Behavioural Insights and Trials Advisor

HM Revenue and Customs

Apply before 11:55 pm on Friday 22nd October 2021


Reference number



£37,606 - £40,911
This is HMRC's London based pay scale for this grade.


Higher Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area

HMRC - CS&TD - Customer Insight & Design

Type of role

Customer Insight
Knowledge and Information Management
Operational Research
Project Delivery
Social Research

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Number of posts



14 Westfield Avenue, Stratford, London, E20 1HZ; 1 Ruskin Square, Croydon, CR0 2WF

About the job


About HMRC

At HMRC we are committed to creating a great place to work for all our colleagues; an inclusive and respectful environment that reflects the diversity of the society we serve.

We want to maximise the potential of everyone who chooses to work for us and we offer a range of flexible working patterns and support to make a fulfilling career at HMRC accessible to you.

Diverse perspectives and experiences are critical to our success and we welcome applications from all people from all backgrounds with the experience and skills needed to perform this role.

HMRC is the UK's tax, payments and customs authority with a vital purpose of collecting the money that pays for our public services and provides financial support to people. Our vision is to be a trusted, modern tax and customs department and it’s our job to make it easy for customers to get tax right, and hard for anyone to bend or break the rules.

About the Team

HMRC’s Behaviour, Insight, and Research team is a large, diverse, and multidisciplinary team of around 60 analysts, behavioural specialists, and researchers. We are proud of our supportive and friendly working environment, and we encourage applications from candidates of all backgrounds and working patterns.

We are looking for a Behavioural Insight and Trials Advisor to join our 15-20 strong group of behavioural specialists that makes up the largest behavioural insight function in UK government. Our team is an international leader in applying behavioural insights to tax, savings, and financial decision-making. We work to boost revenue to fund vital public services and improve the experience for all of HMRC’s customers - from the largest businesses to the most vulnerable individuals.

Job description

About the role

The successful candidate will support on a range of behavioural insights projects across different subject areas, including prioritising, problem solving, behavioural diagnosis, intervention design, qualitative and quantitative analysis, and reporting. As the team functions like an internal consultancy, forming collaborations with senior partners and communicating results with influence and impact are core components of the role.


The role can be adapted to the strengths and interests of the successful candidate. Key responsibilities are likely to include:

• Using theory, evidence, and primary research to diagnose behavioural problems and design and implement creative behavioural interventions.
• Conducting behavioural field evaluations, such as randomised controlled trials (RCTs), including analysis and reporting of data.
• Building and maintaining excellent stakeholder relationships internally, externally, and sometimes internationally.
• Providing pragmatic behavioural advice to address varied challenges across tax, savings, communications, and customer experience.
• Communicating and presenting evidence/recommendations clearly and persuasively.

Essential Criteria:

• Strong understanding of behavioural insights theory and how it can be applied to address real-world problems.
• Ability to communicate clearly and persuasively, both in writing and verbally.
• Ability to bring creative ideas to life, from planning through to delivery
• Knowledge of qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods.
• Understanding of the ethical considerations of applying behavioural insights.
• A degree in behavioural science or a related discipline - Related disciplines include psychology, cognitive science, sociology, economics, political science, social research, or another degree with a behavioural element.

We can be flexible about the degree requirement if a candidate has significant relevant work experience. Please contact the vacancy holder for more information.

Desirable Criteria:

In addition, we consider it desirable for the candidate to demonstrate at least some of the following criteria. Please note that we do not expect candidates to demonstrate all these criteria, and the successful applicant will be supported to develop their skills once in post.

• Ability in visual design, prototyping, and/or interaction design
• Experience of qualitative research, such as focus groups, depth interviews, or digital User Research
• Ability in statistics, including inferential analyses and/or linear and logistic regressions.
• Understanding of segmentation, machine learning, or predictive modelling
• Knowledge about tax administration or financial decision making

Experience with any of the following software packages:

• Digital data tools: Google Analytics, Splunk
• Statistical analysis: SAS, SPSS, Stata, R
• Visual design: Adobe Creative Cloud
• General: Microsoft Office Suite

Please note that we are also recruiting for similar roles at different grade levels. If you are uncertain which grade would be the best fit for your experience and skills, please review the attachment which contains a table outlining our other roles and expectations. You can also contact the vacancy holder who will be able to advise.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Making Effective Decisions


• Learning and development tailored to your role
• An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension

Team members that are moving offices as a result of the Locations Programme will be entitled to a Moves Adjustment Payment for three years where they incur additional costs. This is calculated based on the difference between the costs of travelling to and from the new and old office, over a weekly period. You will get more detail on this as part of targeted locations move communications.

Find more about HMRC benefits in 'Your little extras booklet' for further information

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths and Experience.
We have taken steps to ensure that the recruitment process is as accessible and straightforward as possible. There isn’t a “typical candidate” that we are looking for, and we welcome applicants of all backgrounds and interests who meet the minimum essential criteria.

As part of the application process, you will be asked to provide a CV and a 1000 word statement of suitability.

Your CV is requested for information only, and will not be scored.

Within your statement of suitability, the 1st 500 words should explain how you meet the essential and desirable criteria. Desirable criteria will only be scored in a tie break situation.

The 2nd 500 words should be a proposal on how you would use behavioural insights to address a given policy challenge, and how you would evaluate it. You can choose one of the following policy challenges:

• Encourage customers who have registered for self-assessment for the first time to file their tax return on time
• Encourage customers who need to update their tax code to do it online rather than by phone

Both parts will be weighted equally, and one score provided.

If you successfully proceed to the interview stage, you will be asked to give a short presentation on your proposal.

In addition, you will be assessed on your Strengths and the following Civil Service Behaviours:

1. Making Effective Decisions
2. Communicating and Influencing

More information can be found in the Civil Service Behaviours Framework and the Civil Service Strengths Dictionary.

This is an example of a strengths-based question:

“It is often said that the customer's needs should come first. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?”

There is no expectation or requirement for you to prepare for the strengths-based questions in advance of the interview, though you may find it helpful to spend some time reflecting on what you enjoy doing and what you do well.

Interviews will take place via video link. Sift and interview dates to be confirmed.

Please take extra care to tick the correct boxes in the eligibility sections of your application form. We understand mistakes sometimes happen but if you contact us later than 48hours before the vacancy closes, we will not be able to reopen your application for you. The inbox to contact is: Use subject line to insert appropriate wording eg. Please re-open my application - 155809 & vacancy closing date 22.10.2021.

Security Update

If you are successful and transferring from another Government Department, we will carry out a check of your identity, nationality, and immigration status (including the right to work in the UK) and a criminal record check before confirming your appointment.

Successful candidates must pass a Disclosure and Barring Security Check. Please note that HMRC have an exemption under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, which enables us to make enquiries about both unspent and spent convictions.

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstances some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing stating the job reference number in the subject heading.

Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening, subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

A candidate is not eligible to apply for a role within the Civil Service if the application is made within a 5 year period following a dismissal for carrying out internal fraud against government.

HMRC transformation

HM Revenue and Customs is currently going through an exciting ten-year transformation programme to create a tax authority fit for the future. As part of this, we are committed to providing high-quality jobs and giving employees a great place to work, whichever location you work from.

HM Revenue and Customs has made significant progress with its plans to locate in 13 large, modern, flexible offices, equipped with high-speed digital infrastructure supporting improved customer service and compliance activity. These collaborative workspaces will enable smarter working and great training and development facilities, allowing for the sharing of expertise, local training, promotion, and provide great ongoing career development opportunities.

These offices will be located in central locations in the following towns and cities close to accessible transport links: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Croydon and Stratford. Our Regional Centres in Croydon, Bristol and Belfast are already operational.

In addition, there will also be a small number of specialist sites where the work cannot be done anywhere else, in Gartcosh (near Glasgow), Telford, Ipswich, Worthing and Dover, as well as our headquarters in central London. What’s more, our Welsh language service has people located in Porthmadog, as well as Cardiff.

We are letting you know about our future plans because if you are recruited into an office that is not one of these locations, you will be expected, subject to HM Revenue and Customs applicable policies, to move to one of these locations in the future. In some cases, this will be via one of our nine transitional sites.

If you are not a current civil servant, you will not be eligible for financial assistance for your move to the regional centre or a transitional or specialist site.

If you are a current HM Revenue and Customs employee and you joined us through an advert that was advertised on or after 11/01/2017, you will not be eligible for financial assistance for your move to a regional centre, a transitional site or a specialist one. This is in line with the terms of your original appointment to HM Revenue and Customs.

For more information please contact the vacancy holder.

Terms and Conditions

We really hope you decide to apply for this role. If you’re successful you need to know that in February 2021 members of recognised trade unions (ARC and PCS) voted to approve a pay and contract reform offer. This means that HMRC will adopt new terms and conditions for all colleagues as part of a multi-year pay deal and contract offer, the pay deal period is 01 June 2020 – 31st May 2023 and terms and conditions changes take place from the 01 June 2021 onwards. These terms will apply to colleagues who already work in HMRC and if you join us, it will apply to you too. We’ve put together a summary of the key changes that will be made and you can find this attached to the Job Advert.


If you are currently working for an OGD and would like to consider the impact on your pay when joining HMRC, please see the attached document "Pay on Transfer from OGD" for further information. (Please note the attached document could also be called “Combined T&C and OGD Pay English”)

New entrants are expected to join on the minimum of the pay band.

Further Information

Customer facing roles in HMRC require the ability to converse at ease with members of the public and provide advice in accurate spoken English and/or Welsh where required. Where this is an essential requirement this will be tested as part of the selection process.

A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made.

Any move to HMRC from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility here

HMRC welcomes applications from those who need to work a more flexible arrangement and will agree to requests where possible, taking into account our operational and customer service needs. We can’t guarantee that we can meet all requests to work flexibly, as agreement will be subject to business ability to accommodate, and any request to work a more flexible arrangement should be made prior to your acceptance of the provisional offer.

If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the 'Contact point for applicants' section.

Reasonable adjustment

We want to make sure no one is put at a disadvantage during our recruitment process because of a disability, condition or impairment. To assist you with this, we will reduce or remove any barriers where possible and provide additional support where appropriate. Please see our Disability Matters: How we can support you during our selection process booklet for more details.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

• Contact Government Recruitment Service via as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.
• Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals
Further information on nationality requirements

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :
Name :  Luke Erskine
Email :
Telephone :  03000559057
Recruitment team :
Email :

Further information

Appointment to the Civil Service is governed by the Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles. You have the right to complain if you feel a department has breached the requirement of the Recruitment Principles. In the first instance, you should raise the matter directly with the department concerned via If you are not satisfied with the response, you may bring your complaint to the Commission. For further information on bringing a complaint to the Civil Service Commission please visit their web pages:

Share this page