G7 Senior User Researcher

Home Office

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 12th February 2023



Reference number



£59,000 - £64,900
An additional allowance (RRA) of up to £6,000 is available for candidates with exceptional skills & experience.

Job grade

Grade 7

Contract type


Business area

HO - Digital Data and Technology

Type of role

Information Technology

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Part-time, Compressed Hours

Number of jobs available




Job summary

The Police Digital Service (PoDS) is a multidisciplinary team of digital professionals who support agile and user-centred design within the Home Office Law Enforcement Innovation portfolio.

We collaborate and deliver across the five major programmes of Policing-related work in the Home Office as well as the smaller programmes of work. These major programmes are:

• Law Enforcement Data Service (LEDS)
• Child Abuse Image Database (CAID)
• Emergency Services Mobile Communication Platform (ESMCP)
• Home Office Biometrics (HOB)
• National Automatic Number Plate Recognition Service (NAS)

The first duty of the government is to keep citizens safe and the country secure. The Home Office has been at the front line of this effort since 1782. As such, we play a fundamental role in maintaining the security and economic prosperity of the UK.

The Home Office leads on immigration and passports, refugee protection, counter-terrorism, policing, fire services, and crime and drugs policy.

Digital Data and Technology (DDaT) enables the Home Office to keep the UK safe and secure. We design and build the services that help people apply for visas or passports; support policing and counter-terrorism operations; and protect the UK’s borders.

This is an exciting time to be at the Home Office. You’ll have a chance to shape the future and support our mission to deliver exceptional public services that work for everyone.

Our work is guided by these principles:

• we put user needs first
• we value delivery and outcomes over process
• we work in the open

Our flexible working policy ensures a healthy work-life balance. We also nurture talent and offer a broad range of learning and development opportunities that will help you flourish in your role.

We work hard to maintain a positive working culture and are committed to helping you fulfil your potential. We value diversity and provide an open, inclusive and supportive environment to help you do your best work.

You can keep up-to-date with our work on the [Home Office DDaT blog.](https://hodigital.blog.gov.uk/)

We are looking for a skilled and experienced Senior User Researcher who is passionate about what they can bring to delivering better services at the Home Office and prepared to be a vocal advocate for user needs.

You will work within a fast-paced delivery team in Police and Public Protection - either across several smaller services or dedicated to one larger programme of work. Your research will inform policy, proposition, service, content and interaction design so that digital services work well for users and achieve their policy intent.

Job description

As a Senior User Researcher, you will plan and lead user research activities in large teams and on complex services. You will develop research strategy and test design, as well as leading on expansive discovery research and analysis within the broad problem space. You will lead research using a range of methods, including usability testing, contextual interviews, pop-up testing, and will lead on rapid analysis that involves the wider team whenever possible.

You will also carry out line management, mentoring, training and other activities designed to up-skill junior staff in primary research techniques, as well as recruitment activities to ensure that we continue to have the required skills within the organisation.

You’ll communicate insights from research in engaging and impactful ways to delivery teams and stakeholders to drive change and improve government services.

We’re looking for people who are collaborative, inclusive, open to their work being critiqued and who are empathetic towards their colleagues and users. A healthy balance of determinism and pragmatism will be needed on our complex services and products.

If you want to join us in keeping the UK safe and secure and ensuring that our services for migrants and asylum seekers are easier and simpler to use, apply now.

You can learn more about design and research in the Home Office on our blog. 

Person specification


Your main day-to-day responsibilities will include:

  • Leading the planning, design and execution of user research and usability testing to understand user needs and behaviours and inform the design and development of government services
  • Influencing how decisions are made and constructively challenging ways of thinking at both the team and senior stakeholder level
  • Leading other user researchers within a digital delivery team, mentoring and up-skilling researchers and supporting the growth and development of the team
  • Taking a user centred, evidence-based approach by turning user research findings into actionable insights that influence service/product development
  • Supporting digital delivery teams to build accessible digital services by ensuring that participants with access needs and low digital skills are included in all research
  • Sharing insights from research and examples of best practice where they can help other researchers across the Home Office
  • Aligning user research activities with wider organisational objectives to provide strategic insights that inform policy and proposition

You will also be expected to carry out the following day to day activities:

  • Presenting research findings and related recommendations to senior decision makers across government
  • Identifying, mitigating or escalating risks to conducting and implementing research.

Essential Skills

You’ll have a demonstrable passion for user-centred design, with the following skills or some experience in:

  • Understanding and applying a range of user research methods correctly for different life cycle phases, and advising others on these methods
  • Communicating insights from research in a clear and impactful way that drives change in the design of services and informs policy and proposition
  • Establishing an effective user centred design culture in a team, and supporting them to embed user centred design practices into their agile workflow
  • ­Convincing senior stakeholders about the benefits of adopting a user-centred approach, based on evidence
  • Establishing and applying ethical research standards and practices to ensure the safeguarding and wellbeing of participants and researchers
  • Researching diverse audiences to help teams deliver accessible and inclusive digital services

Our skills align with the cross gov DDaT Capability Framework​​

Digital, Data and Technology Profession Capability Framework - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

Desirable Skills 

Ideally, you will also have the following skills or some experience in:

  • Line managing, coaching and mentoring to develop skills of team members
  • Building and leading a team
  • Working autonomously, while managing multiple deadlines and responding to changing priorities
  • Engaging colleagues who are less familiar with user centred design
  • Familiarity with the Government Service Standard


Desirable but not essential: A degree in HCI/ Cognitive Psychology/ Anthropology/ Sociology/ Computer Science or related field, and/or relevant industry experience.

Candidates reaching the required standard and attending the final interview, will be assessed using technical and experience-based questions. Technical level definitions can be found via www.gov.uk/guidance/user-researcher

Technical skills

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

  • Research
  • Analysis and synthesis
  • User-centred and Agile practices

You’ll be set-up for hybrid working from day one:

  • We work a minimum of 40% if our week in an office (two-days if you are full-time, pro-rata for part-timers) and remote the rest of the week

You can help shape how we do design and research

  • We support our community to become practice leads to pursue work which provides value to the wider community. We currently have practice leads in diversity and inclusion, sustainability, design ethics, and workshopping

You are supported by a government leading UCD Operations Team:

  • We have a team of passionate people who help support designers and researchers with tools, recruitment support, professional onboarding, guidance and our research library

Lots of ways to learn and develop

  • In addition to our online training catalogue with O’Reilly and connections with professional training providers, we also offer peer learning, a comprehensive induction, and time to volunteer or do charity work

You’ll also have access to the same benefits available to all civil servants in the Home Office:

  • An in-year performance bonus scheme
  • A Civil Service pension with employer contribution rates of between 26.6% and 30.3%, depending upon salary
  • 25 days annual leave on appointment, plus 8 days public holidays and 1 day for the King’s Birthday, rising further with service
  • Flexible working options to enable you to achieve the work life balance that right for you including part-time, flexi time and job sharing
  • Training and development opportunities tailored to your role
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • Season ticket loans and rental deposit loans
  • Cycle to work and payroll giving
  • Employee discounts - including a huge number of retailers, Microsoft Home Use programme and gym membership
  • A variety of staff recognition schemes including thank you vouchers
  • Health and wellbeing initiatives including monthly mindfulness sessions
  • Staff support networks
  • Maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks full pay followed by 13 weeks of statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid
  • Maternity and adoption support leave (paternity leave) of 2 weeks full pay
  • Up to five days paid leave for volunteering
  • Study leave and support for studying for a qualification or other accredited development relevant to your role.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Experience and Technical skills.

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV and statement of suitability (Max 750 Word Limit).

Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

The statement of suitability should explain your motivation for applying to this role and offer evidence how you meet the essential criteria listed on the job specification.

The sift will be based on the CV and the suitability statement.

If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to an interview and will be assessed on a combination of experience and technical ability. You will also be asked to conduct a 10-minute Presentation. The Presentation topic will be sent out with the interview invite.

Sift and interview dates

The sift will commence from week commencing 13th February 2023

Interviews are expected to take place from week commencing 13th March 2023 (subject to change).

We are closely monitoring the situation regarding Coronavirus, and will be following Central Government advice as it is issued, as such you will be invited to attend a video interview Microsoft Teams.

We will try to meet the dates set out in the advert. There may be occasions when these dates will change. You will be provided with sufficient notice of the confirmed dates.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to time constraints we may not be able to offer alternative interview date(s). It is therefore expected that candidates who are successful at sift stage will make themselves available during the above time frame given.

Further Information

Please read the essential skills for this position carefully. We will only consider those who meet the listed requirement.

If you have previously made an unsuccessful application for a role with the same essential skills and are not able to demonstrate how you have developed these skills since your last application please reconsider applying as your application is unlikely to be successful.

For meaningful checks to be carried out, individuals need to have lived in the UK for a sufficient period of time to enable appropriate checks to be carried out and produce a result which provides the required level of assurance. You should normally have been resident in the United Kingdom for the last 5 years for SC clearance and 10 years for DV. A lack of UK residency in itself is not necessarily a bar to a security clearance and applicants should contact the Vacancy Holder/Recruiting Manager listed in the advert for further advice.

Higher Security Clearance:

This post requires the successful candidate to hold security clearance at minimum SC level (normally requiring a five year UK footprint). Job offers to this post are made on the basis of merit. Security vetting will only take place after the receipt of a job offer.

Visa Sponsorship Statement

Please take note that the Home Office DDaT does not hold a UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) Skilled Worker License and are unable to sponsor any individuals via Skilled Worker Sponsorship / Tier 2 (General) work visa.

This post is eligible for a DDaT Recruitment Retention Allowance. Successful candidate with exceptional skills and experience may apply for a Recruitment and Retention Allowance up to a maximum of £6,000. This allowance is subject to an initial review within six months of taking up the post and thereafter an annual review in line with the departmental priorities and could be reduced or withdrawn at any time.

This role can be based in any of the advertised location/regions, with an occasional travel required. You will be located in a regional office and under Home Office hybrid working practices you will be required to attend a Home Office workplace on an average of 40% of your working hours. Successful candidates will be able to obtain further information from their line manager. 

A reserve list of successful candidates will be kept for 12 months. Should another role become available within that period you may be offered this position.  

We often have similar roles available at different grades. If a candidate is suitable for a similar role or a lower grade than they have applied for, we may offer the candidate that role without the need to go through a further selection process providing the role has the same behaviours and essential skills.  

Every day, Home Office civil servants do brilliant work to develop and deliver policies and services that affect the lives of people across the country and beyond. To do this effectively and fairly, the Home Office is committed to representing modern Britain in all its diversity, and creating a welcoming, inclusive workplace where all our people are able to bring their whole selves to work and perform at their best.

We are flexible, skilled, professional and diverse. We work to recruit and retain disabled staff and area Disability Confident Leader. We are proud to be one of the most ethnically diverse departments in the civil service. We are Stonewall top 100 Workplace Equality Employer and a Social Mobility Foundation top 75 employer.
New entrants are expected to join on the minimum of the pay band.
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.

For further information please see the attached notes for candidates which must be read before making an application.
Existing Civil Servants should note that some of the Home Office terms and conditions of employment have changed. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure they are aware of the Terms and Conditions they will adopt should they be successful in application and should refer to the notes for candidates for further details.
Transfer Terms: Voluntary.
If you are invited to an interview you will be required to bring a range of documentation for the purposes of establishing identity and to aid any pre-employment checks.
Please see the attached list of Home Office acceptable ID documents.

Any move to the Home Office 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 at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk 

Reasonable Adjustments
If a person with disabilities is at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.
If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:
• Contact Government Recruitment Service via HOrecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk 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
If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the ‘Contact point for applicants’ section.

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


Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is security check.

See our vetting charter.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

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.
The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.
This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans initiative.
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 : Ruth Christy
  • Email : OptimusACRecruitment@homeoffice.gov.uk

Recruitment team :

  • Email : HOrecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Further information

If you feel that your application has not been treated in accordance with the recruitment principles, and wish to make a complaint, then you should contact in the first instance HORecruitment.GRS@cabinetoffice.gov.uk If you are not satisfied with the response that you receive, then you can contact the Civil Service Commission.

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