Head of Data Science and Engineering

UK Hydrographic Office

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 20th June 2021


Reference number



£67,250 - £70,302
In addition to the salary this role also attracts a possible recruitment and retention allowance of up to £10,000 pa subject to skills and experience.


Grade 6

Contract type


Business area

UKHO - Technology

Type of role

Architecture and Data
Operational Delivery
Project Delivery
Senior leadership

Working pattern

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

Number of posts



South West

About the job


As the Head of Data Science and Engineering you will be responsible for the technical delivery of data science and data engineering work across the UKHO.

You will work on developing an inclusive internal capability as well as working with external companies and resources to deliver transformational change. The data science team is focused on developing and running data science analysis from real use cases around the business and wider marine geospatial customer needs.

This is a specialist role which requires excellent technical capability along with excellent leadership. You will be recognised for your ability to lead and develop those around you in an empathetic and inclusive manner.

There is an expectation that you will collaborate on the technical work of the teams. Your role will be one of inspirational and supportive leadership to the team, setting the vision, prioritising the work, and upping the knowledge and technical capability of the data science function.

To succeed in this role, you will need to engage widely both internally within UKHO, and on the global stage with scientific collaborations; with Defence and wider government; and through academia and private industry to the oceanographic, maritime, and scientific communities.

The Head of Data Science and Engineering is a senior leadership role, so you will require the competencies and behaviours of an inspiring and confident leader, as well as having a strong grasp of mathematics and statistics. The development of strong interpersonal relationships will be key to your success.

Please see the candidate information pack attached below for more information about the UKHO, the role, and the application process.

Job description

You will line manage the Senior Delivery Manager (Data Science) and principal data scientists, supporting their work, particularly with regards to technical delivery.

You will set the data science strategy for the organisation as well as leading the technical data science and data engineering work, and work with the local technical team leads to ensure collaborative and inclusive delivery.

You will need to confidently engage with scientific organisations to build on-going strategic technical relationships with external bodies to support the aims of the organisation


To be successful in this role you will require exceptional leadership, technical, and interpersonal skills, combined with the ability to lead change and be responsive within a fast-moving agile programme.

In order to fulfil this role, you will need the following specific personal, technical, and functional skills and experience:
1. Demonstrable and practical experience at a senior level in the public or private sector of leading and delivering collaborative technical scientific work through a team of highly skilled subject matter experts
2. An excellent understanding of the fields of data science and data engineering, and demonstrable experience of implementing solutions to complex problems. At least 10 years’ practical experience of working in a data domain, such as:
a. Data modelling, e.g. relational and dimensional
b. Business intelligence
c. Data engineering, e.g. ETL, querying SQL/ NoSQL databases
d. Geospatial analysis, e.g. statistical analysis, KNN
e. Statistical analysis
3. Be capable of confidently programming in either one or more of the following: SQL, R, Python, Matlab, Scala, or Java, and able to pick up other programming languages quickly
4. Have a demonstrable background in coaching, mentoring, or teaching with evidence of nurturing and developing talent
5. Have a proven record of being able to turn your hand to a variety of different data analysis tasks, ideally geospatial, marine, or oceanographic data, preferably as a Data Scientist/Analyst
6. Have experience leading technical work and technical teams
7. Have experience building inclusive technical functions within an organisation
8. Have experience setting technical strategy within organisations.

You will need:
1. To build and maintain strong collaborative contacts with internal customers - subject/data experts as well as with other staff in customers’ and other areas of the UKHO
2. To be a naturally inquisitive person who enjoys diving deep into material to find an answer to a yet unknown question
3. To be confident and self-secure, and be comfortable to deal with situations where there is a lot of unknown
4. An ability to work cooperatively with others
5. Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills.

The following Civil Service behaviours apply:

Leadership (Level 4)
• Display passion and enthusiasm for the work, helping to inspire colleagues and stakeholders to fully engage with the aims and long-term vision.
• Embed a culture of inclusion and equal opportunity for all, where the diversity of individuals’ backgrounds and experiences are valued and respected.
• Work to influence the strategy, direction, and culture to increase effectiveness

Seeing the Big Picture (Level 4)
• Identify implications of Departmental and political priorities and strategy in own area to ensure plans and activities reflect these
• Bring together views and perspectives of stakeholders to gain a wider picture of the landscape surrounding activities and policies

Changing and Improving (Level 4)
• Encourage and recognise a culture of initiative and innovation focused on adding value – give people space and praise for creativity
• Effectively capture, utilise, and share customer insight and views from a diverse range of stakeholders to ensure better policy and delivery
• Provide constructive challenge to senior management on change proposals which will affect own business area

Communicating and Influencing (Level 4)
• Clarify strategies and plans and communicate purpose and direction with clarity and enthusiasm
• Lead by example, communicating in a truthful, straightforward manner with integrity and impartiality, promoting a working environment that supports the Civil Service values and code

Developing Self and Others (Level 5)
• Support teams to succeed, devoting dedicated time to empowering people through coaching, mentoring, and sharing expertise/knowledge
• Champion development, talent and career management for all staff and make learning a reality by encouraging and providing a range of development experiences

Person Specification

It is essential in your supporting statement that you provide evidence and proven examples against each of the experience, technical skills, and behaviours selection criteria below. These responses will be further developed and discussed with those candidates invited for interview.

Have at least 10 years’ practical experience of working in a data domain, such as:
• Data modelling e.g. relational and dimensional
• Business intelligence
• Data engineering e.g. ETL, querying SQL/ NoSQL databases
• Geospatial analysis e.g. statistical analysis, KNN
• Statistical analysis.

Technical Skills
Have a very good understanding of the fields of data science and data engineering, and demonstrable experience of implementing solutions to complex problems.

Behaviours (Level 4)
• Seeing the Big Picture
• Leadership
• Changing and Improving
• Communicating and Influencing
• Developing Self and Others


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

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Changing and Improving
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Developing Self and Others
  • Leadership

Technical skills

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

  • Have a very good understanding of the fields of data science and data engineering, and demonstrable experience of implementing solutions to complex problems
  • Have at least 10 years’ practical experience of working in a data domain, such as:
  • Data modelling e.g. relational and dimensional
  • Business intelligence
  • Data engineering e.g. ETL, querying SQL/ NoSQL databases
  • Geospatial analysis e.g. statistical analysis, KNN
  • Statistical analysis.


We offer a range of benefits to support your lifestyle; including generous leave allowance of 26.5 days on appointment, rising by a day a year to a maximum of 31.5 days, plus public / bank holidays, flexible working hours, a lift-share scheme, and regular training and development opportunities.
Also, if you have or are expecting children, we want to support you to enable you to juggle work and family responsibilities, which is why we offer:
- An on-site, independently run nursery, with discounted prices for children of UKHO employees
- Childcare vouchers
- Enhanced maternity pay
- Enhanced shared parental pay
- Enhanced adoption pay
We care about your health and wellbeing and we will help you to take care of yourself through:
- An Employee Assistance Programme, providing trained wellbeing and counselling practitioners, 24/7 telephone support, a dedicated website, and occupational health services
- On-site ‘Peer Supporters’ trained in mental health first aid
- Yearly ‘flu’ jabs
- Free onsite gym - available with CSSC membership
- Free eye tests
- On-site exercise classes
- Chaplaincy service

We also offer the following support in your daily journey:
- Car-share Scheme
- Cycle to Work Scheme (salary sacrifice)
- Season ticket/bike loan
- Bicycle servicing for those who regularly cycle to work

We want you to feel part of something bigger and we encourage team-spirit and a ‘community’ feel in our workplace. You may wish to be involved with the following:
- Charity – each year you will be invited to vote for our charity of the year and support fund-raising through cake sales, quizzes, sports activities, etc
- A wide range of clubs and groups, sharing hobbies and interests
- The ‘Right to Read’ scheme – a volunteer scheme with a local primary school, to promote literacy

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
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.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Experience and Technical skills.
The selection process will be designed specifically for the role. As a result, your assessment will include:
• An interview with a presentation

Further information about the shortlist criteria can be found in the attached candidate pack below.
We anticipate short listing to take place week commencing 21st June 2021.
Interviews are planned for week commencing 5th July 2021.

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

Things you need to know

• This role is open to full time, part time, job share. The UKHO will consider flexible working or workplace adjustments, where appropriate.
• Security – successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check and gain a Security Clearance and or a Developed Vetting Clearance
This position is a Fixed Term position non-reserved post which is open to full time, part time and job share candidates.

Financial benefits

Pension scheme
One of the key benefits you’ll receive is a highly competitive pension. Working with us, you’ll automatically qualify to join the generous Civil Service Pension Scheme. Most new joiners will join Alpha. As well as pension, there are other benefits available through the scheme, which you can read about at Civil Service Pensions. Employer contribution rates are currently up to 27.9% of pensionable salary (Alpha scheme).
You also benefit from some of the discount schemes available to MOD employees as well as to Civil Servants as a whole; these include:
- Access to Defence Discount Service – which offers major-brand discounts, online and on the high street
- Access to UKHO Staff Discount Scheme – which offers discounts at local and national organisations
- Access to Civil Service Sports Council (CSSC) - which organises hundreds of events, activities and special offers for members, every year

We understand that people wish to work in different ways and that this diversity brings us strength. While the role will be contractually based at our Head Office in Taunton, Somerset, we are fully supportive of home working and we are trialling a non-contractual hybrid working model for the home office.

Travel required
While this is minimal, collaborating with external teams and companies may require some travel. We are fully supportive of virtual meetings and conferences.

Security clearance
Before the appointment of the successful candidate can be confirmed, we will undertake background security checks. As part of this we will need to confirm your identity, employment history over the past three years (or course details if you were in education), nationality and immigration status, and criminal record (unspent convictions only).
The successful candidate must hold or be willing to obtain security clearance at Security Clearance (SC) level as a minimum, ideally Developed Vetting (DV) level.

This is a non-reserved post. To be eligible for employment you must be a national from the following countries:
› The United Kingdom
› The Republic of Ireland
› The Commonwealth*
› A European Economic Area (EEA) Member State
› Switzerland
› Turkey

Certain family members of EEA, Switzerland and Turkish nationals are also eligible to apply regardless of their nationality.
(*Commonwealth citizens not yet in the UK, who have no right of abode in the UK and who do not have leave to enter the UK are ineligible to apply.)

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.

We have adopted anonymised recruitment. This means that your name, date of birth and other personal details will not be seen by the sift panel.

We may hold a merit (reserve) list for up to 6 months. During this time, if a similar role is identified and you have been placed on the merit list you may be considered for the post.

It is likely we will be able to start your employment with BPSS clearance (your clean DBS certificate and satisfactory references that we will obtain) before your SC/DV clearance is successful – this is called a conditional offer.

You will be presented with an unconditional offer only once you have obtained the necessary level of clearance for the role.

If your fail to gain SC/DV clearance, whichever is appropriate for the role you have applied for, your employment with UKHO will be terminated immediately.

Our ability to start employment on a conditional basis is subject to the specific requirements of the role and cannot be guaranteed; please contact our recruitment team if you would like further information: Recruitment.queries@ukho.gov.uk

Please note, if you have not been resident in the UK for the last 5 years (for SC clearance) or for the last 10 years (for DV clearance) then you may be requested to supply the information below:
• Evidence of your actual overseas residence (bills or rental agreements confirming addresses etc)
• Police Certificate providing confirmation that no criminal record is held in the overseas country of residence.
• Reference/Confirmation of employment from an employer in the overseas country of residence.
• Reference/Confirmation of residence or travel from friends, companions or fellow travellers that have knowledge of or have been in the company of you, when resident outside of the UK.
• Reference from a UK based organisation maintaining contract with a sponsorship of you, while residing overseas

Disability Confident – Guaranteed Interview

UKHO embraces diversity and promotes inclusion and equality of opportunity. We are a Disability Confident employer, which includes offering a guaranteed interview to candidates with disabilities, providing they meet the minimum selection criteria.

By ‘minimum selection criteria’ we mean that the evidence you provide in your application must demonstrate that you meet the minimum pass mark, set by the short-list panel, for each criteria listed in the ‘short-list’ section, above. The short-list panel will not be made aware of any disability you may choose to declare; this information will be processed solely by HR, in accordance with Data Protection legislation.

If you are a disabled candidate, please ensure you complete the Equality and Diversity form or inform our HR department, at recruitment.queries@ukho.gov.uk, if you wish to be considered under the Disability Confident guaranteed interview scheme.

Civil Service Recruitment

From 01/10/2020, UKHO’s HR Department is to provide a Fair Processing Notice (FPN) to all new applicants after they have been successful at interview.
These candidates will be informed that, as one aspect of pre-employment screening, their personal details – name, NINO and date of birth - will be checked against the Civil Service Resourcing Extract Internal Fraud Database (IFD) and that anyone included on the IFD will be refused employment unless they can show exceptional circumstances.

UKHO’s HR Department will also include the FPN wording advising of the check against the extract IFD in the advert for employment for the pilot departments.

UKHO’s HR Department will, on behalf of the vacancy holder, inform applicants when they are refused employment because of their inclusion in the IFD.

Civil Service Commission
Recruitment into the Civil Service is governed by the Civil Service Commission which has two key functions.
- To maintain the principle of selection for appointment to the Civil Service on merit on the basis of fair and open competition.
- To promote an understanding of the Civil Service Code which sets out the constitutional framework in which all civil servants work and the values they are expected to uphold, and to hear and determine appeals made under it. More detailed information can be found at on the Civil Service Commission website: http://civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk

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 (or eligible for) status under 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 :  recruitment.queries@ukho.gov.uk
Email :  recruitment.queries@ukho.gov.uk
Recruitment team :
Email :  recruitment.queries@ukho.gov.uk

Further information

The Department’s recruitment processes are underpinned by the requirement of selection for appointment based on merit, open and fair competition as outlined in the Civil Service Commissioners’ Recruitment Principles, details of which can be found at http://civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, you should contact the UKHO’s Recruitment Team, Human Resources, Admiralty Way, Taunton, Somerset TA1 2DN or email recruitment.queries@ukho.gov.uk , in the first instance. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive you can further contact the Civil Service Commission at: Email: civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk or in writing to: Civil Service Commission, Room G/8, 1 Horse Guards Road, London SW1A 2HQ

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