Committee Specialist, Joint Committee on Human Rights

House of Commons
Location Westminster, London
Application deadline 21 October 2020
Contract type Permanent
Hours Full-time
Salary £37,510 per annum
Apply now

The Committee Office provides support and advice for all aspects of the work of select committees. This particular role sits within the team that supports the Joint Committee on Human Rights, which comprises members of the House of Commons and House of Lords. The Committee looks into matters which concern Human Rights in the UK through its thematic inquiries, and also examines laws proposed by the Government to ensure they are compatible with Human Rights legislation. Join us and you could soon be playing an important role at the heart of the team.

The role

Do you have a good understanding of the human rights framework in the UK, coupled with relevant policy, research, practical or scrutiny experience, and knowledge of the roles of the key individuals and organisations in the field? Would you relish the opportunity to become a policy specialist working in an inclusive, fast-paced environment at the heart of British democracy? Then make the move to the House of Commons Committee Office team.

Your challenge will be to provide impartial, policy, and research support directly to a committee of Members of Parliament and Peers. As well as advising on, arranging and leading committee inquiries, we’ll rely on you to deliver written and oral briefings to support the Committee’s hearings and produce reports to communicate its findings. Supporting the Committee’s media and public engagement work will be an important aspect of the role too. And, along the way, you’ll work closely with the MPs and Peers who sit on the Committee and engage with high-profile individuals and organisations in the public, private and third sectors within the Committee’s areas of interest. You may also be required to work for other House of Commons Committees from time to time, plus there could be the opportunity to contribute more widely to the work of Parliament through involvement in various projects and cross-cutting working. Although the role is working for the human rights committee in the first instance, in the longer term you may be asked to work for another Committee or in a related role.

As well as a proven background gained in a human rights role that’s given you a firm grasp of the relevant issues, you’ll need a demonstrable ability to research often unfamiliar topics and rapidly acquire specialist knowledge using a range of sources. A flair for analysing information and developing well-argued, evidence-based conclusions is also required, while an understanding of the work of Parliament and Government, including the role of select committees, would be useful, but is not essential. You will, however, need to be adept at planning and prioritising a busy workload and have the communication skills it takes to explain complex information clearly, impartially, and succinctly to a non-specialist audience and thrive in a fast-changing environment.


Working with the Committee Clerk, Committee Specialists are responsible for ensuring that the Committee has the information it needs to undertake effective scrutiny of Government. As a specialist working for the Joint Committee, you would be required to:

  • Lead inquiries for the Committee team—supporting the Committee in identifying inquiry topics, planning the inquiry programme, identifying and employing specialist advisers, identifying and briefing a diverse range of witnesses, and organising public and private meetings of the committee. In particular:
    • develop/maintain an up-to-date knowledge about the subject area of an inquiry,
    • liaise with external advisers supporting the Committee’s work,
    • provide oral and written briefing (for example, on background and suggested questions for the committee to ask witnesses) and draft committee reports,
    • draft correspondence, media content, and speeches, in collaboration with colleagues, as required.
  • Attend all Committee meetings relevant to the inquiries you are managing and meet the Chair and other members of the Committee when required. You may also have the opportunity to organise Committee outreach events and accompany the Committee on visits, both in the UK and overseas. At the moment, these meetings are taking place either virtually or in other ways that meet Covid-secure guidance.
  • Maintain a body of knowledge and a thorough understanding of policy issues relevant to international development / foreign policy and keep the relevant committee, or committees, up to date with recent developments by:
    • horizon scanning, undertaking research in areas of interest, analysing published material, and continually developing and engaging with a network of external experts;
    • bringing a diverse range of voices to bear on the committee’s work; and
    • sharing professional knowledge, networks, and technical skills with colleagues in other committees and the Commons Library, and across the House service.

You will be expected to work collaboratively with colleagues from the Office of Speakers Counsel (the legal advisers to the Committee), in the House of Lords, on other committees, the media and outreach teams, the Commons Library, and other parts of the House service, and may have the opportunity to be involved in work on the House’s wider activities.

Experience and skills

When completing your application form, you should give specific examples of how you have demonstrated each given competency. Examples may come from your working career, your education, or responsibilities outside work. One example may be enough if it demonstrates all aspects of the competency. You may find it helpful to have in mind the STAR method when describing your examples:

Situation: describe the situation you were faced with;
Task: describe the task you had to complete;
Action: describe the actions that you took to complete the task; and
Results: describe the outcome.

Remember, we are most interested in hearing about what you have done to demonstrate the competency and ensure a positive outcome.

We welcome applications from candidates who wish to work part-time or as part of a job share, while annual leave entitlement starts at 30 days pro rata and increases with length of service up to 35 per annum. Some of the other benefits include interest-free season ticket loan and bicycle loan, access to training and development, in-house gym, onsite nursery, and a Contributory Civil Service Pension Scheme.