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Job summary

Main area
Civil Service: Grade 7
  • Full time
  • Part time
  • Job share
  • Flexible working
  • Home or remote working
  • Compressed hours
  • Annualised hours
37.5 hours per week
Job ref
UK Health Security Agency
Employer type
Public (Non NHS)
Wellington House
£48,859 - £62,286 per annum, pro rata
Salary period
03/02/2022 23:59

Employer heading

UK Health Security Agency logo

COVID-19 Vacancy Public Health Scientist

Civil Service: Grade 7

COVID-19 has reinforced the impact that threats to health can have on society and the economy and driven health security as a critical component of our national security architecture. The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is a system leader for health security; taking action internationally to strengthen global health security, providing trusted advice to government and the public and reducing inequalities in the way different communities experience and are impacted by infectious disease, environmental hazards, and other threats to health.

UKHSA’s remit, as an agency with a global-to-local reach, is to protect the health of the nation from infectious diseases and other external threats to health. As the nation’s expert national health security agency UKHSA will:

  • Prevent: anticipate threats to health and help build the nation’s readiness, defences and health security
  • Detect: use cutting edge environmental and biological surveillance to proactively detect and monitor infectious diseases and threats to health
  • Analyse: use world-class science and data analytics to assess and continually monitor threats to health, identifying how best to control and mitigate the risks
  • Respond: take rapid, collaborative and effective actions nationally and locally to mitigate threats to health when they materialise
  • Lead: lead strong and sustainable global, national, regional and local partnerships designed to save lives, protect the nation from public health threats, and reduce inequalities

UKHSA’s immediate and most important priority is to continue the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the longer term, UKHSA will build on the legacy of the COVID-19 response to ensure resilient and scalable infrastructure to secure the UK in the strongest position to protect the public from future threats to health.

UKHSA mission is challenging, innovative and in the spotlight. To achieve our objectives effectively and fairly, we commit to representing modern Britain and all its diversity. UKHSA recognises that diversity of background and life experience brings different insights, creates challenge and encourages change and innovation. This in turn produces more accountable and trusted public services and better decisions; better because they are more attuned to the needs and interests of all our communities. Differences of thought and outlook are not only respected but expected. We want all our employees to feel that they can be themselves at work and that they are valued.

Job overview

The PHE COVID-19 Advice and Guidance Team welcomes applications for 2 Public Health Scientists to join their busy team on a permanent basis. This is an exciting opportunity to play a key role in the national COVID-19 response, with the aim of moving into a wider guidance development team in the UKHSA.

Working closely with knowledge and evidence specialists, behavioural scientists, modellers, virologists, epidemiologists and across the UKHSA COVID-19 response, the team develops and publishes evidence-based guidance for the public and for a range of stakeholders.

The multidisciplinary team of scientists and Consultants in Public Health manages core UKHSA COVID-19 guidance and ensures that it is up to date and reflects emerging evidence and changes in policy We work closely with Other Government Departments and NHSE.

This is a busy and challenging role with frequent tight deadlines. If you have a good understanding of evidence and public health science and how to distil complex information into actionable guidance, then this may be the role for you.


Main duties of the job

The ideal candidate will enjoy working in a fast-paced, multidisciplinary environment with strong links to policy makers. They will have good public health, health protection and scientific knowledge with an ability to find and distil information into clear language depending on the audience. They will lead on developing and updating evidence-informed COVID-19 guidance for a range of audiences including the general public and the health and adult social care system.

Postholders will work in a team providing evidence-informed public health advice to internal and external stakeholders including UKHSA, DHSC and NHSE/I, Other Government Departments and the NHS.

Working for our organisation

The way we behave as UK HSA members of staff will have the greatest impact in achieving our ambitions as an organisation. What we say matters but what we do matters more.


Our effectiveness depends on how we behave so we have developed the UK HSA People Charter which outlines the values and behaviours expected.

Our behaviours that underpin our values are to COMMUNICATE openly, honestly and clearly, ACHIEVE TOGETHER, working towards UK HSA’s objectives, RESPECT each other and treat colleagues and customers how we would wish to be treated and EXCEL by providing an excellent service, leading by example and driving personal development.

Detailed job description and main responsibilities

Working with a team of Consultants and Scientists in UK HSA’s Public Health Advice, Guidance and Expertise function that reports directly to the Senior Medical Advisor and Head of Advice and Guidance, UKHSA. The postholder will support the COVID-19 response through the provision of public health advice and guidance. This will include taking a role on specific cross-cutting areas to ensure a timely, consistent and evidence-informed response.

The postholder will:

  • Provide evidence-informed public health advice to both internal and external stakeholders including DHSC and NHSE/I, Other Government Departments, the NHS, and other professional public health organisations and networks on public health aspects of COVID-19
  • Support the development of COVID-19 guidance for a range of audiences including the general public, the health and adult social care system, and high-risk settings
  • Work closely with knowledge and evidence specialists to update COVID-19 guidance in line with emerging evidence and policy
  • Work across the UK HSA response and with Cabinet Office to improve the quality and consistency of guidance

The postholder will report to a Public Health Consultant and will be expected to work closely with the Senior Programme Leads and others in the team. The postholder will be an experienced public health or health protection scientist. 

Please see attached job description for full details of the post.

Open to all external applicants (anyone) from outside the Civil Service (including by definition internal applicants).

Person specification

Education / Qualifications

Essential criteria
  • Educated to degree level or equivalent experience in a similar area of work
  • Masters in Public Health or equivalent

Knowledge and Experience

Essential criteria
  • High level of understanding of public health practice
  • Experience of working with key stakeholders to influence public health outcomes
  • Experience of working on own initiative and as part of a team
Desirable criteria
  • Experience of guidance development
  • Experience of the control of communicable disease outbreaks

Skills and Capabilities

Essential criteria
  • Clear communicator with excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Resilient and able to cope with multiple competing demands and tight deadlines
  • Strong planning and organisational skills and ability to work at pace
  • Significant public health and scientific knowledge and ability to understand and communicate complex technical issues
  • Politically astute and understand implications for advice and guidance, taking action where necessary or appropriate
  • Ability to assimilate and distil information to support consensus development
  • Ability to prioritise and flex own workload to respond to urgent demands

Equality and Diversity

Essential criteria
  • An understanding of and commitment to equality of opportunity and good working relationships
Happy to Talk Flexible WorkingPurple SpaceApprenticeships logoNo smoking policyMindful employer.  Being positive about mental health.Improving working livesAge positiveDisability confident employerThe Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei) is the UK's leading employer network covering all aspects of equality and inclusion issues in the workplace.

Documents to download

Apply online now

Further details / informal visits contact

Renu Bindra
Job title
Senior Medical Adviser
Email address
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