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Lead Software Developer Recruitment Opportunity

Candidate Information Booklet


Assembly Grade: 6

Salary: £39,442 – £40,625
(plus a salary supplement of £9,375 per year)

Deadline: Completed Application Forms must be submitted no later than 12 noon (UK time) on Monday 20 November 2023.

Please retain a copy of this booklet for your reference throughout the selection process (you can download a PDF version of this booklet using the link above).


Thank you for your interest in the position of Lead Software Developer (Assembly Grade 6) in the Northern Ireland Assembly (the Assembly).

The Assembly operates in a dynamic political and legislative environment, and as a newly appointed Lead Software Developer, you will be provided with an excellent opportunity to make an important and valued contribution to Assembly business at Parliament Buildings.

Working at the Assembly offers a rewarding career. This is an exciting opportunity to join a high-profile organisation with a dedicated and inclusive team.

In turn, we offer a competitive salary which includes a salary supplement. The supplement is paid in addition to basic salary from the date of appointment and is pensionable. We offer an excellent pension provision where you contribute between 4 and 9% of salary and the Assembly Commission contributes a further 28 to 35% of salary, depending on your rate of pay.

We offer an annual leave allowance of 25 days, increasing by one day per year up to a maximum of 30 days. In addition, we offer 12 days of public and privilege holidays. We also offer a range of other employee benefits listed on the Recruitment website.

Please read the information provided in the candidate information booklet carefully and if you are interested in this exciting post, I would encourage you to submit your application.

If you would like to find out more about the post before making an application, please contact or telephone 02890 521665.

Gareth McGrath
Director of Parliamentary Services

About Us

The Assembly is at the heart of political and public life as the democratically elected parliament that represents the interests of Northern Ireland and its people.

Established as a key element of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, the Assembly comprises 90 Members and has three main functions – making legislation, scrutinising the Executive and representing constituents.

In accordance with the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the staff, services and facilities which are needed to support the work of the Assembly are provided by the Assembly Commission, a corporate body comprising the Speaker and five Members of the Assembly. The day-to-day running of the Assembly is delegated to the Clerk/Chief Executive and the Senior Management Team.

The Assembly Commission therefore provides the infrastructure (including Parliament Buildings), facilities and staff to allow the Assembly and its Committees to meet and to encourage public awareness of, and engagement with, the parliamentary process. It also pays the salaries of Members and reimburses the expenses which enable them to undertake their duties both at the Assembly and in their constituency offices.

The Assembly Commission is a high-achieving and professional organisation providing impartial support to the Assembly and its Members. The Assembly Commission is independent of the Executive and the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

The Assembly Commission has approximately 370 staff and an annual revenue budget of £51m. Our organisational structure is illustrated on the Northern Ireland Assembly Recruitment website.


About the Role

Lead Software Developers are responsible for leading and managing a team of software developers in developing bespoke business-critical procedural systems. Utilising Azure DevOps and Agile software development processes, they will lead and manage the system features’ planning, analysis, design, and implementation.

They will coach and mentor a software development team to ensure that software meets users’ needs, taking responsibility for writing clean, secure and effective code, following best practice guidelines and quality assurance processes. 

Core Responsibilities

The main duties and responsibilities of the post are:

Leading and managing a software development team
  • Coach, develop and manage a team of software developers using Agile processes and reporting;
  • Provide expert technical advice and leadership in all aspects of Agile software development processes;
  • Provide technical advice to the Deputy Head of IS Office/Principal Developer to assist them in managing, evaluating and prioritising software development requests received through the IS Request System and delegate appropriately to staff in the Application Development Team;
Leading software development project
  • Meet with system stakeholders throughout the duration of a project to gather, develop and evaluate business requirements, agree on user and technical specifications, regularly update through review meetings and system demonstrations and seek final project sign-off;
  • Manage work to agreed plans and objectives with Assembly Members, Party Support and Assembly Commission staff;
  • Work collaboratively with the Business Relationship team to gather customer requirements;
  • Translate business requirements into technical specifications, user stories and work tasks for the Application Development Team;
  • Plan and lead the analysis of application features and groups of user stories using Agile processes;
  • Using Azure DevOps, plan and lead feature delivery in Agile sprints;
  • Plan and lead the design of software features, user stories and components using modelling techniques such as conceptual models, Data Flow diagrams and Object-Oriented Design Principles to agreed technical specifications;
  • Plan and lead the implementation and development of software features, user stories and components using the latest Microsoft technologies;
  • Plan and lead the testing of software components using C# unit testing;
  • Use Azure DevOps Test to create user acceptance and performance testing plans;
  • Plan and lead the review and documentation of software components using Azure DevOps;
  • Quality assuring the work of the Application Development Team to ensure they write clean, secure and effective code that adheres to software development policies, standards, and best practice guidelines, including version control management;
  • Oversee system integration of software components, including integration testing;
  • Using Azure DevOps Pipelines, create and manage build & release definitions to manage software builds and releases;
  • Work collaboratively with team members to share knowledge and experience in developing software components;
  • Work collaboratively with IT professionals in the Infrastructure and Service Desk teams to ensure the software is securely provisioned;
  • Assist the Deputy Head of IS Office/Principal Developer with capacity and resource planning through project assessments and regular project progress reports;
  • Using Azure DevOps, provide regular progress updates to the Deputy Head of IS Office/Principal Developer;
  • Provide technical advice, training and support on the use of bespoke business critical procedural applications, third-party software solutions and software packages to Assembly Members, Party Support and Assembly Commission staff to ensure the smooth running of Plenary and Committee business;
  • Provide first-line technical support of bespoke systems, corporate ICT systems and 3rd party software, prioritising business-critical procedural systems to ensure the smooth running of Plenary and Committee business by diagnosing and resolving bugs and software related issues effectively and efficiently to ensure full resolution of issues;
  • Perform project management duties for corporate and directorate software projects by fulfilling the role of technical assurance and project manager;
Database design
  • Oversee the design of database tables and relationships using Entity-Relationship models;
  • Oversee the implementation of database designs using the latest Microsoft SQL Server, Management Studio and SQL code;
Technical Support
  • Manage, develop and provide technical support and advice for cloud services such as Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Online, ensuring the business needs of Assembly Members, Party Support and Assembly Commission staff are met;
  • Perform the role of contract manager for software support contracts with 3rd party suppliers in line with procurement guidelines;
  • Investigate and analyse new software products, including the production of assessment reports and recommendations;
  • Provide consultancy for a wide range of ICT enabled activities within the organisation, including acting as an ICT expert on corporate & inter-Parliamentary working groups;
  • Establish, develop and maintain effective relationships with key stakeholders, including Assembly Members, business areas across the organisation and other ICT staff from the Northern Ireland Civil Service, non-departmental public bodies and other legislatures;
  • Assist the Head of IS Office and Deputy Head of IS Office/Principal Developer in the development and implementation of the digital strategy, relevant IT policy, standards and procedures;
  • Assist the Head of IS Office and Deputy Head of IS Office/Principal Developer in the development, implementation and monitoring of IT security measures, including cyber security;
  • Liaise with other IS Office staff in maintaining effective ICT services;
  • Provide technical support and advice for IS Office Service Desk staff when dealing with software-related problems;
  • Comply with all of the Assembly Commission’s staff policies and procedures, including Equal Opportunities and Dignity at Work policies and procedures; and
  • Undertake other duties that the Assembly Commission reasonably requires of you.

The Person

You will previously have led a team effectively and you should have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively as you carry out your new and important role.

You adopt a customer facing focus, as you engage with a wide range of persons involved within business at Parliament Buildings. 

Essential Criteria

Applicants for the post must, by the closing date for applications, have:

1. A Bachelor’s (or higher) Degree in Computing, Computing Science, Software Engineering or other discipline relevant to Information Systems / Information Technology *.


At least one year’s experience in leading and managing an application development team.


At least 2 years’ experience in each of the following areas:

a) Application Development, including Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 or later and C#.NET and ASP.NET programming skills.

b) Agile development using Azure DevOps or similar.

c) Database Design based on Microsoft SQL Server 2012 or later.


2. An HND or Foundation Degree in Computing or other discipline relevant to Information Systems / Information Technology*.


At least one year’s experience in leading and managing an application development team.


At least 3 years’ experience in each of the following areas:

a) Application Development, including Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 or later and C#.NET and ASP.NET programming skills.

b) Agile development using Azure DevOps or similar.

c) Database Design based on Microsoft SQL Server 2012 or later.

* NB Only those courses with a computing content of 50% or more will be considered relevant and the onus is on the applicant to clearly illustrate that their qualification meets the 50% criteria. Candidates must provide full details of their qualifications in their application.  Applicants should list all of the modules studied (including those with no computing content), and also briefly set out details of each of the relevant core modules detailed above and show that they add up to at least 50% of the total number of modules studied.

Assembly Skills & Behaviours

The following Assembly Skills and Behaviours will be assessed during the selection process:

Delivering a quality service

…is about providing a high-quality and efficient service to our customers. It is thinking ahead, managing resources effectively and delivering work on time and to a high standard. It is also using professional or technical expertise to enhance service delivery.

Building relationships and effective communication

…is creating and maintaining positive, professional and respectful internal and external working relationships through effective and appropriate communications.

Initiating improvement and delivering change

…is looking for and being open to new and innovative ideas and improvements to the service provided. It is being flexible and adapting positively and professionally to sustain performance when the situation changes, workloads increase or priorities change. It is about forming sound, evidence-based decisions and being accountable for results. 

Equal Opportunities Statement

The Assembly Commission is committed to equality of opportunity in employment and welcomes applications from all suitably qualified applicants irrespective of religious belief, political opinion, race, age, gender, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or people with dependents or without.

All applications for employment will be considered on the basis of merit.


The successful applicant will be based in Parliament Buildings, Belfast. Access to a form of transport is necessary as travel to MLA Constituency Offices located throughout Northern Ireland will be required from time to time.

The role offers hybrid working whereby staff will have the opportunity to work from home for part of the week.

Completing the form

Only the information presented in the application form will be considered by the selection panel. CVs or other supplementary material will not be accepted in place of, or in addition to, completed application forms. Completed online forms must be submitted by 12 noon (UK time) on 20 November 2023.

Launch the application portal and complete the application form.

Application forms submitted after the closing time and date will not be accepted. 

Recruitment and Selection Framework

There are five elements within the Recruitment and Selection Framework:

Experience – the knowledge or mastery of an activity or subject gained through involvement in or exposure to it.

Ability – the aptitude or potential to perform to the required standard.

Technical – the demonstration of specific professional skills, knowledge or qualifications.

Assembly Skills and Behaviours – the actions and activities that people do which result in effective performance in a job.

Strengths – the things we do regularly, do well and that motivate us.

The elements that will be assessed for this role are Experience, Technical and Assembly Skills and Behaviours and the selection method(s) that will be used are detailed below. Further information on the Recruitment and Selection Framework are included in the Guidance on Recruitment and Selection for Applicants.

Stages of the Selection Process

Eligibility Sift

The essential criteria reflect the experience and knowledge that an applicant must possess in order to be able to undertake the role. An eligibility sift will be carried out on the basis of the information contained in the essential criteria section of the application form. You must therefore demonstrate clearly in your form how, and to what extent, you meet the essential criteria for the post.

Interview Stage

The interview will assess the Essential Criteria and Assembly Skills and Behaviours described above.

Part of the interview process will be the delivery of a presentation. The subject of the presentation will be advised to the applicant on the day of the interview and the applicant will be expected to present information to the selection panel.

Interviews are planned for week commencing: Monday 04 December 2023

Further information on the Recruitment and Selection process is available in the Recruitment and Selection Framework and Guidance on Recruitment and Selection for Applicants.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

The Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS) supports applicants with disabilities or those with a long-term impairment or health condition, that is expected to last for at least 12 months and which means that they cannot meet the shortlisting criteria. In these instances, provided that they have demonstrated in their application form that they meet the essential criteria for the role, the applicant will be invited to interview. If you are applying under GIS it is therefore important that you include all relevant information in your application form. You should refer to the Guidance on Recruitment and Selection for Applicants for more information.

When considering applications made under GIS, the Human Resources Office reserves the right to request medical information from the applicant’s general practitioner (through the applicant and with their consent).

If you are disabled and consider that you require reasonable adjustments to enable you to participate in any part of the selection process, please indicate this on the application or contact us at

You can get advice or assistance with making an application from your local Jobs and Benefits Office – contact details are available on NIDirect:

Key Employee Benefits

We offer a competitive salary, excellent pension provision and generous annual leave allowance.

We also offer a range of non-salary benefits which include hybrid working; supportive family friendly policies; flexi-time; health and wellbeing initiatives including an Employee Assistance Programme; supported learning and development; Cycle to Work Scheme; Payroll Giving; and volunteering opportunities.

The successful applicant will be given suitable training, including formal specialised courses as necessary.

As an equal opportunities employer, we are happy to talk about the possibility of flexible working in this role with the successful applicant.

View further details of our employee benefits.

Terms and Conditions of Appointment

This is a permanent appointment. The successful candidate will be an employee of the Assembly Commission. All appointments are subject to the satisfactory completion of a six-month probationary period.

The standard working week is 37 hours, excluding meal breaks. Working hours will be dictated by the mode of operation of the Assembly and will involve work into late evenings and on occasions, at weekends and on public holidays.

Equality Monitoring

Under Fair Employment legislation, we are required to monitor the community background and gender of those applying for jobs. You must therefore complete the equal opportunities monitoring section of the application form when applying for the post.

Merit List

The merit list of applicants deemed to be appointable will remain “live” for 18 months from the date it is signed and may be used to fill any further permanent or fixed term opportunities for the same post.

Communication during the recruitment process

The Assembly Recruitment Team will issue most communication electronically. You should therefore regularly check your email account to make sure you do not miss any important communication. Please note, sometimes the Recruitment Team emails are automatically filtered as spam by email providers.

Further Information

If you require more information on the recruitment process, please contact the Assembly Recruitment Team on 02890 521699.

Further information about the Assembly can be obtained on the Northern Ireland Assembly website.

The Candidate Information Booklet does not constitute any term or condition of employment.