Category Officers


Bristol, Leeds, London, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Peterborough, York



Defra Group Commercial (DgC) is part of Defra, the central Government Department responsible for growing the rural economy; improving the environment; and safeguarding animal and plant health. DgC is responsible for providing a procurement and commercial service to organisations within the Defra Network such Animal Plant & Health Agency, Rural Payments Agency, Natural England and the Environment Agency.

This is an exciting time to join Defra group Commercial (DgC). The Commercial team is transforming, as they play an important role in enabling Defra group’s vision of ‘creating a great place for living’. DEFRA is also one of the lead Departments in delivering a successful exit from the EU.

Defra is currently recruiting Category Officers across multiple categories. In these roles you will play a pivotal role in leading and delivering commercial excellence. You will be joining some of the best individuals within Commercial as they strive to deliver commercial excellence.

In these roles you will play an active part to ensure that DEFRA is a best in class department; you will be collaborating closely with major suppliers and senior stakeholders to challenge traditional ways of thinking and proactively engaging with suppliers to ensure that DEFRA is at the forefront of innovation and ways of working.

This campaign is being run as a rolling campaign. All vacancies are launched upon commencement of this campaign. Defra will be conducting sift and interviews in waves. Any vacancies remain unfilled after the first wave, will roll over into the next wave of the campaign for fulfilment. We will also look to use waves 2 and 3 to fill merit lists for future opportunities. The first wave of this campaign will close 17th July, with interviews commencing w/c 10th August. The second wave of this campaign will close 21st August, with interviews commencing w/c 7th September. The third and final wave of this campaign will close 18th September, with interviews commencing w/c 5th October. These dates are indicative only and subject to change.

Please be aware that at this time interviews may take place either over the phone or by video conference.

We will aim to give you a minimum of 5 days notice before inviting any candidate for interview but please be aware that this may not be possible and interviews may have to be changed at short notice.

Job description

The work that you will be doing
As a HEO Category Officer you will report to a Senior Category Officer (SEO) and will undertake activities at the agreed HEO level. This job description is generic and may apply to all Category Officer posts. You might be asked to work (at an agreed level) across a number of different commercial areas within DGC.

You will
• Deliver and support in the delivery of projects, procurements and contract / supplier management across the full commercial life cycle providing functional / specialist input to improve ways of working and business change and efficiency.
• Be responsible for explaining specialist commercial guidance to operational teams in order to influence compliance with Defra policy / legislation / best practice ways of working and contribute to the delivery of business plans.
• Keep up to date on changing legislation / best practice externally, to inform internal priorities and appropriate alignment.
• Contribute to the development of Defra policy / process at national / local level and monitor and advise on effective implementation in the business, in line with environmental targets.
• Build and sustain effective relationships with operational customers to understand issues and provide effective response / steer for operational needs.
• Train and help others on policies, procedures, practices and techniques equipping them with the knowledge and skills to deliver their work in an effective and efficient manner.
• Support team members to deliver results on time, to required quality standards and cost to fulfil the business plan and achieve / support environmental goals.
• Support the delivery of contracts such that sustainable impacts and opportunities are identified and managed throughout the commercial lifecycle.
• Manage your own resources to meet business needs, including electronic sourcing and contract management applications, to maximise the efficient and effective use of finances and people in order to ensure that all activities are completed to time, cost and quality targets.
• Support the development of Defra sub-category and category plans and develop your own market category knowledge and expertise.


You will be accountable for:
• The provision of day to day advice on commercial issues and governance, taking full account of risk, exploiting commercial opportunities and maximising value of money and savings
• The provision of support and the delivery of medium risk procurements utlilising the following core commercial processes:
• The preparation of initial sourcing strategies and contributing towards business plans;
• Supporting and helping to deliver market engagement exercises;
• Preparing pre-tender and tender documents in conjunction with customers ;
• Running tenders in accordance with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, including all requests for information documentation and the management of evaluations;
• Preparing recommendations for tender outcome;
• Preparing contract management documentation in conjunction with stakeholders.
• The use of leading practice commercial tools to develop and implement commercial strategies.
• Supporting the management of more complex contracts including:
• The acceptance/signing of the contract including the resolution of assumptions before signing;
• Leading the engagement/initial transition plan, including the development of exit/service transfer arrangements;
• Engaging and training any customer stakeholders in the contract content, risk assumptions and KPI;
• Preparing initial documentation such as risk register, report requirements, innovation report, and advice to supplier on invoice submission etc.;
• Supporting contract meetings and escalate supplier and commercial issues;
• Supporting negotiations for contract change, and implementing these in accordance with change governance procedures.
• Supporting the management and development of key supplier relationships to deliver exceptional performance in cost service and quality.
• Supporting the establishment and maintenance of excellent relationships within customer organisation and wider government with key stakeholders, raising the profile of commercial activity within customer organisations.
• Participating in the production of National/European Commercial standards and guidance to inform the business and improve commercial implementation, promoting commercial principles and applying policy where appropriate.
• Representing the Commercial team at meetings with internal stakeholders and deputising for the Senior Category Officer as required.
• Supporting colleagues, training them as appropriate to help support them with the knowledge and skills to deliver their work in an effective and efficient manner.
• The appropriate use of commercial and contract management IT systems and applications.
• Your own continuous professional development by keeping up to date on legislation, best practice and developing industry knowledge and commercial understanding within a commercial category, and using this knowledge to support development of the Category and Sub category plans.
Financial Scheme of Delegation

All Category Officers have a delegated authority at all stages of the commercial process to:

• Sign off of commercial strategies and contract award reports up to £100k.
• Make commercial commitments up to £100k per commercial project

Apply today!