Personal Secretary to Director of People and Resources

Food Standards Agency

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 14th August 2022



Reference number



£30,350 (National) per annum £32,350 (London) per annum pro-rata for part-time working if established job share


Higher Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area

FSA - Finance and Performance - Corporate Support Unit ( CSU)

Type of role

Administration / Corporate Support

Working pattern

Full-time, Job share

Number of posts



Multi-location from one of our FSA Offices (Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, London 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.


Are you looking for an exciting opportunity in a rich and varied role where no two days are the same?

Do you enjoy effectively supporting senior stakeholders and have experience as an Executive Assistant / Personal Secretary (or similar)?

Can you use your excellent interpersonal skills to build and maintain credible relationships?

If that sounds like you – we have a really exciting opportunity to join the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as Personal Secretary to the Director of Resources and People.

The FSA is a non-ministerial department of over 1400 people, with a big vision – to drive change in the food system so that it delivers “food we can trust”.  Our primary goal is to continue to protect public health and consumers’ wider interest in food. As we have now exited the EU the FSA faces a significant period of change and activity.

Our ability to succeed at this time comes down to the effectiveness of our organisation: how smoothly and efficiently it runs. We are always seeking to improve, and the administrative movements of the FSA have continuously proven to be a vital part of ensuring we remain a successful and productive organisation.

Personal Secretaries play a big role in the FSA - enabling Directors and Senior Civil Servants to do their best work by ensuring the smooth running of their office and supporting them in a multitude of ways.

Job description

The role of Personal Secretary is a rich and varied one. Though it can be demanding and involve tight deadlines the work is always interesting, challenging and engaging. Personal Secretaries sit at the centre of the FSA and are often actively involved with work that touches every corner of the organisation.

Communication is key - you will need to develop good working relationships with members of the executive and non-executive teams within the FSA, as well as with the other Personal Secretaries and Personal Assistants.

 This is a role that will allow you to use your good judgement and strong analytical skills, as well as exceptional organisational skills. Alongside managing your Director’s diary, arranging meetings, recommending cost effective travel and accommodation arrangements and liaising with colleagues and external stakeholders alike, you will draft responses, minute take and arrange and agree agendas, amongst other tasks. No two days as a Personal Secretary are the same, and this role is well-suited for anyone who is keen to put their skills to a varied and challenging role that will make a positive impact upon the work of a government department.

You will be a diligent and self-motivated worker who can keep an eye on the big picture even as you juggle a number of tasks and competing priorities. You’ll need to be confident in your ability to make effective decisions, and able to communicate effectively to ensure the colleague you are supporting is able to make the most of their time. If you believe you are a good fit for this role and are excited by the challenge presented by such a high-profile and dynamic position, we would love to receive your application.


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


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

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Communicating and Influencing
Our candidate pack details the benefits that the FSA has to offer. Please also refer to the attached Terms and Conditions statement.


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.

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

This will consist of shortlisting against the essential person specification criteria stated.

If successful at shortlisting stage, you will be invited to the interview stage consisting of an Experience and Behaviours-based interview.

 An initial shortlisting sift will take place on the identified lead criteria (1) indicated below.

· Experience of supporting Senior Stakeholders in an Executive Assistant or Personal Secretary role (or similar). (lead criteria 1)

In the event we receive a large number of applications, the minimum pass mark for lead criteria (1) 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 lead criteria (1) sift, your application will then be assessed against essential lead criteria (2) below.

Excellent communication skills and confidence when dealing with internal and external stakeholders at all levels of seniority - able to stand firm on what is urgent vs. important. (lead criteria 2)

If successfully assessed against the above two lead criteria your application will then be assessed against the Experience criteria below.

·         Experience of Diary Management.

·         Proven experience of communicating to a high standard both verbally and in writing, including responses on behalf of senior staff.

·         A high level of planning and organisational skills, including the ability to prioritise effectively and work to tight deadlines.

.        Proficient in the use of Microsoft 365 including Word, Excel, PowerPoint (or equivalent packages).

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

If applying on a job-share basis, the expectation would be that you are already in an established job-share partnership. 

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.

Our candidate pack details the benefits that the FSA has to offer. Please also refer to the attached terms and conditions statement.

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

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

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.
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 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 : Warren Oakes
  • Email :

Recruitment team :

  • Email :

Further information

If you wish to raise a complaint then please email in the first instance.

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