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Updated 6 September 2022

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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dfid-technical-competency-frameworks/food-and-agriculture-technical-competency-framework
World-leading technical and analytical capability is central to FCDO’s mission. FCDO Advisers embody these capabilities, playing a key role in the delivery of the UK’s international objectives and development impact in particular.
Advisers have a central role in the design, implementation, appraisal, and evaluation of international development programmes; in the development and implementation of foreign and development policy; and in diplomacy and international partnerships. They play an expert role in inter-disciplinary thinking and thought leadership, linking programmes and bringing deep expertise to maximise impact. They have strong links with specialist networks, research organisations, and professional bodies in the UK and globally.
Advisers are accredited to one or more of thirteen Advisory Cadres. These are professional bodies within FCDO and cover: Climate and Environment, Conflict, Economics, Education, Evaluation, Food and Agriculture, Governance, Health, Humanitarian, Infrastructure, Private Sector Development, Social Development, and Statistics. The Economics, Statistics, and Evaluation Cadres are linked to government-wide advisory services. Each Cadre has a Head of Profession (HoP), who is responsible for ensuring that professional standards are maintained both within the Cadre and for those wishing to join. The HoP provides thought leadership, quality assurance, and supports continuous professional development.
Advisers have certain capabilities in common. These include but are not limited to the following:
The Food and Agriculture cadre comprises approximately 45 Advisers working in FCDO across the regions, in policy and research teams, and with international institutions.
Food and Agriculture Advisers:
Food and Agriculture Advisers are expected to demonstrate knowledge and practice on approaches to achieving the UK’s development priorities through the following competencies:
Demonstration of knowledge and practice in certain areas, such as:
Depth in one of these may be offered in place of breadth, providing the adviser is able to apply the depth in a range of contexts, complexities and delivery channels.
Assessments will be based around a review of evidence that describes the extent of knowledge and expertise applicants hold in the relevant competencies, and also against capability levels from the FCDO Capability Framework: Awareness, Foundation, Practitioner and Expert (within Expert HoPs Group differentiate between Expert and Senior Expert). Note that particularly for Senior Expert level, consideration will be given to candidates’ ability to give high quality demonstration of technical leadership and an ability to communicate and influence in their evidence.
The TCFs are structured so that competencies are clearly defined and can be expressed at Practitioner, and Expert and Senior Expert.
*Relevant experience is defined as work experience in one or more sectors of direct relevance to the competency.
Accreditation assessments will take into account the entire academic and professional history of a candidate and not rely solely on their last or most recent post.
The table below sets out the framework for how capability will be assessed at the competency level. The framework is based around the standard 1-7 scoring system used for Civil Service recruitments. During an accreditation round, the sift panel will agree a pass mark for all competencies. This could be, for example, 4. A sift will score all competencies at or above the pass mark for an applicant to pass from sift to interview. If a candidate applies for a level and does not pass, the sift panel can at their discretion agree whether they might still pass at a lower level. For example, an applicant might apply at Expert level. During the sift the panel might not pass them on all competencies, but after discussion agree to progress them to interview at Practitioner level.
Prior to interviews, the interview panel will again set a pass mark for all elements of the assessment. An interviewee must score higher than the pass mark in all areas to be considered for accreditation. If a candidate applies for a level and does not pass, the interview panel can at their discretion accredit the candidate at a lower level. Candidates who pass at a particular level cannot be considered for accreditation at a higher level, regardless of their scores. They must re-apply for accreditation at a higher level in a future accreditation round. The full set of accreditation requirements are specified in Section 5.
There are 2 accreditation pathways to accredit to the Food and Agriculture cadre:
Those accredited at Senior Expert, Expert or Practitioner are considered to be accredited to the Food and Agriculture cadre.
The table below outlines the 2 routes to accreditation at the 3 levels:
*Note that particularly for Senior Expert level, consideration will be given to candidates’ ability to give high quality demonstration of technical leadership and an ability to communicate and influence in their evidence.
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