Senior Policy Adviser, Public Sector Markets

Location:Greater London

Role summary

Over £250bn is spent by the public sector each year on goods, works and services provided by external suppliers, including businesses. How this sum is spent not only impacts our economy and prosperity, but also the quality and affordability of the services accessed by citizens every day – from the health service to the criminal justice system. Working with our members, the CBI has an important role to play in setting out how partnerships between the public and private sectors can work better to improve services and infrastructure.

Based at our Cannon Place office in London, the Senior Policy Adviser for Public Sector Markets will lead our policy and campaigns on a wide range of topics, from embedding social value into more public sector contracts to ensuring major projects are delivered on time and on budget. The role also involves supporting our members in the defence sector to shape government policy and invest in the UK. The successful applicant will work in the CBI’s Infrastructure team, which works with businesses and government to change policy and enable the delivery of critical infrastructure to underpin a successful UK economy and more prosperous society.

Reporting to the Head of Infrastructure and Public Sector Policy, the jobholder will be responsible for the CBI’s work on policy including:

  • Consulting with CBI members to develop positions that represent the business view on a wide range of policy issues
  • Co-ordinating with colleagues in the infrastructure team to ensure consistency and coherence in our messages to government and businesses
  • Working with civil servants to shape public sector policy to support the objectives of UK businesses operating in this marketplace
  • Developing a compelling offer to encourage more businesses to join the CBI
  • Providing CBI members with political and policy insight and intelligence so they can make more informed commercial decisions

At a time of unprecedented political and economic change, the role offers a unique opportunity to lead on a crucial topic for British industry at the UK’s largest business representative organisation.

Key responsibilities

Developing the CBI’s policy messages on public sector markets:

  • Demonstrating a strong grasp of the issues affecting public sector markets including public procurement, contract management and the broader political context
  • Working with CBI members to continually develop policy positions, including managing competing business and commercial interests to produce policy positions with broad support from a wide range of public sector suppliers
  • Working on discrete projects (e.g. policy briefs, reports, consultation responses), using project management skills to track progress, manage risk and measure success
  • Proactively campaigning to champion the value of business in the delivery of public services and infrastructure
  • Drafting and presenting papers for the CEO-level Public Sector Partners Council, which meets quarterly and brings together a broad coalition of organisations working within the public sector marketplace
  • Drafting effective internal briefings for senior meetings which demonstrate the ability to translate a complex policy area into key headline messages
  • Working in collaboration with the Cabinet Office to ensure the effective implementation of key commercial policies, and to prepare CBI members for future policy changes.

Building strong internal and external relationships, including:

  • Acting as a first point of contact within the CBI for members, staff, and other stakeholders on public procurement policy, including advising your line manager and director
  • Meeting regularly with officials in key government departments and agencies, including the Cabinet Office, Crown Commercial Service and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport
  • Building relationships with other commentators in this space, including think tanks and academic institutions
  • Proactively working with colleagues across the directorate and other teams to fully exploit synergies with other policy areas, as well as commercial, membership and media opportunities.

Supporting the CBI’s commercial objectives

  • Supporting commercial colleagues with the retention of key accounts with a strong interest in public procurement policy
  • Work with the business development team to help win new members operating in this space and develop the materials to support this.

Knowledge and experience

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

  • Knowledge of the policymaking process in UK government
  • Demonstrable interest in politics and public policy
  • Good understanding of and enthusiasm for public sector issues. Experience working on policy issues related to public sector markets is a bonus
  • Familiarity with the workings of business and commercial pressures.


The practical actions required 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 to be able to fulfil the role’s requirements.

  • Collaborative – Listening, seeking views and sharing information; constructively challenging when appropriate.
  • Taking ownership – Ensuring delivery and holding others to account; can influence, irrespective of hierarchy.
  • Agile – Proactive and responsive to provide a strong member service; responding positively to shifting priorities.
  • Commercial – Awareness of the wider business environment.
  • 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

Equal opportunity employer

Our aim is to create prosperity for all. To do that well, we need a workforce that is more representative of the businesses we serve.

We know through experience that different ideas, perspectives and backgrounds create a stronger and more innovative work environment that delivers better results. To support an inclusive environment where employees feel empowered to share their experiences and ideas, we’ve encouraged the creation of a variety of Employee Resource Groups - Women, LGBT+, BAME and Working Families.

We recognise the many benefits flexible working can bring. Many of our employees work flexibly in many different ways, including part-time. Please talk to us at interview about the flexibility you need. We can’t promise to give you exactly what you want, but we do promise not to judge you for asking and will accommodate where possible.

How to apply

Please submit your CV and cover letter to with 'SPA Public Sector Markets' as the subject.