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Senior Policy Adviser, Northern Ireland - Brexit Negotiations

(Fixed term contract until April 2019)

Role Summary:

Based at the CBI’s office in Belfast, the Senior Policy Adviser will sit within the Northern Ireland team which is responsible for membership relations and devolved policymaking in Northern Ireland.

The UK’s departure from the EU and our future trading relationship with it is a major issue for all businesses, and there are additional specific challenges for Northern Ireland given the physical land border.

The Senior Policy Adviser will be responsible for leading on the Northern Ireland specific aspects of Brexit, liaising closely with the CBI’s broader EU negotiations team to influence the direction of the negotiations on behalf of the CBI’s members.

Reporting into the Director for Norther Ireland, the Senior Policy Adviser will play a key role, consulting with CBI members to develop policy positions that represent the Northern Ireland business view on Brexit, and co-ordinating across Brexit-related policy activities led by other CBI teams to help create a unified vision that influences the negotiations. The Senior Policy Adviser will work to influence policymakers in Northern Ireland, the UK more widely and the EU27. The role involves representing the CBI in a number of situations, including with senior business and political leaders.

It is a unique position with a view over the breadth of the CBI’s policy work. The individual would join the team at an exciting time, with potential to shape the role itself, as well as the organisation’s plans in a fast moving environment.

Key Responsibilities:

Policy Development

  • Working closely with member businesses of all sizes to develop cross-cutting, whole-economy policy positions on Northern Ireland’s and the UK’s evolving relationship with the EU.
  • Drafting of papers, reports, briefings and CBI responses to political and policy developments on the Northern Ireland aspects of Brexit.
  • Regularly providing support to the Director and other CBI colleagues, to ensure the CBI’s position on the Brexit in a Northern Ireland context is unified, aligned and factored into broader UK policymaking and takes account of the political sensitivities involved.

Project Working

  • Participating in and leading collaborative project work across the broader policy teams to continue developing a unified CBI position on the UK’s relationship with the EU.
  • Managing internal and external stakeholders to deliver these policy projects successfully, and ensuring proactive sharing of information to achieve that.

Interactions with members 

  • Consulting with CBI members for their views, both individually for in depth policy discussions, and in larger groups with broader discussion at roundtable events and committee meetings.
  • Carrying out surveys to obtain member mandate for CBI policy positions
  • Working with colleagues in Northern Ireland office to build and maintain relationships with CBI members interested in the Brexit negotiations to support recruitment and retention activities.
  • Sharing policy and political insights and analysis with members, both individually at member meetings and at briefing events with larger audiences.

Communication & Lobbying

  • Influencing policy decisions by lobbying officials, regulators and politicians in Northern Ireland as well as broader UK and EU institutions, including through building and maintaining your own network of political and government contacts.
  • Representing the CBI at conferences, external meetings and potentially through the media.

Knowledge & Experience

What an individual must know or understand to be able to fulfil the role’s requirements

  • Knowledge of the policymaking process in Northern Ireland, the UK government and Brussels
  • Background in policy development and demonstrable interest in public policy
  • Understanding of the political sensitivities around the EU negotiations, in Northern Ireland, the UK and across the EU
  • Appreciation of the business community’s position on the EU negotiations
  • Familiarity with the workings of business and commercial pressures
  • Educated to degree standard or higher in economics, business, finance or international trade disciplines would be desirable
  • A minimum of 3 years relevant policy experience


The practical skills which need to be demonstrated in order to be able to fulfil the role’s requirements

  • Strong research and analytical skills – including quickly picking up new issues and concepts, crafting solutions and advising senior colleagues
  • Excellent oral and written communication – including the ability to communicate to a wide range of stakeholders and audiences
  • Influencing skills – including the ability to persuade policy makers of the benefits of working together with business to achieve joint aims
  • Good stakeholder management and interpersonal skills – including the ability to manage relationships with external stakeholders to maintain member satisfaction, and internal stakeholders to effectively co-ordinate the CBI’s wide range of Brexit work
  • Organisational skills - including overseeing complicated projects with multiple moving parts in a shifting external environment
  • High personal efficiency/productivity and flexibility, with the ability to work well in a team – including the ability to work in a fast-paced, pressured environment


The behaviours and characteristics required in order to be able to fulfil the role’s requirements

  • Collaborative – Friendly and open attitude, willing to listen, seek views and share information; constructively challenging when appropriate
  • Taking ownership – Ensuring delivery and holding others to account; can influence, irrespective of hierarchy; willing to go the extra mile when necessary
  • Agile – Proactive and responsive to provide a strong member service; responding positively to shifting priorities; Calm under pressure, patient resilient and flexible in the face of unforeseen events
  • Commercial – Awareness of the wider business environment, and the importance of member engagement
  • Innovative – Exploring, sharing and integrating best practice; generating new ideas and challenging a mind-set of “what we’ve always done”
  • Analytical – gathering information and using logic to analyse, problem solve, evaluate risk and make decisions

How to apply

For all applications please send your CV and cover letter to The deadline for applications is Friday 12th January.