Senior Conservation Officer


Initially home-based
£32,400 - £35,944 pa

Paid • Full Time • Fixed Term Contract

Reference: MAY20210236

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology

Closing date: Sunday, 13th June 2021   Closes today

Senior Conservation Officer (Maternity Cover) - Sussex, Surrey, East Hampshire, Berkshire and London
Location: Initially Home-based – but may involve working from a relevant RSPB office + travel in future
Salary: £32,400.00 - £35,944.00 Per Annum
Benefits: Pension, Annual Leave, Life Assurance
Duration: 12 months

We are seeking a passionate, experienced and self-motivated individual to lead the conservation work of the RSPB across Sussex, Surrey, East Hampshire, Berkshire, and London for the duration of up to 1-year providing maternity cover.

The successful applicant will be responsible for leading the delivery of the RSPB’s ambitious conservation goals and objectives in this area. The priority landscape of the Thames Basin and Wealden Heaths and our focus area of the Solent Coast to Arun Valley will be a key area to deliver conservation.

We are looking for someone who can persuade and inspire while remaining accurate and evidence-based, and who has a passion for finding solutions and identifying win-wins for nature and people.

What the role is about

The Senior Conservation Officer leads a small team delivering a wide range of work to save priority species (particularly turtle doves) and habitats (especially lowland heathland, deciduous woodland, coastal and wetland). Key delivery tools include planning casework, advocating good conservation practice across landscapes, working with partners, leading projects, empowering people to save nature, and land management and species advisory work.

This role has a vitally important external element, building positive relationships with key partners and stakeholders so that our collective policies and messages are understood and furthered. Significant development and people pressure in the South-East is a threat and an opportunity, therefore, engaging with development and strategies to protect nature from detrimental development, mitigating recreational disturbance and driving people-powered nature recovery will be key.

The RSPB is committed to increasing equality, inclusivity, and diversity. The contract is a full-time maternity contract for up to 12 months. It will be initially home-based, but may in the future involve working from a relevant RSPB Office and travel to meetings.

Key activities and areas of competency will include:

  1. Lead the Conservation Team work programme to ensure the delivery of an ambitious work programme, maintaining focus on priority species and habitats
  2. Support the delivery of the RSPB’s landscape scale conservation programme delivery in the Thames Basin and Wealden Heaths and Solent Coast to Arun Valley
  3. Leading and supporting on priority casework within the area, as well as relevant policy and strategy consultations, working closely with RSPB England colleagues to contribute to the Site Conservation outcomes of the Saving Nature Strategy
  4. Involvement in individual projects, working collaboratively with RSPB colleagues, particularly reserve staff, as appropriate. This includes RSPB projects and RSPB’s delivery in wider partnership projects
  5. Building positive relationships with landowners / managers and with key partners and other stakeholders so that our collective policies and messages are understood and habitat and species restoration furthered across the area but with a focus on our priority landscapes
  6. Identifying opportunities and working collaboratively to steer new policy implementation (e.g. Local Nature Recovery Strategies, Biodiversity Net Gain) to deliver ambitious nature recovery

What we need from you:


  1. Degree level qualification in a relevant subject or ability to show equivalent work experience
  2. Sufficient understanding of the species and habitats; landscape scale conservation; land use and management; planning systems and relevant policy and legislation of the region or country in which this role is based to advise on appropriate responses and interventions
  3. Sufficient knowledge of a range of delivery mechanisms for conservation work relevant to the operational area to advise on appropriate responses and interventions.
  4. Ability to form effective teams (both internally and in external partnerships) and work effectively as a team player.
  5. Excellent communication skills (verbal, written and presentational) – including an ability to speak confidently and cogently in public to a variety of audiences.
  6. Confident advocating a position to landowners and managers, local politicians, members and volunteers who have different views e.g. professional, persuasive, engaging and confident
  7. Ability to support and develop staff using a variety of management techniques.
  8. Ability to rapidly analyse significant quantities of information, prioritise and balance a diverse workload often to tight deadlines
  9. Competent user of core MS Office programmes
  10. Ability to incorporate a people-based approach to conservation in the area. Including positive community engagement for projects and empowering people to protect and restore nature
  11. Experience of working to survey, protect and/or manage important sites, species or habitats
  12. Experience of managing staff or volunteers and setting clear work priorities
  13. Experience of productive partnerships
  14. Experience of negotiating with the public or private sector, to deliver biodiversity benefits, through both regulatory and voluntary means, especially planning casework


  1. Understanding of water quality, coastal processes and water management
  2. Effective project management skills.
  3. Experience of major site conservation casework e.g. to public inquiry stage.

This is a maternity cover contract for up to 12 months.

The closing date for this vacancy is 13th June 2021, however, as we are actively recruiting for this position, we reserve the right to close the vacancy once sufficient applications have been received.
Interviews to be held virtually on Friday 18th June.

No agencies please.

Find out more & apply