Head of the Incidents and Resilience Unit

Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham, London or York),
06 May 2021
27 May 2021
Full Time
Contract Type


Multi-location from one of our FSA Offices (Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham, London or York), or home based in the UK. Frequent travel will be required nationally and abroad with the potential of overnight stays. Please be aware that this role can only be worked within the UK and not overseas.

About the job Summary

The FSA is a non-ministerial department of over 1300 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.

Working tirelessly to protect the public from both actual and potential threats, the Incidents and Resilience Unit (IRU) provides a key function within the Agency. There are many ways that food can become compromised or a risk to public health. Contaminants and foodborne illnesses can impact large numbers of the population if left unchecked, and fears over the last year about COVID-19 outbreaks in food manufacturing plants have highlighted how significant these issues can become.

Job description

The Head of Incidents and Resilience Unit is responsible for leading the FSA’s efforts to provide effective incident response and outbreak investigation. This is a multi-faceted role that requires not only the ability to react quickly to incidents and potential threats to the food system, but also to identify potential for positive change, and enact developments that will enable the Agency to better serve its purpose in the future.

In a post-EU exit environment, it will be vital that the IRU can build on the fantastic work the team has done. We must deliver transformational change that will shape the unit’s work for years to come. The successful candidate will, in this role, have the opportunity to build an IRU that is ready to face the evolving challenges it will face in the ever-changing food industry, as well as potential threats to our food systems by ideologically-motivated groups. Acting as the National Emergency Contact Point for the WHO/FAO Infosan network you will also work to ensure the FSA plays a significant role on the global regulatory circuit.

This will entail close work not only with the IRU itself, but also with colleagues from across the FSA, other government departments and the wider food industry both at home and overseas. Leading by example, you will collaborate closely with key stakeholders, helping to maintain and build the domestic and international reputation of the FSA and its work.

Effective change at the FSA is about creating a more diverse and inclusive working environment, too. The Head of Incidents and Resilience has a role to play in the ongoing development and support of this process: valuing, developing and motivating people; building and sustaining teams remotely and challenging those behaviours that negatively affect inclusion.

This is a fast-paced environment where the ability to command respect and make effective and informed decisions can be critical to success. The choices that the successful candidate will make will not always be easy, but will need to be made decisively, drawing as much as possible upon the information available to them and, where this is insufficient, from personal experience. The good of the public should always be the guiding light, and candidates will lead their colleagues in this approach. If you are excited to take on this challenge, to lead a diverse and multidisciplinary team of talented and dedicated individuals, and to play a significant role in the protection of the public health, do not hesitate to apply.


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
  • Working Together
  • Delivering at Pace


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

Things you need to know Security

Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is developed vetting.

See our vetting charter.

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 and desirable person specification criteria stated. If successful at shortlisting stage, you will be invited to the final selection stage consisting of a behaviours based interview and seen presentation

In the event of receiving a large number of applications an initial sift may take place on just the identified lead criterion indicated below:
• Experience of leading complex incidents or incidents-related activities working collaboratively with other organisations and agencies i.e., Government Departments, local authorities and other stakeholders in challenging circumstances

Security Clearance
Appointment will be subject to the candidate having, or being able to achieve, National Security Vetting at Developed Vetting (DV) level. For full details on the requirement and processes for National Security Vetting, select this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/security-vetting-and-clearance

Please note that candidates need to be resident in the UK for a minimum of 5 years to be eligible to apply for DV Clearance.

We particularly welcome applications from black and minority ethnic candidates as they are under-represented within our organisation at this level. All appointments are made on merit.

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.

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

Sift: from 28th May 2021
Staff Engagement Exercise: 14 June 2021
Interview: week commencing 28 June 2021 – to be conducted remotely via Microsoft Teams

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 (or eligible for) status under 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.

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