About the job
It’s a fascinating time to be at the heart of competition and consumer protection, as our lives become increasingly digital and as we grapple as a society with the unique power of large technology firms.
Most of us in the UK use digital products and services every day whether to search, connect with family and friends, to shop or to work. And similarly, businesses advertise or sell their products digitally. We receive these products and services from firms who often use AI, machine learning or other algorithms and a range of other technologies. It is vital that agencies charged with protecting consumers and our economy keep up to speed with technological developments and develop tools to prevent and remedy harm.
How can competition and consumer protection agencies effectively interrogate and understand firms’ machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms? To what extent should we monitor emerging technologies and oversee their use? If you are excited about answering these questions, this could be the role for you.
The CMA established the new Data, Technology and Analytics (DaTA) unit in early 2019, to increase its digital capabilities and support its work. In early 2020 the DaTA unit created a Data and Technology Insight team to support cases through an understanding of technology and to monitor and build understanding of emerging technologies. This team will be growing in the next few months to 10 people. And in January 2021 the DaTA unit launched the Analysing Algorithms programme to understand and interrogate firms’ use of algorithms within existing cases and as well as developing new cases.
We are looking for someone to lead these important areas of work and be an integral member of the leadership team of the DaTA unit.
As Director of Algorithm Assessment and Technology Insight, you will lead the CMA’s Analysing Algorithms programme and oversee the growing Data and Technology Insight team and some data science (depending on your background). Your responsibilities will include:
• Leading cases that involve analysing algorithms and building the CMA’s algorithmic analysis toolkit
• Overseeing data and technology input into competition and consumer protection cases
• Monitoring and building understanding of emerging technologies
You will represent the DaTA unit internally at the CMA and externally, building relationships with academics and key industry figures to ensure the CMA is close to and up to date on the latest thinking.
The unit is world-leading within competition and consumer agencies and there is a substantial opportunity to make a difference. You can shape how the CMA and others – academics, other regulators domestically and internationally, consumer organisations, the OECD – think about AI, data and technology. And you can affect which issues the CMA addresses and through cases, directly protect consumers and prevent harm.
We are looking for the successful candidate to have a proven track record of delivering programmes and projects in technology policy, data science or another relevant field. And you will have knowledge of the use of data and technology based on a mix of work experience or formal learning. This could be a master’s degree in a quantitative subject such as computer science, applied mathematics, physics, the life sciences or economics with relevant work experience of algorithms or of new and emerging technologies. Or you might have a PhD and less work experience, a bachelor’s degree and more experience, or no quantitative degree but on-the-job technical learning.
The successful candidate must have a strong ability to shape projects analysing data or technology – including learning new techniques as needed - and a proven track record of ensuring high standards and project delivery.
You will have experience of providing strong and inspirational management, leadership and development to a technical team in a high pace environment.
You must also have high quality stakeholder management and the ability and confidence to network and build relationships with leading technologists in industry and other senior decision-makers, as well as excellent communication skills with the ability to write reports and articles, and to deliver presentations to non-technical audiences.
Lastly, you will have ability to create an environment that celebrates diversity and inclusion and promotes a culture of respect towards colleagues at all levels
Responsibilities• Lead the CMA’s analysing algorithms programme, working with the unit’s technology insight advisers and data scientists. The programme includes analysing firms’ algorithmic systems, including through the use of the CMA’s information gathering powers to identify where they may be harmful to consumers or competition.
• Work with other agencies on the oversight of algorithms including running the algorithmic processing workstream of the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum and working with other regulators, the Office for AI and the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation on how AI systems should be regulated in the UK. This will include knowledge sharing with other competition and consumer agencies worldwide.
• Work with the Digital Markets Unit (the new unit established in the CMA to oversee the regulation of large technology firms) to determine how to monitor the compliance of the algorithmic systems of large technology firms with new requirements.
• Manage three or four Assistant Directors including the Head of Data and Technology Insight.
• Contribute an understanding of how to build knowledge on key technologies, for use in digital cases, and help drive the CMA’s understanding of how evolving and emerging technologies may affect consumers and competition.
• Build a programme of horizon-scanning and insight into emerging technologies, working with the Head of Data and Technology Insight and the Digital Markets Unit which leads on understanding digital markets, establishing the CMA’s credibility and expertise in this area.
• Ensure delivery of projects, working with the unit’s project managers who will support you, and oversee quality assurance for those projects.
• Represent the unit internally, working closely with lawyers, economists and other professionals, communicating well to non-technical audiences.
• Develop team members by identifying skills needed and development options.
• Network with industry and academia, representing the CMA and making sure that the organisation understands key emerging issues in technology.
• Identify important issues that CMA could address and work with colleagues to develop a pipeline of cases.
• Identify, deliver and promote thought leadership for the CMA – e.g. articles, blogs or external presentations – based on the unit’s contribution to cases, or original research.
We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:
- Communicating and Influencing
- Working Together
- Changing and Improving
We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:
- Use of data and techology/Data analysis/Algorithm assessment
All CMA employees enjoy the following benefits package:
• An excellent pension scheme with generous employer contributions
• 25 days leave (increasing to 30 days over five years)
• Favourable consideration of flexible working
• Generous maternity/paternity leave provision
• Interest-free season ticket loans
• A supportive employee assistance programme
• Cycle to work scheme
Any move to the CMA 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 https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.”
We follow the Senior Civil Service Pay Rules for civil servants who secure a SCS role at the CMA, including existing CMA staff. So, successful civil servants will retain their existing SCS salary or move to the advertised salary minimum if appointed to a SCS role on level transfer, whichever is the greater. If promoted to a new SCS role, they will receive a 10% pay increase or move to the advertised salary minimum, whichever is the greater.
Applicants new to the civil service may be considered for appointment at a salary higher than the advertised salary minimum depending on skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications.
During the Covid-19 pandemic period, CMA staff have been required to work from home to continue delivering our objectives. The CMA, like many other organisations, will move to a hybrid working model with a mix of office and home working. We believe this supports us to deliver our best work while allowing the flexibility to maintain balanced and healthy lives. Our staff work at least 50% of their time from their office location.
The CMA are fully committed to being an inclusive employer and ensuring equal opportunities. It is a priority to make our workforce as diverse as possible and we welcome applications from under-represented groups, including ethnically diverse people, people with a disability, and people with diverse gender identities.
The CMA is an accredited Disability Confident Employer and are Stonewall Diversity Champions. Disabled applicants meeting the minimum criteria for the job will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities at an interview.
We are committed to growing our presence outside of London, which means that there may be an opportunity for this position to be based in Manchester.
Things you need to know
Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Selection process details
This vacancy is using Success Profiles
, and will assess your Behaviours, Experience and Technical skills.
As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV, personal statement and an online application form. Further details about application requirements are listed on the application form.
The selection process will comprise of the sift (CV & application review), a first stage and second stage interview. Arrangements for the interview stages will be enclosed in the invitations. Interviews will be conducted virtually, by Microsoft Teams.
When completing your written application, please ensure you provide evidence, metrics, and examples (as far as you are able), in response to the Essential Criteria below, and against which your application will be assessed. The successful candidate must be willing to achieve SC Clearance.
• A proven track record of delivering programmes and projects in technology policy, data science or another relevant field.
• Knowledge of the use of data and technology based on a mix of work experience or formal learning. This could be a master’s degree in a quantitative subject such as computer science, applied mathematics, physics, the life sciences or economics with relevant work experience of algorithms or of new and emerging technologies. Or you might have a PhD and less work experience, a bachelor’s degree and more experience, or no quantitative degree but on-the-job technical learning.
• A strong ability to shape projects analysing data or technology – including learning new techniques as needed - and a proven track record of ensuring high standards and project delivery
• Experience and skill providing strong and inspirational management, leadership and development to a technical team in a fast-paced environment
• High quality stakeholder management and the ability and confidence to network and build relationships with leading technologists in industry and other senior decision-makers
• Ability to write reports and articles and to deliver presentations to non-technical audiences
• Ability to create an environment that celebrates diversity and inclusion and promotes a culture of respect towards colleagues at all levels
The closing date for applications is Monday 24 January 2022 (11.55pm).
We cannot accept applications submitted after the closing date and time.
Full details of the recruitment process are contained within the attached candidate pack.
The first shortlisting meeting is scheduled for w/c 24 January 2022.
Candidates successful at the shortlisting stage will be invited to a first interview and asked to prepare a presentation on a related subject for which advanced preparation will be required. Candidates will be invited to deliver their presentation to the panel and follow up questions will be asked and assessed. At this first interview, candidates will be assessed on both their technical knowledge and the ‘Communicating and Influencing’ behaviour. Full details will be provided with the interview invite.
First interviews are scheduled to take place w/c 7 February 2022 via Teams.
Candidates successful at the first interview will be invited to a second interview and asked to participate in an Individual Leadership Assessment (ILA) which is a one-to-one psychological assessment of candidates in recruitment and selection for Senior Civil Service (SCS) roles. Candidates will complete a range of questionnaires on-line, the outputs of which are explored during a structured interview of approximately 1-2 hours with an assessor. The ILA must occur prior to interviews taking place. The assessment does not lead to a pass or fail decision; rather, it is intended to highlight areas of strength and possible concerns which the panel can probe at interview. The ILA Assessments have been scheduled to take place from 14 February to 25 February 2022.
(Please note that where an individual has been assessed for an individual leadership assessment via Civil Service Resourcing and applies for another SCS post at the same pay band within a two year period, it is now policy to automatically re-use the original report).
Second interviews are planned to take place from w/c 28 February 2022 via Microsoft Teams. Full details of the second interview format will be included with the invite.
Please note that these dates are only indicative at this stage and could be subject to change. If you are unable to meet these time frames, please let us know in your application.
If successful you must hold, or be willing to obtain, security clearance to SC level and possibly DV level.
Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.
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.
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If your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, you should contact Recruitment@cma.gov.uk in the first instance. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive you can contact the Civil Service Commission http://civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk.