Policy Officer
ESN - European Social Network - Brighton

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Introduction ESN is the European network of senior management in public social services, bringing together over 100 national, regional, and local organisations from in 34 European countries to promote the development of effective social policy and social care practice through the exchange of knowledge and expertise.

ESN has been supported by the European Commission under the PROGRESS programme (2007-2013). This agreement has just been renewed for 4 years (2014-17) under the EU Programme for Social Change and Innovation (PSCI).

As a unique network we contribute to European policy-making in social, health and education policy and support our members to improve the quality of social services. You can read more about ESN at www.esn-eu.org.

We are recruiting a Policy Officer to join the policy team at our secretariat in Brighton (UK). The right candidate will have enthusiasm, professional experience and be knowledgeable about European Union policy and institutions. S/he should have research skills, sensitivity to and willingness to learn about the social work sector. Knowledge of public services or wider social/health policy; for example, disability policy would be an advantage.

Our secretariat is a dynamic, international environment where a number of languages are spoken. Members of the team support each other in their work through open discussion and shared working. Besides working with colleagues in the secretariat, you would also meet regularly with senior professionals and managers of social services at seminars or working groups. You would represent ESN at European level and meet colleagues from other social and health care organisations and you will be sensitive to different cultural ways of working. There is a good deal of European travel involved in working for ESN.

If you think you combine sensitivity to social work values, the ability to research, identify and articulate policy messages and build relationships with ESN members and EU-level stakeholders, we look forward to hearing from you. Your initiative, ideas and growing expertise will be valued. We try to ensure that every member of staff has space to make the job their own.

Job description As an ESN policy officer, you would:
  • Work with ESN members (senior service managers and social work professionals) in working groups, workshops and seminars to facilitate policy, research and practice exchange; for instance, in the field of disability;
  • Provide intelligence to Members on aspects of EU policy and current social work and care policy and practice;
  • Work with the policy team to formulate and communicate key messages to EU policy-makers;
  • Build good working relationships with members and help grow the membership of ESN;
  • Develop good working relationships with external stakeholders (EU institutions, international organisations, EU-level associations, national governments, researchers);
  • Represent ESN at external meetings and conferences on policy areas in your portfolio;
  • Undertake training commensurate with the post’s responsibilities;
  • Support other members of the policy team in their work.
Person Specification We are looking for someone who has:
  • Knowledge of EU policy-making and institutions;
  • Knowledge of social and health policy; for example, disability policy;
  • Ability to learn quickly, notably about the social work and care sector, ESN members priorities and EU policy, practice and research agenda in the field of social policy;
  • Sensitivity to the values of social work and care;
  • University education in European policy or government, social policy or similar;
  • Excellent analytical skills to identify key messages from exchange and learning with members;
  • Strong research skills to collate and analyse data from across Europe in order to support and build ESN policy messages;
  • Ability to manage a varied workload of different tasks and projects within deadlines;
  • Imagination and ideas to contribute to the strategic development of ESN in terms of policy, practice and research priorities, new ways of working and membership growth;
  • Ability to build strong working relationships with ESN members and EU stakeholders and sensitive to cultural differences across Europe;
  • Strong interpersonal skills for team work and autonomy in driving forward own work;
  • Excellent written and oral English (ESN’s working language);
  • Fluency in at least one other European language.
ESN structure In the ESN secretariat, you would:
  • Report to the chief executive for your overall performance and formal employment matters;
  • Report to the policy director on most aspects of day-to-day project management and policy development;
  • Work with the policy team on strategic development and policy messages and membership growth;
  • Work with a communications officer on the design and dissemination of ESN news, policy messages and reports, plus EU policy updates, in print and online;
  • Work with the development and business manager on membership and partnership development;
  • Work with a projects officer on logistics and administration, including events, meetings and projects’ planning and implementation.
Salary and Conditions Pay would be on a scale starting at £25,000 - £28,000 (32,000€ - 35,000€) which equates to approximately €2,000 net per month. Salary on appointment would depend on experience and would rise in line with performance. There is a portable stakeholder pension scheme. Holiday allowance is 21 days on a pro-rata basis and would rise with experience. We support staff in their professional development and provide regular performance review with opportunities for further training in line with responsibilities.

This post involves significant European travel, requiring you to be flexible with evenings and weekends; there is a scheme whereby staff claim back a proportion of unsociable hours worked.

Brighton The ESN secretariat is based in central Brighton, a city with a large population of young professionals and a vibrant cultural and music scene. Its acclaimed arts festival is the biggest in England, an annual celebration of music, theatre, film, literature and debate now in its 50th year.

The University of Sussex has a strong European focus, attracting students from all over Europe and the world. The Sussex European Institute (SEI) was founded in 1992 and became a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in 1998, working closely with pre-eminent research centres in Europe and the wider world. Its many language schools also attract international students to come to the city in large numbers during the summer.

A number of international charities and companies are based in the city, which is well-connected, being just an hour from London (with the Eurostar to Brussels and Paris) and 30 minutes from Gatwick airport. Brighton is a good alternative to London with a slower pace of life, good restaurants and cafés and a strong and more affordable housing sector.

The job will be based at our office in Brighton so you must consider whether you are in a position to move here before applying. The secretariat has been based here since ESN was founded in 1998.

Find out more: www.visitbrighton.com and www.brightonfestival.com

Recruitment process You should submit a covering letter, CV and a policy commentary in a single PDF file not longer than 4 pages to recruitment@esn-eu.org . Please follow these guidelines:
  • In the covering letter, you should show how you meet the person specification and make clear why you wish to take up this role with ESN;
  • In the commentary, you should briefly set out the most relevant issues for public social services working with people with disabilities across Europe today.
The closing date for applications is Wednesday 16th July after which shortlisted applicants will be contacted by phone on the 17th July for an interview in Brighton, UK, on 22nd July . You may be required to undertake a specific task in preparation for the interview. There is a possibility of a second round of interviews afterwards. Travel and hotel expenses will be paid for shortlisted candidates if necessary.

If you would like to have an informal discussion on this position, please contact Alfonso Lara Montero, Policy Director at ESN, on + 44 1273 739 039.

Equal Opportunities Statement It is the policy of the European Social Network to treat all employees and job applicants fairly and equally regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion, age, disability or trade union membership status or any other protected characteristic provided for under the Equality Act 2010 (UK).

The European Social Network will ensure that no requirement or condition will be imposed without justification which could disadvantage individuals purely on any of the above grounds.

The policy applies to recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment including pay, promotion, training, transfer and every other aspect of employment. The European Social Network will regularly review its procedures and selection criteria to ensure that individuals are selected, promoted and otherwise treated according to their relevant individual abilities and merits.

The European Social Network is committed to the implementation of this policy and to a programme of action to ensure that the policy is, and continues to be, fully effective. The overall responsibility for the policy lies with Chief Executive. However, all staff are required to comply with the policy and to act in accordance with its objectives so as to remove any barriers to equal opportunity.

Any act of discrimination by employees or any failure to comply with the terms of the policy will result in disciplinary action.