The OEP is a new public body, established with the principal objective of contributing to environmental protection and improving the natural environment. It will support Parliament in holding government to account on its environmental commitments and environmental law.
We do this by:
We also receive complaints from the public about suspect failures to comply with environmental law.
The OEP was legally created in November 2021, under the Environment Act 2021. We expect to be fully established early in 2022 after Parliament takes the steps needed for our functions and powers to be made available to us.
Our work covers England. In the coming months, the Northern Ireland Assembly may also decide that our work will cover Northern Ireland.
The natural environment is important for everyone and we aim for our teams to reflect the diversity of our society. Your personal qualities will be as important as your professional experience and applications are welcomed from all backgrounds.
The OEP is a non-departmental public body sponsored by Defra. This means it will operate independently from Defra and will not be part of the UK Civil Service.
The OEP is the cornerstone of our environmental governance system now we have left the EU. It has will have a unique role in tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time, from air pollution to biodiversity loss. The Insights Team holds a critical role leading the assessment of progress reported by the Government on delivering the 25 Year Environment Plan and supporting the OEP’s enforcement and legal functions. This is an unrivalled opportunity to join the OEP as it is established and help build its Insights function from the ground up, influencing how the OEP will operate in its crucial early years of existence.
Within the Insights Directorate, Data Science has the aim of a “Centre of Excellence” within the OEP. Data Science has a critical cross cutting function servicing in particular the Natural Science and Environment and Climate Analysis teams, by developing cutting edge solutions for integrating a wide range of environmental datasets, forecasting environmental trends, automating analytical processes and quality assurance of the outputs. All of this will be fundamental to the quality and depth of analysis delivered by the directorate in assessing progress made in improving the natural environment in accordance with the government’s Environmental Improvement Plan (currently the 25 Year Environment Plan) and targets. This is a high-profile work area. The OEP’s report is a key mechanism which will hold government to account on its environmental commitments and therefore will attract intense scrutiny and may be disputed by both government and stakeholders.
The Principle Data Scientist/Analyst will be accountable to the head of the Insights Directorate, the senior leadership team and Board of the OEP for the technical infrastructure underpinning the analysis in the OEP’s statutory monitoring report responding to the government’s annual report on the 25 Year Environment Plan and targets. The role will be instrumental in our quality assurance of data and analysis across the directorate, supporting the OEP’s strategic position on providing an integrated/environmental system level assessment of the environment. The flagship 25 Year Environment Plan sets out a blueprint to fulfil its commitment for this to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than that in which we inherited. It includes targets in four priority areas – air quality, water, biodiversity, and resource efficiency and waste reduction – plus specific targets on particulate matter in air and species abundance.
The role holder will provide leadership to the data science & model development requirements of the wider team, keeping abreast of current developments in data science, environmental policy, law, technology and relevant social and economic factors, both in the UK and around the world. We are looking for numerate individuals, from a range of backgrounds, who have the enthusiasm and flexibility to help us grow and develop this exciting new organisation. You may have a traditional data science background applied to the natural environment or your may have a natural environment background, and have grown significant competence in data science through your career. If this sounds like you, or something you would be interested in, we would love you to get in touch.
The OEP will be working on a wide variety of issues at any given time and we are looking for people who will be able to work flexibly across multiple work areas, when needed. For example, in addition to your standard duties you may called to support a specific high-profile investigation or piece of thematic analysis and be comfortable working in an environment where priorities and objectives may shift.
The OEP will be based at a Worcester location. Worcester is a thriving county town with three mainline stations providing good links to London, Bristol, and Birmingham.
Staff will initially be contractually based at the Defra office at Worcestershire County Hall, and then at a new Worcester OEP office location, details of which will be shared with the successful candidates. In line with prevailing Government advice staff may be home-based until Covid-19 restrictions are eased, at which point staff will be expected to be based at and regularly attend the Worcester office, although non-contractual home working arrangements for part of the working week may be possible (subject to business agreement and need).
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