Head of Veterinary Audit and Assurance – International Trade

Food Standards Agency

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 11th June 2023



Reference number



G6: £60,903 (National) £64,943 (London)

Job grade

Grade 6

Contract type


Business area

FSA - Operations - Operational Assurance

Type of role

Operational Delivery
Veterinary Services

Working pattern

Full-time, Compressed Hours

Number of jobs available



Multi-location from one of our FSA Offices (Belfast, Cardiff or York), or home based in the UK. Please be aware that this role can only be worked within the UK and not overseas. Travel across the UK will be required on an occasional basis, possibly with overnight stays.

Job summary

The FSA is a non-ministerial department of over 1400 people. Having left the EU, we play a critical role in protecting public health and consumers’ wider interests in food across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our vision is an important one - to drive change, delivering “food you can trust” and working towards a healthier and more sustainable food system.

Around 45% of the food we consume in the UK is imported from other countries. Almost a third of our food comes from the EU alone. It is important that consumers can have confidence in the food they buy regardless of where it is from, and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) works hard to deliver this security. This has become more important than ever now that the UK has left the EU, and our teams adapt in order to take on new responsibilities while also ensuring our exports are of the highest quality, boosting our standing across international markets.

The FSA is looking for a Head of Veterinary Audit and Assurance who can support the important work our teams do to ensure both the quality of food imported to and exported from the UK, as well as the wellbeing of animals within the food system itself.

Job description

Implementing and managing our Imports Assurance delivery programme, your work will have far reaching impact that will enable consumers around the world to have confidence in the quality of their food.

Delivering import assessments that determine the safety of foods produced overseas, your team will provide key assurance that you will manage and implement. You’ll work closely with colleagues in Food Standards Scotland and DEFRA, amongst other stakeholders, making recommendations and supporting the development of operating systems that will further our ability to keep food safe.

You’ll also work to ensure that our Veterinary Import Audit Team has the capacity to adapt to changing demands while continuing to deliver high quality work. You’ll make sure that we are able to adequately assess food safety in other countries looking to export goods to the UK, while supporting export audits of UK businesses by third countries.

At its core, this role is about empowering the FSA to deliver consistent, high-quality food -whether it has been exported from or imported to the UK. Your leadership will define the capabilities of a dedicated team that works hard to deliver ‘food you can trust’, and you’ll need to be able to make the right decision to support them while offering informed and educated recommendations to a range of stakeholders.

This is an opportunity to make a real difference to millions of lives, and work alongside a talented team with an important goal. If you are excited to use your skill and expertise to support this important work, apply today for the Head of Veterinary Audit and Assurance role.

Person specification

Please read the attached Candidate Pack to discover further details about the role, our organisation, who we are looking for and the criteria we will assess against during the selection process.

We look forward to receiving your application and wish you every success.


Full UK Driving Licence


An advanced qualification or training in suditing e.g. Quality Assurance Management, ISO Lead Assessor course or HACCP auditing, IRCA Registration
HACCP Training to at least level 3


Membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons


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

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Leadership
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Developing Self and Others
Our candidate pack details the benefits that the FSA has to offer. Please also refer to the attached Terms and Conditions statement.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Behaviours and Experience.

Full details of the selection process are detailed in the attached candidate pack. 

Application and shortlisting

This will consist of an application will be shortlisted against the essential person specification criteria stated in the Candidate Pack.

Lead Criteria

An initial sift may take place on just the identified Lead Criteria indicated below:

·         Experience of third country audit and approvals

In the event that we receive a large number of applications, the minimum pass mark for the Lead Criteria may be raised at shortlisting stage. Candidates who apply under the DCS, GPTW or RIS schemes and meet the minimum requirements will be unaffected by the pass mark raise.


If successful at shortlisting stage, you will be invited to a final interview in which we will assess you against the following Civil Service Behaviours Level 4


·         Seeing the Big Picture

·         Leadership

·         Communicating and Influencing

·         Developing Self and Others

As part of the interview process, you will be asked to prepare a seen presentation. Further information will be provided to you on the day / invite to interview email.

Expected Timeline

 Advert closes: 11/06/23

Sift: Expected to take place 12/06/23

Final panel interview: Expected to take place 26/06/23.

Interviews will be held remotely via MS Teams. (If you do not have the Microsoft Teams application installed on your computer, you can join on the web without installing the application.)

Please note that indicated dates may be subject to change.

The FSA is dedicated to a policy of equal opportunity for all.

 Being truly reflective of our society and building a culture where everyone can perform at their best is critical to the work of the FSA. We are looking to recruit from the widest possible talent pool and encourage candidates to apply from a diverse range of backgrounds. We are proud to be an inclusive, equal opportunities employer and are committed to ensuring that all candidates are treated fairly throughout the recruitment and selection process and beyond. All appointments are made on merit.

Please be assured that diversity or socio–economic information requested during the course of your application plays absolutely no part in our selection processes and is not seen by anyone assessing applications.  Any information provided is anonymised and used for statistical purposes only.

We actively review the deployment of talent on a periodic basis in the interests of optimising personal development and the achievement of business plans.

Childcare Vouchers

Any move to the Food Standards Agency 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 https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

Reserve List

A reserve list will be held for a period of up to 12 months from which further appointment may be made.

Candidates that do not pass the interview, but have demonstrated an acceptable standard may be considered for similar roles at a lower grade.

Visa Sponsorship

 Please note that the FSA does not hold a licence to sponsor any visa applications.

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.
The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.
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 : Richard Wynn-Davies
  • Email : richard.wynn-davies@food.gov.uk

Recruitment team

  • Email : hr.recruitment.campaigns@food.gov.uk

Further information

If you wish to raise a complaint then please email hr.recruitment.campaigns@food.gov.uk in the first instance.

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