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Overview of the role

Shaping and/or influencing government policy

Reference Number: ST0526

Details of standard

 

The primary role of a policy officer is to shape and/or influence government policy, by working with a wide range of stakeholders and experts to gather evidence, effectively synthesise information and present recommendations to senior colleagues. Not only will policy officers work within central and local government, but also within private and third sector organisations that interact with and strive to influence government policy.  Policy officers will typically work as part of a wider team and report to a senior policy officer.

The responsibilities of a policy officer encompass the development, implementation and evaluation phases of policymaking, and are likely to include: researching and understanding the political environment in order to support the continuous, uninterrupted development of a policy; gathering evidence and being objective to support the influencing and negotiating of new policies; handling sensitive information and keeping accurate records of policy history; assisting the wider team by providing administrative support during the introduction of new legislation; commissioning input from and preparing and drafting submissions for senior officials; and replying to public and formal correspondence within any deadlines given.

Entry Requirements

Individual employers will decide the entry requirement for this apprenticeship, but typically this will be:

  • 5 x GCSEs including English Language and Maths (or level 2 equivalent) at grade C and above (or the new grade 4 and above)
  • Level 3 qualification(s), including at least one of the below:
    • 2 x A-levels at grade D and above; or
    • BTEC Extended Diploma at grade PPP and above; or
    • Level 3 apprenticeship; or
    • Equivalent level 3 qualifications of at least 48 UCAS points.

Knowledge – Policy Officers demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

Policy Area

History of the policy area; policy aims, challenges and issues; how to engage relevant organisations; political context; relevant policy tests; legal implications; international aspects as applicable; consideration of sustainable development duties

Organisation

Organisational structure; strategy; purpose; activities; aims; values; visions; structures; how to support and achieve these through own role

Political Environment

Government and Parliament - history, structure, relationship and responsibilities; electoral systems and processes; the British constitution and legislative processes; parliamentary committees; local government; public sector bodies; groups and movements influencing policy

Contextual Factors

Economic; social; technological; legal and environmental factors and the subsequent impact of these on policy; internal and external barriers that exist and how to overcome them

Programme and Project Management

Basic concepts, language and principles; importance of effective project management including delivering to plan, on time and in budget; advantages and disadvantages of different planning methods; importance of identifying risks and issues upfront; importance of continuously reviewing and updating plans

Commercial Awareness

The steps involved in making commercial decisions; organisational procurement processes; the requirement to achieve value for money; how to achieve best value; engaging customers and suppliers; elements of risk; financial and reputational implications

Consultation Process

Purpose of consultation; the importance of taking into account stakeholder and public views; engagement with local communities; consultation planning; timescales and deadlines; sample size and quality; advantages and disadvantages of different consultation methods; legal requirements

Policy Delivery

Policy aims and intended outcomes; what successful implementation looks like; basic delivery systems available; the delivery environment including other organisations involved; user-centred design; reputational risks and public perception; how to measure success of the policy

Skills – Policy Officers display the following skills:

Evidence Gathering

Apply analytical techniques; make use of analytical support and key statistics related to policy area; work with experts outside of policy; apply the basics of economic appraisal; handle sensitive information securely

Evidence-based problem solving

Define the policy problem; demonstrate hypothesis-based thinking; seek advice from relevant experts; make decisions based on sound reasoning and evidence previously gathered; know when to escalate issues

Evaluation

Use research and trials to inform policy; consider evaluations of previous policies; read graphs and tables; understand simple descriptive statistics; consider advantages and disadvantages of evaluation methods including validity and reliability

Presentation Skills

Select and present information in a clear and effective manner; present information according to the audience; use correct grammar and punctuation; structure work in a logical order; write accurately, briefly and clearly; speak confidently and coherently; plan for and be able to answer questions

Communicating with Influence

Communicate confidently; be personable; ask insightful questions; recognise levels of authority; be able to influence others; be able to negotiate effectively and respectfully; confidently represent your organisation; recognise importance of objectivity and impartiality in policy-making

Time Management

Identify risks and issues; monitor progress of actions; demonstrate effective use of resources; manage conflicting priorities and pressures; work to agreed deadlines and timescales; dedicate time to specific activities

Behaviours – Policy Officers demonstrate the following behaviours:

Continuous Learning and Agility

Takes responsibility for self-development; reflects on lessons learned and feedback to improve performance; champions continuous improvement; seeks out opportunities to improve ways of working; looks to create effective change

Big Picture Thinking

Takes an active interest in understanding organisational priorities and strategy; looks beyond the immediate role; keeps abreast of wider issues which may impact on policy area; keeps a clear focus on the overall policy aim

 

Looking to the future

Is mindful of future trends and influences; considers potential risks and opportunities and adapts working style accordingly; anticipates how the future can support actions in the present; considers multiple possible outcomes

Working Collaboratively

Shows consideration for others; seeks to develop trusting and effective relationships; shares knowledge; encourages collaboration; is a team player; promotes diversity; listens to others; appreciates different perspectives and respects alternative opinions

Resilience

Is proactive; has a ‘can do’ attitude; is open to receiving feedback from others; is tenacious and remains motivated under pressure; deals positively with setbacks

Self-Awareness

Reflects on own performance and feedback from others; is mindful of the impact of own actions on others; adapts style to suit circumstances; understands limitations of own knowledge and uses networks to inform own work

Duration

The apprenticeship will typically take 24 months to complete.

Qualifications

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the end-point assessment.

Level

This is a level 4 apprenticeship.

Review Date

This standard should be reviewed after three years.


Crown copyright © 2017. You may re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. Visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 4
Reference: ST0526
Version: 2
Date updated: 21/03/2018
Approved for delivery: 2 February 2018
Route: Business and administration
Typical duration: 24 months
Maximum funding: £6000
Trailblazer contact(s): sarah-jayne.allen@cslearning.gov.uk
Employers involved in creating the standard: Arts Council, BBC, Care Quality Commission, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Education, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Department of Health, Department for International Development, Department for Transport, Department for Work and Pensions, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Future Care Capital, Health and Safety Executive, HMRC, HM Treasury, Home Office, Local Government Authority, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, National Council for Voluntary Organisations, NHS England, Royal Town Planning Institute, Valuation Office Agency
EQA Provider: Ofqual

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Version log

Version Date updated Change Previous version
2 21/03/2018 Updated assessment plan: change to recommended entry requirements and changes to formatting

Not available

2 21/03/2018 Standard updated: change to recommended entry requirements

Not available

1 02/02/2018 Assessment plan first published - now approved for delivery Previous version
1 22/09/2017 Standard first published Previous version