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The Women and Equalities Committee is looking for Specialist Advisers for its inquiry into equality and the UK asylum process.

27 September 2021

The Committee

The Women and Equalities Committee is made up of 11 backbench MPs from the Conservative, Labour and Scottish National parties. It is chaired by the Conservative MP, Rt Hon Caroline Nokes, a former Home Office minister.

The Committee examines the policy, administration and expenditure of the Government Equalities Office and the wider Equality Hub in the Cabinet Office, and holds the Government to account on cross-departmental work in relation to equality policy and law, including the Equality Act 2010 and relevant international equality commitments.  It also scrutinises the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The Committee's inquiries often focus on the treatment of groups of people with one or more protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation), across a wide range of settings.

Current and recent inquiries carried out by the Committee include:

The Committee's inquiries usually result in reports with recommendations for action by the Government or other public bodies.

Interests

Committees strive to operate with openness and transparency. It is often the case that Specialist Advisers will have a relevant interest(s) in the inquiry. Advisers will be asked to declare their interests as part of the appointment process for the Committee's consideration.

Your declaration of interests should include anything that a reasonable person might consider could influence the advice you give the Committee. This could include, for instance, a relevant financial interest, if you are a practitioner in the area in question, active membership of a relevant campaign group or political party, or the involvement of a close family member in the area of specialism. Declared interests from successful applicants will be published.

Regardless of an applicant's interests, they must be able to advise the Committee in a balanced and politically impartial manner.

The role and eligibility

The Committee proactively aims to be as inclusive as possible in its appointment of Specialist Advisers. The Committee values diversity and encourages applications from people from a wide range of backgrounds.

We are looking for one or more motivated and confident Specialist Advisers who can work well within a small team. It is crucial that you have:

  • The ability to advise the Committee Chair, Members and staff on issues within the UK asylum system, including the ability to explain complex information clearly, succinctly and in a balanced and politically impartial manner;
  • Proven, up to date expert knowledge and understanding of domestic and international law in relation to  asylum in the UK;
  • A thorough and up to date understanding of the practical processes involved in people claiming asylum in the UK, the assessment of claims and people's experiences post-assessment;
  • Proven, expert knowledge and understanding of the range of research and data on experiences and outcomes in the UK asylum process of different groups of people, particularly those who share protected characteristics as defined by the UK's Equality Act;
  • Ability to provide feedback and comment on a variety of draft written products, using research/academic skills to ensure robust analysis of evidence; and
  • Experience of working with policymakers and interacting with Parliament, charities, think tanks and/or other governmental bodies.

Time commitment

The post will run from November 2021 until the conclusion of the inquiry, likely to be before summer 2022. Advisers are expected to work no more than two days in a week on a flexible basis, although in practical terms the workload may be substantially less.

A daily fee is paid to Advisers on the basis of an established scale, plus reasonable expenses, for example for travel to and from Westminster if necessary (further information available on application).

Application process

Anyone who is interested in taking this role is asked to send a CV, covering letter and declaration of relevant interests to womeqcom@parliament.uk and include:

  • Your expertise and experience as it relates to the role as described above;
  • Previous examples of your work in a policy and advisory context and your understanding of the work carried out by select committees;
  • The amount of time you can commit to the inquiry; and
  • Your ability to take on work at short notice if required.

This is a part-time, flexible role, which will involve supplementing existing internal expertise and providing advice to MPs and staff on asylum law and processes (for example, making input to briefing documents, the strategic direction of the inquiry and advising on aspects of the final report).

The deadline for applications is midnight on Monday 25 October. Interviews are expected to take place in w/c 1 November via Microsoft Teams, with a view to the Committee confirming appointment as soon as possible after this date. 

Contacts for Enquiries and Applications

If you require additional information about the post, please contact James Clarke, Inquiry Manager (clarkeja@parliament.uk)

Further information

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