management and Safe Use of Veterinary Medicines. 

Maintain all specified records in connection to legislative inspection work to the standards required of the Police & Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) Act 1984 and its associated codes of practice, and to the Regulators Compliance Code – Statutory Code of Practice for Regulators 2007. 

The Seasonal Bee Inspector may also be required to engage in other duties, not directly associated with Bee Health organised by other APHA staff, under the management of the Head of the National Bee Unit (NBU), in consultation with other Inspectorates Team Leaders and the National or Regional Bee Inspectors. 

During the Bee season (April-September), be available to attend any training requirements to maintain Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate (PHSI) skills or to prepare for winter season work. 

Bee Health – Winter specific: 

  • Respond to any activities required by Asian Hornet incursions. 
  • Carry out late or early season inspections for statutory pests and diseases. 
  • Be available to cover for colleagues, assist with the NBU stand at events and give talks to associations and other groups out of season. 
  • Update the database for own inspection area and others as requested. 
  • Be available to support work of the TAP’s.
  • Be available and prepared to help with any aspect of APHA’s work. 

Plant Inspector - Winter Season

The work of the Plant Health and Seed Inspectorate (PHSI) is to maintain and promote a high plant health status in England and Wales, thereby contributing to APHA’s overarching purpose. The aims are achieved by excluding, containing or eradicating quarantine plant pests, regulating other plant pests to secure high quality planting material, and facilitating trade through the provision of plant health certification services for imports and exports. 

The work centres on the implementation and enforcement of plant health and seeds legislation that applies to imports of plant material from third countries and European Union member states. A key objective in carrying out this work is to prevent the introduction and spread of serious plant pest and disease, which threaten the viability of the agriculture and horticulture industries. The programme also has an important environmental element in that it helps to prevent the introduction of non-native organisms harmful to indigenous plants and ecosystems, and avoids widespread chemical treatment, which might be necessary if quarantine pests become established in the UK. 

 Key Tasks 

  • Organise emergency measures to control outbreaks of specified quarantine and non-indigenous pests and diseases in areas of proven competency and under HEO PHSI supervision. 
  • Statutory inspection of imported plants, planting material, plant produce and used agricultural machinery to ensure compliance with import and export regulations. 
  • Statutory inspections to ensure Single Market plant health and Marketing regulation requirements are met. 
  • Crop surveys and soil sampling in connection with regulations made to prevent the spread of dangerous plant pests and diseases. 
  • Inspection of certain agricultural and horticultural crops in connection with statutory and domestic plant health certification/classification schemes. 
  • Undertake additional specialised duties including delivering work directly to and on behalf of Technical Advice Panels (TAPs). 

 Specific Tasks in the Winter may include: 

  • Support HEO inspectors in achieving regional/national inspection targets for surveys. 
  • Participate in rotas to facilitate export inspections and issuance of Phytosanitary Certificates. 
  • Participate in rotas to facilitate import inspections of imported plants and produce. 
  • Carry out General Quarantine Inspections.
  • Plan and complete Soil Sampling tasks.
  • Assist HEO inspectors to carry out Incident Management tasks as and when they arise.
  • Detached duty work such as Narcissus field inspections for export and plant passporting.
  • Be able to assist with Plant Health administrative tasks.
  • Attend technical refresh training courses in compliance with ISO accreditation. 


Candidate specification:

All candidates must have demonstrable skills in written and spoken English to enable effective communication about bee and plant health topics with customers, service users and colleagues. 

Candidates must have an apicultural background and be able to demonstrate an interest and some knowledge of horticulture, e.g. through a period of work experience. Candidates will also be able to demonstrate skills, experience, and knowledge in:

  • Knowledge and experience of apiculture, pests and diseases, and a competent standard of bee handling.  
  • Knowledge of basic Health and Safety and an understanding of safe working when handling bees and hornets, when on farms, nurseries and in warehouses.
  • Ability to work alone or as part of team 
  • Ability to communicate confidently 
  • Ability to use various IT platforms such as Word and Excel. 
  • Driving is an essential part of the job, and a full valid driving license and access to independent transport is required.
  • This is an outdoor role where walking across farmland, nursery sites and standing for prolonged periods may be required. 

Skills & Experience:

  • Understanding of GB (Great Britain) agricultural, horticulture, apicultural and associated industries.
  • Awareness of notifiable disease threats.
  • Some knowledge and experience of horticulture, agriculture, and nursery systems would be an advantage. 
  • Basic understanding of Defra’s response to a notifiable disease outbreak. 
  • Ability to demonstrate and assure professional delivery, balancing the needs of all, including customers, stakeholders, and colleagues.
  • Proven ability to be flexible and change priorities when needed. 
  • To consistently deliver and achieve. Be able to implement policy and instructions where necessary. Ensure reputation is maintained whilst delivering performance. 

Business Travel & Locations: 

This post is home based but there will be an expectation that you will attend an APHA office on a regular basis when completing winter duties. You may be required to attend other locations throughout Great Britain on detached duty based on business needs. Allowances will be paid subject to meeting eligibility criteria. 

Scope of Job: 

  • Operational Delivery of Bee and Plant Health activities 
  • Disease Outbreak Response 

Health and Safety 

To ensure APHA Health and Safety policies and procedures are complied with at all times. 


Driving license


Must have demonstrable skills in written and spoken English to enable effective communication with customers and colleagues.


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

  • Delivering at Pace
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Managing a Quality Service

Technical skills

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

  • Picture test
  • Beekeeping knowledge - 4 Questions on Biosecurity & Hygiene, Varroa, Notifiable Pest and Diseases & Husbandry
  • Scenario
  • Practical Apiary Assessment

Pension and Financial Benefits
Your pension is a valuable part of your total reward package and there are various options including Alpha and Partnership pension schemes in which Defra can invest in providing a contribution to the cost of your pension.
Your pension will continue to provide valuable benefits for you and your family if you are too ill to continue to work or die before you retire.

Time off
Offering 25 days annual leave (rising up to 30 days over 5 years) for new entrants to the Civil Service and retaining existing arrangements for current Civil Servants

Special Leave
Additional paid leave for other situations including family-related leave is available for employees volunteering and taking part in public duties, trade union activities, special/trained forces and for health & safety representatives.

We have a Staff Recognition Scheme, and our in-year awards reward exemplary work.

Learning and Development
Access to five days learning and development each year to support professional development through Civil Service Learning, Corporate induction and three days special leave for volunteering.

Performance Management
Individual performance plans, learning and development matched to your agreed career objectives and progression plans.

Examination Leave
Paid leave for exams and revision for approved studies

Staff Wellbeing
Access to Employee Assistance Programme, available 24/7, providing advice and guidance on both personal and employment issues such as personal wellbeing, career development, legal matters such as landlord / tenant disputes. Access to Occupational Health Service and the Civil Service Sports Council.

Free access to Headspace which is a mindfulness, meditation, and sleep app.

Work/life Balance

Travel & Transport Benefits
A range of travel and transport benefits. Access to the cycle to work salary sacrifice scheme that enables you to buy a bike up to the value of £6k.

Shopping & Leisure Benefits
A variety of discounts at online stores and leisure experiences available via 'Mylifestyle'.

Interest Free Loans
For season tickets and/or bicycles and safety equipment as well as tenancy deposit scheme

Other benefits

Sick pay
We have various measures in place to assist with your physical and emotional health. Our focus is on early intervention and proactivity in addressing health issues. However, should you not be well enough to attend work, occupational sick pay, increasing by length of service, is available.

Enhanced parental leave
We offer generous maternity leave, paternity leave and shared parental leave.


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


Successful candidates will be expected to have a medical.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.

Application Process
As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV and 500 word personal statement meeting clearly illustrating your location, your beekeeping experience, your experience with Microsoft Office applications, and what you bring to the role.

Sift and interview dates to be confirmed. 


If successful at application stage, you will be invited to interview where you will be assessed on:

  1. A photographic assessment of disease and pest recognition.

  2. An interview which will include Behaviours, Strengths, a role play where you will be provided with a scenario and a technical section testing your beekeeping knowledge.

  3. An apiculture practical skills apiary assessment.

Candidates must pass each stage in order to be able to proceed to the next. Candidates that have not passed a stage will be advised of the result by the Plant & Bee Health Recruitment Team.

Candidates are ineligible to reapply for other Seasonal Bee Inspector vacancies for a period of 12 months if they do not pass any stage of the application process.

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 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 recognize in exceptional circumstance 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.

Loan and Fixed Term Appointments

Existing Civil Servants and applicants from accredited NDPBs are eligible to apply, but will only be considered on loan basis (Civil Servants) or secondment (accredited NDPBs). Prior agreement to be released on a loan basis must be obtained before commencing the application process. In the case of Civil Servants, the terms of the loan will be agreed between the home and host department and the Civil Servant. This includes grade on return.

This is a Fixed-term Appointment as a Seasonal Bee & Plant Inspector for the APHA. Your responsibilities will include those listed in this vacancy. This post will therefore begin from passing pre-employment checks and end 103 weeks later.

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.
The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment.
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 : Margaret Gill or Jonathan Axe (
  • Email :

Recruitment team :

  • Email :

Further information

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


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