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Job summary

Main area
Civil Service: Grade 7
9 months (Fixed Term Contract ends 31/3/22)
Full time - 37.5 hours per week
Job ref
Public Health England
Employer type
Public (Non NHS)
Wellington House
£48,859 - £58,769 per annum
Salary period
18/05/2021 23:59

Employer heading

Public Health England logo

COVID-19 Vacancy Principal Evidence Reviewer

Civil Service: Grade 7

Public Health England (PHE) is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care providing; strategic leadership, research, advice and support for Government, local authorities and the NHS in protecting and improving the nation’s health

This is a Non Reserved post under the Civil Service Nationality Rules and is therefore open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals and certain non EEA members. For more information please refer to the supporting documents detailing the Civil Service Nationality Rules.

  • For posts on PHE Civil Service terms and conditions, on appointment the salary is normally the minimum point (see salary range above). This will be dependent on the successful candidate’s current salary and terms and/or equivalent experience. The Civil Service pay structure and progression is different from NHS Agenda for Change, most local authority pay grades and other systems that have annual pay increments. Please see attached an information sheet explaining starting salaries and benefits when joining PHE.
  • For clinically ringfenced AfC or Medical/Dental posts, you must obtain the correct professional registration to be appointed. The pay will follow the AfC or Medical & Dental terms & conditions. You may be asked to provide evidence on previous service whilst we are conducting pre-employment checks to determine starting salaries.

Any moves across the Civil Service may have implications on your ability to carry on claiming childcare vouchers.

Temporary Appointments: If you are external to the Civil Service, you will take up the post on a Fixed Term appointment, if you are an existing Civil Servant, based outside of PHE, you will take up the post as a loan and if you are an existing PHE member of staff, you will take up the post as either a level transfer or a temporary promotion as per PHE’s Pay and Grading policy. If you are an existing Civil Servant, (in PHE or elsewhere) you must have prior agreement from your Line Manager before applying for this post.

Given the nature of the work of PHE, as a Category 1 department, you may be required in an emergency, if deemed a necessity, to redeploy to another role at short notice. You may also be required to work at any other location, within reasonable travelling distance of your permanent home address, in line with the provisions set out in your contract of employment.

We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including groups currently underrepresented in our workforce and pride ourselves as being an employer of choice. To find out more about how we champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace, visit: PHE website    

On 18 August 2020, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced plans to establish a new agency (then referred to as the National Institute for Health Protection) to lead on health protection in England and to consult on the best future options for strengthening health improvement and other public health functions in the wider system. On 24 March 2021, the Secretary of State announced the new agency would be called the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), and on 29 March 2021 he announced the creation of the Office for Health Promotion (within the Department of Health & Social Care). Public Health England and many of its employees will be in scope for transition to new organisations in Autumn 2021. Any new or current employees working for Public Health England during this time, will receive appropriate communications and consultation prior to any formal transfer taking place.  Employees who are required to transfer to successor bodies would usually remain on their existing contractual terms and conditions ( with any proposed changes being subject to consultation) and this applies both to current employees and those recruited during the transition.  The recruitment, growth & development of our workforce is vital for the continuing success of PHE, and the future UK Health Security Agency and Office for Health Promotion.

To be eligible for employment in the UK Civil Service applicants must meet the Civil Service Nationality Rules (CSNRs) which operate independently and additionally to the Immigration Rules. Applicants must also meet necessary security and vetting requirements, along with any other relevant pre-employment checks.

As from 1 January 2021 broadly the following groups may be eligible to work in non-reserved posts within the Civil Service:

  •        UK nationals
  •        Nationals of Commonwealth countries
  •        Nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  •        EEA nationals with (or eligible for) status under the EUSS
  •        Relevant EEA or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  •        Relevant EEA or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  •        Certain family members of the relevant EU & Turkish nationals

Recruitment teams may wish to include this in job adverts. We would suggest that CS job adverts also include a link to the CSNRs guidance on


Job overview

The Rapid Evidence Service of the COVID-19 Public Health Advice, Guidance and Expertise function is looking for a Principal Evidence Reviewer to join their busy team. This is an exciting opportunity to play a role in the national COVID-19 response.

The post is fixed-term until 31st March 2022 and the successful applicant will be based, working from home.

This role will form part of a newly established rapid evidence team within PHE’s COVID-19 response. You will lead the production of rapid evidence reviews, using systematic methodologies, to support the use of evidence. You will also work on the development of new methodologies. You will work closely with colleagues working on the provision of advice and guidance, both nationally and locally and may work with external partners. You will also provide support to others in PHE producing or commissioning rapid evidence reviews, and may support the delivery of training and capacity building.

Main duties of the job

You will lead a small review team, using systematic and rapid review methodologies including screening of studies, data extraction, critical appraisal and evidence synthesis. You and your team will produce reviews and other outputs across a range of review topics based on identified priorities, using software such as Endnote, Rayaan and Microsoft Teams. The team will work both to agreed priorities and responsively, and timeframes for completing reviews will vary from several days to several weeks. Reviews will be published (either on PHE webpages or in journals) and you will need to ensure the work of your team is of a high standard.

You will work on methodological developments (for example, developing critical appraisal tools) and lead the development and use of strategies to support the translation of evidence, for example providing tailored evidence messages, and producing evidence summaries – ensuring that outputs are timely and useful.

Working for our organisation

Open to all external applicants (anyone) from outside the Civil Service (including by definition internal applicants).


Detailed job description and main responsibilities

Please review further details of job description and main responsibilities within the attached Job Description document at the bottom of this vacancy.

Person specification


Essential criteria
  • Educated to first degree level or equivalent relevant experience
  • Post-graduate degree or equivalent experience in an appropriate scientific or technical specialist area relevant to the role

Knowledge and Experience

Essential criteria
  • Knowledge and experience in conducting systematic or rapid evidence reviews using appropriate methods and tools
  • Critical and analytical scientific skills, including scientific literature reviewing and experience of applying basic epidemiological and statistical knowledge
  • Understanding of quality assurance procedures and working to best practice processes
  • Experience of project management and an appreciation that tasks are expected to be delivered at pace, with competing priorities but always delivered in an assured and professional manner
  • Experience of managing others
Desirable criteria
  • Knowledge of public health and the role of evidence in public health decision making
  • Understanding and/or experience of working in the NHS and/or a political environment (e,g. local or national government)

Skills and Capabilities

Essential criteria
  • Prioritise own work effectively and to direct activities of others, including responding to sudden or unexpected demands
  • Must be able to use initiative to decide relevant actions and make recommendations to Manager, with the aim of improving deliverables
  • Excellent communication skills (written/oral) – strong written skills to summarise scientific issues for scientific and lay audiences; strong oral skills to represent the team in a range of settings
  • Plans and organises a broad range of complex activities, formulating and adjusting plans to reflect changing circumstances
  • Skilled at building and managing relationships with internal and external colleagues

Equality and Diversity

Essential criteria
  • An understanding of and commitment to equality of opportunity and good working relationships, both in terms of day-to-day working practices, but also in relation to management systems.
Happy to Talk Flexible WorkingPurple SpaceApprenticeships logoNo smoking policyMindful employer.  Being positive about mental health.Improving working livesAge positiveDisability confident employerThe Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei) is the UK's leading employer network covering all aspects of equality and inclusion issues in the workplace.

Documents to download

Apply online now

Further details / informal visits contact

Rachel Clarke
Job title
Head of COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Service
Email address
Apply online now