DEFRA
3.8 out of 5 stars.
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DEFRA Employee Reviews

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United Kingdom70 reviews

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4.0Work-life balance

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Fantastic people and progressive

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Look no further for great work/life balance. You can take time back after busy periods. Excellent and supportive line management at senior levels. Fast paced and sometimes lacks structure around tasks from top down.

Pros

The people

Cons

Sometimes lack of structure and clarity
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Good workplace

Defra is a good department to work for, interesting subject areas and a kind culture. It is let down by significant siloes, lack of collaboration and organisation and too many project managers who don't seem to help.

Pros

Interesting work.

Cons

Poorly organised.
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Insights into DEFRA

Based on 8 survey responses
What people like
  • General feeling of work happiness
  • Clear sense of purpose
  • Overall satisfaction
Areas for improvement
  • Trust in colleagues

Great team, always made you feel comfortable

Loved the teamAlways made you feel comfortable Flexible hoursYou could work from homeGreat benefitsMid month advances if you neededGreat pension

Pros

Flexible hours

Cons

None really
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slow and boring

very slow-paced and boring place to work. Few great people though but the executive team is not talented individuals and tries their very best to make a decision when it really needs to be made.

Pros

flexible working and relaxed

Cons

work is mundane
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Great working culture

Moving from the private sector everything is very different, less micromanagement and no expectation to work long hours. Trusted to get work done at a reasonable pace by management. Fantastic training provided and great benefits.

Pros

All of the above.

Cons

Overly complex IT systems. Takes a long time to get set up.
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Poor management, good work life balance

Interesting workstream area but lacks structure and joint working. Lots of silos and lack of info sharing. Very top down approach with little input from lower grades

Pros

Can manage work load flexibly

Cons

Silos, top down and centralised mgt style
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Good environment to work

Need to work on your own initiative as line manager will work in different site.Good holidays and pension, but pay slightly below private sector. No company car but business mileage given for private vehicle.

Pros

Flexi time, good colleagues

Cons

Pay
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N/a

Enjoyable organisation to work for unfortunetely it was a temporary contract would have liked to stay longer.Good Team spirit internally and externally.

Pros

Flexibility

Cons

Long hours
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Incompetent middle managers, awful office politics culture

The stereotype of government run agencies are mostly true, I am sad to have learned: overpaid middle managers who add no value to the company (and thus to society); bad culture (office politics, slow bureaucratic practices); large proportion of resources spent on useless tasks; nepotism and cliquey attitude; unwillingness to adapt to changes. Of course, there is no incentive for them to fix any of this, but that's just the nature of these sorts of agencies.
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A bad time to work there

Worked at the height of the BSE crisis when scientific explanation was very contradictory. A confusing time for the food, particularly the meat industry. Could be enlivened to the Covid crisis.

Pros

A responsible respectable career status

Cons

Long hours for little reward. Slaughterhouse work is not for everyone. A lot of travelling
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It keeps getting worse

For all the talk of diversity blah blah, it's a very cliquey environment full of incompetent yes-men. You don't need to come from a particular background but you need to fit in and you need to watch your back. If you are a self-promoter and care about your advancement above anything else, you may like it. In the years before Brexit they got rid of a lot of experienced staff then after Brexit they were forced to recruit new people to cope with the increased workload. The new recruits were mostly young and inexperienced. The department has changed dramatically as a consequence. It wasn't great before but now it really has lost its way. You don't need to be terribly bright to join or to be promoted. With the exception of a handful of genuinely talented people, most Defra employees are average. The problem is that people are promoted beyond their abilities. Most middle managers (and there are far too many of them!) are so inadequate it's painful to watch them making decisions. So much money is wasted as a result. But they don't seem to care. Briefings for ministers can frequently be inaccurate or plainly wrong. Feeble, uncertain evidence is presented as facts. Like most ambitious, mediocre people out of their depth, this army of self-congratulatory, overpaid middle managers cannot handle criticism or a different point of view. So they become petty, intolerant micro-managers who back each other up. There used to be room for people with an independent mind but it's becoming harder to be a critical voice. The pension scheme is still good, and they do - 

Pros

Pension scheme, work-life balance

Cons

Too many overpaid, incompetent middle managers
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Initially relaxed, then developed to stressful atmosphere.

Particular department changed to inexperienced management with little technical knowledge. Work then became more about delivering your stats rather than accuracy of financial work and customer care.
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Challenging and constantly changing environment

Typical days at work were very long. I regularly worked from 7am to 7/8pm most days. The management had very high expectations of delivery despite the constantly changing objectives. There was not always clear direction and support in achieving these aims and as such. The workplace culture was fast paced and challenging. The hardest part of the job was getting individuals to accept and embrace change - particularly where what was being implemented was a significant departure from what they were used to.

Pros

Flexibility to work from home

Cons

Really Long Hours
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Good Place to Work

Good Place to Work with good line management and processes. Office environment was nice and the right equipment was provided to work with. Work load was about right and was not stressful.
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Unpleasant work environment

This has to have rated as my worst office experience, poor management, poor information sharing, poor training. Everyone just hated it and couldn't wait to be out of the office.
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Great place to work.

I was only asked to come in as the company was closing down and they wanted their paper files putting on to computer. It was flexible hours which was good.
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Nervous

No focus on morale, way too many middle management on secondments and an overwhelming large temporary worker force. Huge pay gaps with senior team and zero opportunity for real progression.

Pros

excellent canteen

Cons

atmosphere
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good Company

Good Company, Busy and always work to do. Currently working and dealing with multiple projects and ongoing upgrade works. Keeps me busy all the day.
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nothing to add

They have a very weak management structure and a blame culture which i have never seem before. compared to the private section they are 15-20 years behind times.
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Very poor experience

Very poor experience. Culture is awful. High levels of poor well being for all staff. Office environment very poor. Noisy temporary construction work .
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Good place to work - a lot going on!

Productive, collaborative, diverse, busy, lots of travel through out the UK, pro active management, only left for an opportunity much closer to home! Good place to work - a lot going on!
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Overall rating

Based on 73 reviews

Ratings by category

4.0 out of 5 stars for Work/Life Balance
3.6 out of 5 stars for Salary/Benefits
3.3 out of 5 stars for Job security/advancement
3.4 out of 5 stars for Management
3.5 out of 5 stars for Culture

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