Marine Ornithologist (Monitoring) 2021101

Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Apply before 11:55 pm on Wednesday 8th December 2021


Reference number





Higher Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area

JNCC - Marine Species

Type of role

Environment and Sustainability

Working pattern

Full-time, Job share

Number of posts



Aberdeen, Scotland, AB11 9QA : Peterborough, Eastern, PE1 1JY

About the job


Who are JNCC?

We’re the environment’s best kept secret. Established in 1991, we’re the UK’s statutory adviser on issues affecting the natural environment across the UK and internationally. Our primary role is advising all four Governments of the UK. With most of our work being within Government, our public profile is low but our impact is high.

Post background

The UK is host to internationally important seabird populations. Monitoring of and research on their distribution and abundance have been conducted by JNCC for over 30 years and the drivers of our work have broadened in line with increasing use of, pressures on, and concern for the marine environment.

UK breeding seabird monitoring is currently delivered by the Seabird Monitoring Programme (SMP -, and monitoring of seabirds at sea though the Volunteer Seabirds at Sea programme (VSAS -

Currently there are limited wide scale contemporary data to inform trends in relative abundance, spatial distribution, population structures, or behaviour of seabird at sea. To address this knowledge gap, JNCC launched VSAS in 2018, with a pilot study to test the feasibility of implementing a low cost, volunteer-based, seabirds at sea monitoring programme. The pilot was delivered in partnership with CalMac Ferries and formed part of their Marine Awareness Programme. It involved the development and delivery of volunteer training courses in European Seabirds at Sea (ESAS) survey methods; and a series of surveys from CalMac ferries. During the pilot, JNCC developed a data capture application, with in built validation, that was successfully used on tablets during surveys. These innovations allowed high quality data to be processed and uploaded to the UK seabirds at sea database within two days of their capture, reducing processing time and ensuring they were rapidly available to stakeholders.

The pilot was a success and additional training courses to build volunteer surveyor numbers and allow route expansion in Scotland will take place in F2021/22, with further expansion of the VSAS monitoring programme and survey network into all UK waters also planned.

JNCC is seeking a Marine Ornithologist to manage the VSAS programme and to contribute to other seabird monitoring and technical advice needs in the Marine Species Team.

Job description

Job Description: Post Duties

• Working with partner organisations, lead the expansion of the VSAS Programme.

• Coordinate VSAS survey effort and engage with, maintain, and increase the VSAS volunteer surveyor community.

• Publicise and deliver training in VSAS methods.

• Periodically review and, when necessary, facilitate updates to the VSAS data capture application.

• Maintain the VSAS database, ensuring all survey data are rapidly validated and uploaded.

• Prepare and publish VSAS survey reports online.

• Develop and produce seabirds at sea statistics to meet stakeholder needs.

• Contribute to other seabird monitoring work, including support for JNCC’s role in the Seabird Monitoring Programme and completion of the national census Seabirds Count.

• Provide ornithological advice in support of other work within the Marine Species Team, including on offshore industries.


Please demonstrate in your statement of suitability your reasons for applying. You will then be asked later in this application to provide a short statement against how you meet each of the technical and experience requirements


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

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Developing Self and Others
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Managing a Quality Service

Technical skills

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

  • A degree in a relevant subject.
  • Good understanding of seabird ecology, including drivers of population change, and the methods used for assessing their population size and distribution.
  • Seabird survey experience, ideally using ESAS methods, and good seabird identification skills.
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to explain complex information, both verbally and written, to non-technical audiences, ideally with experience of delivering training courses.
  • Ability to analyse, interpret and manage scientific information, including experience of applying statistical methods.
  • Project management experience
  • Experience of database management, ideally using Access and/or SQL to process, validate, input, query and manipulate data.
  • Experience in using Geographic Information System software and competence in the use of web-based information technology.


Equality and diversity

JNCC is committed to creating an environment where everyone feels valued and respected and see this as a good place to work. JNCC has a responsibility to ensure that we have an inclusive culture where discrimination, harassment, bullying and prejudice will not be tolerated. Our selection process is determined on fair and open competition and regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership.

Continuous professional development (CPD)

Employees are encouraged to keep developing skills and professional knowledge.
JNCC has made available, and encourages employees to use, on average, five working days per annum for CPD activities with access to related funding

Leave entitlement

JNCC annual leave allowance is 25 days per annum. After five years’ service, leave entitlement increases to 30 days per annum.
In addition to annual leave, JNCC offers 12 public and privilege days per annum, three of which are explicitly reserved for office closure between Christmas and New Year.

Work/life balance

JNCC supports flexible working hours and practices to help employees strike a good balance between work life and personal life.

Our policies are family-friendly and include flexi-time, flexible working patterns, compressed hours and dispersed working. JNCC also offers paid maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave, over and above the minimum statutory entitlements. Some work/life balance benefits are available following a minimum length of service.

Any move 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

Civil Service Pension

Employees will have the opportunity to join Civil Service pension arrangements, which include a valuable range of benefits. JNCC makes a significant contribution to the cost of employee pensions.

Employee Assistance Programme

JNCC provides employees with a free and confidential support service which gives unlimited access to information, advice and emotional support to help employees prepare for and manage all of life's ups and downs, events and challenges.

Trade Union

JNCC has entered into a partnership agreement with its recognised Trade Unions: Prospect and PCS, which employees are able to join and be involved with.

Salary sacrifice schemes

Employee Discount Scheme

Civil Service Sports Club

Things you need to know


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, Experience and Technical skills.
As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV and a statement of suitability. In your statement, refer to the responsibilities and experience section of this advert to show how you’re suitable for the role. Make your statement no longer than 1250 words.

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.

Apply and further information

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 Team
Email :
Recruitment team :
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Further information

Selection for appointment to the Civil Service is on merit, on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles. In accordance with the Civil Service Commissioners’ Recruitment Principles, our recruitment and selection processes are underpinned by the requirement of appointment on the basis of merit by fair and open competition. If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, you should contact in the first instance.

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