5762 - Senior Soils Adviser - Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment

Senior Adviser
Fixed Term
For a period up to 31/03/2025
Full Time, Part Time, Part Time/Job Share
Project Delivery

The Role 

The England Ecosystem Survey (EES) is part of the Field Data Collection work package of the NCEA and will use professional survey as a tool to provide high quality data to assess the state and condition of biodiversity, ecosystems, and natural capital assets within England’s habitats and landscapes addressing data gaps, including soils. The soils workstream will enable NE to assess and capture the condition of soils is nationally and to determine progress against the 25 Year Environment Plan target to manage soils sustainably by 2030.  

Soil natural capital and soil health are a focus in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan (YEP) which presents the ambition that ‘by 2030 we want all of England’s soils to be managed sustainably, and we will use natural capital thinking to develop appropriate soil metrics and management approaches.’  

This role will support the delivery of the Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment (NCEA), providing leadership and technical expertise to enable the development of a national soil monitoring system.   

We are looking for a candidate who is qualified to degree level in soils science or a related environmental discipline or have an equivalent level of applied experience (a post-graduate qualification is desirable). Applicants that do not hold a relevant degree should specify experience and outputs that demonstrate that they have an equivalent level of knowledge. 

Key tasks: 

  • Providing technical expertise and steer to externally commissioned contracts relating to NCEA soil monitoring. 
  • Gathering data on soil management on monitoring sites – supporting internal and external field staff to undertake surveys. 
  • Commissioning and contributing to scientific research required to inform the methods that will be used. 
  • Soils survey Quality Assurance / Quality Control (QA/QC): Resolving issues from surveyors and contractors and maintaining an up-to-date QA/QC checklist and assessment form. 
  • Contribute to protocol/ field manual development. 
  • Assist in training new surveyors. 
  • Coordination between soil sampling, soil classification and vegetation team  
  • Communications with laboratories, particularly around soil biological analyses, and liaison with relevant Natural England specialists 
  • Data management, analysis & QA 
  • Liaising with internal and external stakeholders. 
  • Identify existing data sources for land management. 
  • Research and development to support EES. 

Additional information:  

Specific responsibilities will develop and change over time, and the post holder will need to maintain a flexible and adaptable attitude and approach. You may also be required to contribute to development of other soil monitoring and soil health work within Natural England, including building capability across Natural England. 

The role will include representing Natural England externally as a recognised expert and building relationships and links with key stakeholders, Defra, government bodies, academic institutions and other stakeholder groups and independent experts. 

This role will require occasional travel throughout England and overnight stays will be required.  Natural England will reimburse all costs incurred when travelling on organisational business – including travel, accommodation, and subsistence. 

The successful candidate will be required to show flexibility in managing and adapting to other work should team priorities or resources change. 


Wherever possible Natural England accommodates requests for both full-time and part-time hours and other flexible working patterns to help employees achieve a good work/life balance and maintain their health and wellbeing. 

Natural England provides excellent opportunities for career progression, training and development tailored to your role. From induction to ongoing learning and development, everyone in Natural England is supported to develop their skills and capabilities. Everyone has 10 days to devote to personal learning and development, as well as an additional 3 days to volunteer. 

You will have access to Civil Service Pension and benefits arrangements and generous leave allowances (33 day per year pro rata), as well as flexible working, to help you achieve a work-life balance that works for you and us. 

You will have access to a range of benefits including discounts on shopping vouchers, cycle to work scheme, and childcare vouchers. You can also join the Civil Service Sport club which offer discounts on a range of sports and leisure opportunities as well as social events. 

Natural England is a fantastic place to work, where difference is celebrated. 

We’re committed to fairness and equality for all, so you feel valued for who you are and what you do. Our shared values help us work together to benefit the communities we serve. Our thriving employee-led diversity networks support our inclusive culture and contribute to our Diversity Action Plan. 


Natural England is adopting hybrid working – which means our staff work from a flexible range of locations, encompassing home, offices (ours and our partners) and relevant sites. All new staff will be formally linked to one of our 25 offices across England and the expectation is that all new staff will be able to access their local office to be part of the community of staff in their geographical area. Full time staff are expected to attend their associated office for a minimum of one day a week. Staff members are required to carry out all their duties working in this way and cannot do so from an 

overseas location at any time. Travel expenses will be paid if work related travel is required but does not apply to travel between home and your associated office. 

National team roles can be linked with any Natural England office while Area Team roles will be linked with an office in the relevant geographic area. View a map of our office locations here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/natural-england-office-locations 


It is Natural England policy to employ at the entry point of the salary range. 

Natural England is undertaking a review of its current Staff Framework to ensure that it continues to be fit for purpose for the future and able to deliver its ambitions as an organisation. It will enable us to attract, retain, and grow our people to deliver our ambitious mission to build partnerships for nature recovery and provide enriching careers for our people. Role responsibilities will not change as a result of the review but all roles will be assessed against the new Staff Framework and will be aligned to one of the new 3 Job Families (Shaping, Enabling and Delivering).” 

How to Apply 

We welcome and encourage applications from all communities. Natural England is accredited to the Disability Confident Scheme, which denotes organisations which have a positive attitude towards disabled people. Disabled applicants who meet the minimum requirements for the role at the shortlisting stage are guaranteed an invitation to interview. 

If you require a reasonable adjustment at interview, or there is anything else you would like the panel to take into consideration, you should notify us of this at application stage where possible, or well in advance of your interview. 

This vacancy uses competency-based assessment. We'll assess you against the competencies below during the selection process:

Do you have a passion for nature and the environment? Do you want to make a real difference and secure significant environmental gains in the present and the future? Do you enjoy working in a team? Can you see yourself advising communities and customers to maximise gains for the Natural Environment? 

If this appeals to you, a career at Natural England offers rewarding opportunities to secure environmental improvements and play your part in creating a better future for people and nature. 

About the Team 

The Evidence Services Directorate provides scientific and evidence leadership, services, and support to help Natural England operate as an evidence-led organisation. The Team is responsible for delivering Natural England’s part of the Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment (NCEA). 

The NCEA is a transformative programme to understand the extent, condition and change over time of environmental assets across England's land and water environments, supporting the government’s ambition to improve the environment within a generation. Data will come from Earth Observation, professional field data collection, citizen science and partner data sets.  

Natural England’s Terrestrial NCEA delivery is organised into projects: 

  • Mapping and Earth Observation – Spatial data and maps on natural capital to inform national and local decision making and delivery. 
  • England Peat Map – Mapping the extent and condition of England’s peatlands. 
  • Field data collection – Data on habitats, soils, landscapes, and species to understand the condition of natural capital assets. 
  • Citizen science – Working with citizens and community science to fill gaps, provide local and landscape scale information and engaging the public. 
  • Data mobilisation and integration and reporting – Making NCEA, partner and volunteer data available for analysis, integration, and use, producing high quality evidence products by analysing and integrating NCEA data. 
  • Programme management – Managing Natural England’s NCEA programme. 

The priority work Natural England is delivering includes: 

  • Establishing a Nature Recovery Network to help wildlife thrive. 
  • Monitoring environmental changes to identify and help reduce the effects of climate change. 
  • Working with farmers and landowners to develop greener food production methods. 
  • Advising on plans for new developments to maximise gains for nature. 
  • Providing ways for people to better connect with nature, including green social prescribing. 

We are the Government’s advisor for the natural environment, playing a vital role in delivering the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, an ambitious vision which brings new opportunities to protect and enhance and to achieve real outcomes for the environment. 

Find out more about the work of Natural England at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/natural-england 

Mark Mcdougall


17/03/2024, 23:55 hours

Expected w/c 25th March
Basic Check (BPSS)
Professional competency
Technical Skills (SMART Answer not required for this competency)
Qualified to degree level in soils science or a related environmental discipline or have an equivalent level of applied experience (a post-graduate qualification is desirable). Applicants that do not hold a relevant degree should specify experience and outputs that demonstrate that they have an equivalent level of knowledge – (essential).

Expert knowledge of soil mapping and classification, the broad range of soil types (e.g. Soil Associations) and the relationships between parent material, climate, relief, hydrology, habitats and soil properties – (essential).

Expert knowledge of soil functioning and soil health including the interaction between soil biological, chemical, and physical characteristics, and their importance in determining the soils capability to deliver ecosystem services – (essential).

Expert knowledge of the current and emerging scientific methodologies around soils monitoring and how these might enable the development of soils indicators – (essential)

A good understanding of land use and land management, covering the range of agricultural and non-agricultural uses of land, and how these are likely to affect soil function, health, and natural capital – (essential).

Good understanding of land evaluation systems (such as mapping of Agricultural Land Classification, Hydrology of Soil Types) to inform use of soils datasets – (essential).

An understanding of the 25YEP and its targets and outcomes, along with other key current policy drivers relating to soils – (desirable)

A good understanding of GIS and statistics, to enable management of expert contractors in delivering mapping and modelling products – (desirable).

Project management skills to deliver a successful programme of work – (desirable).

Experience of working with and functionally leading others to achieve joint outcomes – (desirable).
Professional competency
Personal Effectiveness (Expert)
Be ambitious, identify and adopt ways to make improvements in your team and Natural England and inspire others to act.

Make and explain objective decisions which combine your professional judgement and evidence.

Develop your professional expertise by keeping up to date with current evidence and research, aiming to develop a broad portfolio of expertise relevant to your specialism) to enable you to provide holistic advice and to provide support, assurance, and challenge across a wide range of topics.
Professional competency
Work Delivery (Practitioner)
See the big picture so you can set your team’s work within the context of the organisation’s vision, mission and aims, and help them understand how their work relates to and supports this.

Handle data responsibly, understand your role in good governance, and comply with delegations, policies, and procedures.
Professional competency
Leading and Managing People (Practitioner)
Set clear plans and expectations for your team, explain reasons behind decisions, be clear on the outcomes to be achieved, and make things happen by sharing and delegating work to the right people.

Lead by example, engage and support your team through change.
Qualified to degree level in soils science or a related environmental discipline or have an equivalent level of applied experience (a post-graduate qualification is desirable). Applicants that do not hold a relevant degree should specify experience and outputs that demonstrate that they have an equivalent level of knowledge.
Natural England

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This Vacancy is closed to applications.