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Head of Responsible Business and ESG Policy

  • 14/05/2024
  • £53,560.00 - £63,481.00 /yearly
  • Part Time & Permanent
Job expired!

Job Overview

Job Type

Part Time & Permanent


£53,560 - £63,481 yearly

Date Posted:


Expiration date:


Additional Detail

Job ID


Job Description

Job summary

Are you passionate about environment, social and corporate governance (ESG) policy issues like tackling climate change, promoting human rights and ending modern slavery? 

Do you want to make a meaningful difference working with multinational companies and civil society on how they can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals? 

Do you enjoy working with international partners to deliver HMGs priorities on globally significant issues?  

Then wed love to hear from you! 

The Responsible Business Conduct team has a one-of-a-kind role in leading policy development on a range of high-profile ESG and corporate sustainability issues. We adjudicate on business compliance with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) standards on Responsible Business Conduct, working closely with businesses, civil society, and other governments around the world. WE promote understanding of responsible business and support UK businesses in making improvements to their operations, products, and services to achieve outcomes across the ESG agenda. This includes tackling climate change, ending human rights abuses, and promoting labour rights.  

As part of this, the team runs the UKs internationally renowned National Contact Point (NCP), which promotes the Guidelines to a wide range of business, trade union and civil society stakeholders and handles complaints where enterprises are accused of breaching the Guidelines. Leading this process is challenging but highly rewarding, often resulting in real, positive change from businesses. This office sits within DBT but is operationally independent. The issues in scope can be high-profile and receive significant Parliamentary, media and stakeholder attention.   

More information is available online at:   

This is a stretching G7 role, likely suited for an experienced G7 seeking to round off their CV before a step-up or external move to the private sector, or an established ESG manager in the private sector looking to join the Civil Service. 

The role sits in a friendly, supportive team. Our Directorate has a fantastic corporate side, with a comprehensive L&D offer, and a strong commitment to wellbeing and Diversity & Inclusion, with regular training and events put on by the Directorate.  

Job description

The Head of Responsible Business and ESG Policy will: 

  • Lead HMGs thinking on the role of businesses in contributing to the full range of UN Sustainable Development Goals. 
  • Develop the evidence base for responsible business conduct, overseeing delivery of the offices research priorities on corporate sustainability issues. 
  • Provide advisory consultancy to FTSE100 companies and SMEs on delivering responsible and sustainable business outcomes. 
  • Own the offices corporate engagement, representing the office externally on our approach to ESG issues and effectively shaping the policy debate internationally at key events. 
  • Ensures that lessons from breaches of the OECD Guidelines inform policy development. 
  • Lead cross-Whitehall governance on responsible business, bringing departments together to foster collaboration on ESG issues.
  • Brief Ministers and senior leadership on key responsible business issues.
  • Support on resolving high-profile cases of suspected breaches of the OECD Guidelines

Occasional travel overseas will be required to attend OECD meetings in Paris and other stakeholder meetings on responsible business conduct.  

Person specification

Essential criteria 

  • A background working on one or more Environment, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) issues, such as human rights, employment rights, or climate change is essential.  
  • Strong leadership skills, both people management and thought leadership. An ability to bring together disparate functions across Government to develop coherent policy on corporate sustainability. 
  • Excellent influencing and interpersonal skills with the ability to build strong and relationships at a senior level. 
  • Strong analytical skills - able to identify a problem and consider various options, making a recommendation which considers the broader context of your work. 
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills. 
  • Good organisational and planning skills, with a track record of effectively balancing several competing priorities; 

Desirable criteria  

  • Experience of working in a corporate setting on ESG issues.  
  • A legal background or experience working closely with lawyers would be advantageous. 


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

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Delivering at Pace
Alongside your salary of £53,560, Department for Business and Trade contributes £14,461 towards you being a member of the Civil Service Defined Benefit Pension scheme. Find out what benefits a Civil Service Pension provides.
  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%

We recognise the challenges that people with (multiple) protected characteristics may experience on the job market and in their career progression. We are fully committed to being an inclusive employer and ensuring equal opportunities. We are keen to make our workforce as diverse as possible, and we hope to attract applications from underrepresented groups, including ethnic minorities, people with a disability, and people with gender diverse identities

Please refer to the attached candidate pack for further information on our benefits.

Selection process details

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

Interviews for this vacancy will be conducted virtually. We will, however, consider in-person interviews by exception.

Please ensure that you check your emails regularly as all updates from us will be sent to you this way.

After the closing date It is likely that the sift will take place 1-2 weeks after the closing date and interviews 3-5 weeks after the closing date though this is subject to change. 

To apply for this post, you will be asked to complete the following as part of the online application:    

  • A CV setting out your career history, with key responsibilities and achievements. Provide employment history that relates to the Essential criteria, and that any gaps in employment history within the last 2 years are explained. The CV should not exceed more than 2 x A4 pages. 
  • A Personal Statement of up to 500 words, explaining how you consider your personal skills, qualities and experience provide evidence of your suitability for the role in reference to the Essential criteria.   

In the event of a large number of applicants, an initial short sift will be conducted on the Personal Statement.  Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift or progressed straight to assessment/interview.  

Location and working arrangements 

This role is available in seven UK locations and can only be worked from within the UK, not overseas. Travel to your primary office location will not be paid for by DBT, but costs for travel to an office which is not your main location will be covered.

Reasonable Adjustments

We are committed to supporting candidates so they can perform at their best throughout the recruitment process. This includes making reasonable adjustments to our process. In order to request an adjustment: 

Complete the Assistance required section on the Additional requirements page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. 

Alternatively contact the Government Recruitment Service at [email protected] as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.  

If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the 'Contact point for applicants' section.

Candidate Support

You may want to join a virtual Candidate Support Session. These sessions include helpful tips and advice on the recruitment process, from application to interview.  

Please see attached Candidate Pack for further information on: Diversity and Inclusion; Benefits; Learning and Development; Working Patterns and what we deliver as a department. 

Further Information:

  • A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made. Reserve Lists will be for each location and appointments made in merit order based on location preferences.   
  • Any move to the Department for Business and Trade from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments.
  • The Department will not consider sponsoring a visa or issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship. We are unable to offer advice on any Visa and Immigration cases.  
  • New entrants are expected to join on the minimum of the pay band.  
  • 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. Any applicant who has 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.  
  • Terms and Conditions are attached.  Please take time to read the document to determine how these may affect you.
  • Please note the successful candidate will be expected to remain in post for a minimum of 18 months before being released for another role.

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service /Disclosure Scotland/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 [email protected] stating the job reference number in the subject heading. 

For further information on the Disclosure Scotland confidential checking service telephone: the Disclosure Scotland Helpline on 0870 609 6006 and ask to speak to the operations manager in confidence, or email [email protected] 

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 [email protected]


The requirement for SC clearance is to have been present in the UK for at least 3 of the last 5 years. Failure to meet the residency requirements will result in your security clearance application being rejected.     

For further information on National Security Vetting please visit the following page


Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.
Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is security check (opens in a new window).

See our vetting charter (opens in a new window).
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 the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities with settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window)
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities who have made a valid application for settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • individuals with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain who were eligible to apply for EUSS on or before 31 December 2020
  • Turkish nationals, and certain family members of Turkish nationals, who have accrued the right to work in the Civil Service
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.

Diversity and Inclusion

The Civil Service is committed to attract, retain and invest in talent wherever it is found. To learn more please see the Civil Service People Plan (opens in a new window) and the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (opens in a new window).
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 :

Recruitment team

Further information

Our recruitment process is underpinned by the principle of appointment on the basis of fair and open competition and appointment on merit, as outlined in the Civil Service Commissioners Recruitment Principles.
If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with these principles and you wish to make a complaint, you should in the first instance contact DBT by email: [email protected].
If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you can contact the Civil Service Commission, which regulates all Civil Service recruitment.
For further information on bringing a complaint to the Civil Service Commission please visit their web pages: Click here to visit Civil Service Commission/Complaints


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