Head of Service Design

Home Office

Closing date: 27 Nov 2017

Reference number



£59,093 - £68,547 National (+ up to £12,000 RRA*) - £64,178 - £74,446 London (+ up to £12,000 RRA*)


Grade 6

Contract type


Business area

Home Office - Capabilities and Resources - Home Office Digital Data & Technology

Type of role


Working pattern



36 /37 hours per week

Number of posts



Croydon or Sheffield. There will be some expectation of travel to London/Croydon 2-3 days per week

About the job

Job description

The Role

We’re looking for a Head of Service Design to help the Home Office and other parts of government design and deliver joined up, end to end services. This includes designing the environment, standards, patterns and structures to support better service design by everyone, and leading and growing a team of what is currently nine specialist service designers. This is a senior role in one of the largest government departments with enough autonomy to do the kind of work we hope you’ve always wanted to do.

About the Home Office

The Home Office works on important public services. Services like getting or renewing a passport, getting permission to come to or stay longer in the UK, entering the country or returning to it.

We work on problems such as how people prove their identity, how to get the permission they need to do something and what the people providing services need to do their work more efficiently. We design with data and we build platforms, registers and other building blocks of good services. The organisation values user centred design with a team of more than 70 people specialising in content design, user research, interaction design, service design and graphic design.

About the Service Design Team

The Service Design team at the Home Office works alongside user researchers, product managers, policy advisors, strategists, architects, developers and many others to re-design and build effective and efficient services. We’re part of a wider community of over 800 designers working in the UK government.


You will:

- provide service design leadership and direction at the Home Office and contribute more widely to the future of service design across government.

- work closely with other government departments for a cohesive approach to service design as well as to design services that need to work across departments where necessary.

- prioritise understanding the needs and behaviour of users and help teams use this insight to underpin and drive the work they do.

- provide leadership, support and recruitment for a small team of experienced service designers.

- raise awareness and visibility of what good services and good service design looks like, mentor and coach individuals, service teams and other parts of the organisation, including how to design accessible digital services.

- support wider awareness and education efforts across the department through training and workshops to help everyone design better services or to make better decisions that influence services.

- understand and/or challenge the broader context and rationale for services as well as the finer detail.

- help others to think through, communicate and help people understand how things could be, using various approaches such as sketches, scenarios, diagrams.

- help others to analyse failure within a service, identify root causes for that failure, frame problems and identify desired outcomes and key measures.

- synthesise multiple inputs or views of the world, such as user research, operational insight, data trends and patterns, organisational intent and technical architecture and wrangle it all in to a coherent vision of what actually needs to happen and why, using this to help align the work of multiple teams and individuals.

- share valuable and reusable insight and experience with the wider community and represent government design internally and externally at conferences.

Essential Skills

You will:

- be an experienced design leader with a strong user centred design practitioner background, skilled in inspiring and leading change within an organisation.

- have experience and evidence of designing or re-designing good services and/or helping others to do so.

- have good knowledge of digital approaches and technology to understand how services can work better, able to help others expand their knowledge.

- have a related degree and/or relevant industry experience.

- be able to prototype services or parts of them and create diagrams that clearly communicate services or situations.

Desirable skills

- be familiar with wider government strategy and position around digital and design.

- know how to make services accessible to the greatest range of people and needs.

- be able to influence the work or thinking of others in a constructive way, presenting information and arguments clearly and convincingly.

- be experienced with user centred design in an agile environment as well as how to use hypotheses in design, make evidence based design decisions and facilitate others in an organisation to do so.


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

  • Leading and communicating
  • Seeing the big picture
  • Delivering at pace

Civil Service Competency Framework



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.


In addition to clear professional rewards and a competitive salary the Home Office offer a generous benefits package.


Successful candidates with exceptional skills & experience may be paid at the top end of the salary scale and may also receive a Recruitment & Retention Allowance (RRA). This allowance is dependent on skills and experience which will be assessed against the Recruitment & Retention Allowance criteria at interview. This allowance is subject to annual review in line with departmental priorities and could be reduced or withdrawn at any time.

Things you need to know


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

Nationality statement

Candidates will be subject to UK immigration requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules.

If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.

Selection process details

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV and personal statement and attach a link to design portfolio work examples. Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

Personal statement should demonstrate your suitability, setting out how you meet the essential criteria for this role as stated in the advert.

Please attach a link to a few samples of work that indicate your background experience of service design in particular. Although this role is a leadership role it’s important to us that the Head of Service Design has had a user centred design practitioner background. It’s okay to use or include examples of design leadership and for practical examples to therefore be of older work.

A review of your CV, personal statement and portfolio will be carried out against the essential skills and experience criteria. The applications that demonstrate the strongest evidence of the essential criteria will be progressed to the next stage.

Candidates will then be invited to interview, where you will be required to provide evidence as to how you meet the skills, experience and competencies detailed above. Interviews may include an additional service design skills assessment or presentation exercise.

At interview we will be assessing your application for the role you apply for but you may have the option for your application to be judged against other or lower level roles with a similar skill set.

You will be required to bring with you to interview evidence of any qualifications or certifications that you hold that are relevant to the role.

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

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.


Candidates in their probationary period are eligible to apply for vacancies within this department.

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 equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Contact point for applicants

For further information on the role or support with the application process please contact Cynthia Powell at Cynthia.Powell9@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Sift/interview dates and location

Sift date to be confirmed.

Interviews late November 2017.

Location of interviews is still to be confirmed but these will take place in Home Office main office locations in Croydon and London.

Further information

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

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.

If we receive applications from more suitable candidates than we have vacancies at this time, we may hold suitable applicants on a reserve list for 12 months, and future vacancies in the Civil Service requiring the same skills and experience could be offered to candidates on the reserve list without a new competition.

If you are successful at interview stage and are recommended for the role, you will need to undergo pre-employment checks, including references and a basic security check prior to appointment. For all roles you will be required to undergo and be able to obtain security clearance to SC level before starting the role.

Home Office cannot reimburse candidates for any expenses incurred for travel to attend interviews.

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 interview you will be required to present your current valid passport together with a range of other forms of identification at interview.

Reasonable adjustment

If a person with disabilities is put 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:
• approach the point of contact in the job advert 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.

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