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In-House Lawyer (Construction)

The Department for Education
Bristol (City Centre), Bristol
Closing date
18 Aug 2021
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We are looking for experienced construction lawyers to lead on complex and high value procurements, negotiating key issues with private sector bidders whilst protecting policy positions and ensuring value for money.

You will form part of a team of c.40 legal managers and commercial managers, the majority of whom are qualified solicitors, and will be required to work closely with colleagues on complex property and construction transactions.

Using your experience of working on large scale construction projects, you will provide the in-house legal and commercial input across a large portfolio of education construction projects. This will involve working with internal project teams and external technical and legal advisors to tender, negotiate and manage construction contracts, including claims management. The role would suit either a contentious or non-contentious construction lawyer as there is some flexibility to adapt the role to the skillset of the successful candidate.

Alongside this you will provide expert in-house construction legal advice and recommendations to DfE colleagues as required across all capital programmes, especially in respect of general property development issues, contract issues and due diligence.

Job description

  • You will have a flexible, collegiate and responsive approach and be willing to provide commercial advice, challenge using evidence, and develop creative solutions to the most demanding problems.
  • You will be able to cut through complex issues to find a commercial solution whilst working within an evolving legal and policy framework.
  • You will be able to manage a range of projects and stakeholders with competing priorities.

Your role will involve:

  • Leading the delivery of construction, legal and commercial input into individual projects.
  • Drafting, reviewing, negotiating and updating template and bespoke construction documents.
  • Acting as client and handling the services provided by our retained external legal advisers.
  • Negotiating key issues with private sector bidders and advisers and liaising with stakeholders such as local authorities, academy trusts and church bodies.
  • Advising on the initial stages of claims and disputes.

Responsibilities Key skills & experience

We are looking for candidates who can demonstrate the following essential criteria:

  • Solicitor qualified to practise in England and Wales
  • Construction lawyer with substantial post-qualification experience, including working with JCT Contracts.
  • Experience as lead lawyer on commercial construction transactions.
  • Experience of dealing with construction contract claims, disputes or other contentious matters. Note that this does not necessarily need to extend to significant adjudication/litigation experience.

In your application you should detail your experience of the following desirable criteria:
• Experience of educational construction work
Desirable criteria will only be used in the event of a tie in order to make an informed decision. Qualifications Qualified Solicitor in England and Wales Memberships Yes - Solicitors Regulation Authority Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

Legal (Construction)

Benefits Applicants currently holding a permanent post in the Civil Service should note that, if successful, their salary on appointment would be determined by the Department’s transfer / promotion policies.

As a member of the DfE, you will be entitled to join the highly competitive Civil Service Pension Scheme, which many experts agree is one of the most generous in the UK.

You will have 25 days' leave, increasing by 1 day every year to a maximum of 30 days after five years’ service. In addition, all staff receive the Queen’s Birthday privilege holiday and 8 days’ bank and public holidays.

We offer flexible working arrangements, such as job sharing, term-time working, flexi-time and compressed hours. As an organisation, which exists to support education and lifelong learning, we offer our staff excellent professional development opportunities.

Things you need to know

Security Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check. People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Strengths, Experience and Technical skills. Sift will be completed w/c 6 September. Interviews will be held w/c 20 September and (if required) w/c 27 September. We will confirm when sift results are released whether interviews will be via Teams or in person at our offices in Sanctuary Buildings, London.

  • Sift

    At sift, you will be assessed on your experience. We are looking for someone to demonstrate how they meet the essential criteria listed in the responsibilities section of this advert. This will be assessed via the CV & statement.


    At the interview stage, you will be asked questions relating to your Experience, Strengths and Technical Skills.

    Other Information

    The government is committed to supporting apprenticeships, enabling people to learn and progress in a role whilst earning. We want to monitor the number of people who have completed apprenticeships who are now applying to progress further in their career and are asking this question to all candidates, on all vacancies. You will be asked a question as part of the application process about any previous apprenticeships you have completed. Your response to this question will not affect your application and it is not a requirement of the role to have completed a previous apprenticeship.

    For this role the department would not consider sponsoring a Certificate of Sponsorship/visa. Please note we are unable to offer advice on any Visa and Immigration cases.

    If successful and transferring from another Government Department a criminal record check maybe carried out.

    In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstance some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. If you will be doing this, please advise Department of Education of your intention by emailing stating the job reference number in the subject heading.

    Department for Education do not cover the cost of travel to your interview/assessment unless otherwise stated.

    A reserve list may be held for a period of 6 months from which further appointments can be made.

    Candidates will be posted in merit order based upon location preference. Where more than one location is advertised you will be asked to state your preferred location.

    New entrants are expected to join on the minimum of the pay band. Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

    Terms and conditions of candidates transferring from ALBs and NDPBs

    Bodies that are not accredited by the Civil Service Commission and are not able to advertise at Across Government on Civil Service jobs will be treated as external new starters and will come into DfE on modernised terms and conditions with a salary at the band minimum.

    Bodies that are accredited by the Civil Service Commission but do not have civil service status will be offered modernised terms and will not have continuous service recognised for leave or sickness benefits. Salaries should be offered at band minimum, but there is some flexibility where this would cause a detriment to the individual.

    Bodies that are accredited by the Civil Service Commission and do have Civil Service status will be treated as OGD transfers. Staff appointed on lateral transfer will move on to pre-modernised DfE terms (unless they were on modernised terms in their previous organisation). Staff appointed on promotion will move on to modernised DfE terms. Staff will transfer over on their existing salary (on lateral transfer) and any pay above the DfE pay band maximum will be paid as a mark time allowance. Staff moving on promotion will have their salaries calculated using the principles set out in the attached OGD transfer supplementary information.

    Reasonable adjustment

    If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes. If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

    - Contact Department for Education via soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.

    - Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.

    Any move to the Department for Education from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax-Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at”

    Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment. Nationality requirements

    This job is broadly open to the following groups:

    Further information on nationality requirements Working for the Civil Service The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

    We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles. The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria. Apply and further information Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

    Contact point for applicants
    Name: Rob Goût
    Recruitment team:

    Further information The Department for Education’s recruitment processes are underpinned by the Civil Service Commissioners Recruitment Principles, which outlines that selection for appointment is made on merit based on fair and open competition. If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the values in the Civil Service Code and/or if you feel the recruitment has been conducted in such a way that conflicts with the Civil Service Commissioners Recruitment Principles, you may make a complaint, by contacting the Central Recruitment Team at the following address
    If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint you have the right to complain to the Civil Service Commissioners.

    We encourage diverse candidates

    At DfE, we are proud of the commitment we make to diversity and inclusion and of the progress we have made. We have a variety of staff networks and groups for all employees to join, whether you identify yourself as someone who the network is aimed towards or if you just have an interest in diversity and inclusion matters.

    • UK nationals
    • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
    • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
    • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
    • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
    • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
    • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals
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