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The UK's Brexit department is hiring four advisers - two for the backstop and two for 'alternative arrangements'

“We are looking for two proactive problem-solvers…” the ad reads.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

THE UK’S BREXIT Department is hiring four senior policy advisers to tackle the issue of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland – two to look into the backstop as contained in the Withdrawal Agreement, and two to look at “alternative arrangements”.

Three years after the UK voted to leave the EU, after two years of tough EU-UK negotiations ending in the Brexit deal being a thrice rejected by the House of Commons, and in the middle of a deferral of Brexit until the 31 October at least, the advertisement says: “you will need to be comfortable dealing with the complexity and ambiguity of our exceptional circumstances.”

“This changing landscape presents exciting opportunities and challenges that we need to respond to with agility,” the blurb on the civil service job site states.

The Department for Exiting the European Union (or DExEU) is offering those successful in applying for the role a salary of between £49,207 and £70,302 on a two-year contract, and involves a 37-hour work week.

The advertisement for the two Senior Policy Adviser roles for Northern Ireland Protocol, aka the Irish backstop, states that they “are looking for two proactive problem-solvers who are able to balance a range of competing demands”.

These two roles will focus on ensuring that the UK is well prepared for crucial discussions about the arrangements described in the Protocol on Northern Ireland. This is a technically complex and politically sensitive area, that will require bringing together the work of a wide range of Departments, working especially closely with BEIS, Defra and HMT/HMRC, as well as other parts of DExEU and Cabinet Office Europe Unit. A close working relationship with territorial offices and devolved administrations will also be important.

For the two other roles on offer, that of Senior Policy Advisers for Alternative Arrangements, it says the posts “will play a crucial role in developing and delivering the UK’s policy on alternative arrangements to the Northern Ireland backstop”.

Interestingly, it says:

Alternative arrangements are likely to form a key plank of the UK’s future negotiations with the EU in all scenarios. 
Work is currently focused on taking forward the planned Minister-Chaired external Working Groups as well as developing the broader HMG picture ahead of discussions with the European Commission.”

“We are looking for two Senior Policy Advisers who will lead the work of the team coordinating these groups, working closely with departments and delivering to tight deadlines.

“The work stream is exceptionally high profile, and you will engage closely with Ministers, senior officials and a significant range of wider stakeholders. This will be a fast-paced, challenging and extremely rewarding role, with strong involvement in domestic ministerial discussions and likely involvement in UK-EU discussions.”

Those interested in the roles are told that they will be assessed against the following behaviours during the selection process: “Seeing the Big Picture; Communicating and Influencing; Working Together; and Delivering at Pace.”

If interested, you can apply for the role by submitting the relevant documentation to mabrecruitment@dexeu.gov.uk. The deadline is next Thursday, 18 July before midnight.

The start date, as stated by the website, is “AS SOON AS POSSIBLE (sic)”.

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