Senior User Researcher

HM Revenue and Customs

Closing date: 18 Feb 2019

Reference number



£50,010 - £56,510


Grade 7

Contract type


Business area

HMRC - CDIO - Digital - Digital Delivery Centres

Type of role

Information Technology

Working pattern

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



Number of posts



Telford, West Midlands

About the job

Job description

As a HMRC Senior User Researcher, you will have the unique opportunity to work on some of the largest digital transformation programmes undertaken in Government and other sectors. Your role is to ensure that user needs are intrinsic to the design and implementation of our services.

As a Senior User Researcher you will plan and lead user research activities on larger teams and more complex services. You will build user centred practices in new teams, and align user research activities with wider plans to inform service proposition. You may supervise and develop other user researchers to assure and improve research practice.

You will join a lively and supportive User Research community, based at one of our Digital Delivery Centres across the UK, with access to research labs and facilities.

Our team are passionate and committed to conducting robust research with real-world impact, and bring varied expertise from the private, voluntary and public sectors.

This is an exciting time to join an organisation that probably don’t work how you’d imagine a government organisation would. Our blog tells you a bit more about what we do and how we do it.

Key responsibilities

As a Senior User Researcher in our team, you will be:

● Leading and doing user research for complex and high profile projects, programmes and/or portfolios of work (e.g., Making Tax Digital for Business, etc.)
● Planning, designing and preparing a range of user research activities to support the design, development and continuous improvement of complex government services.
● Carrying out a wide range of user research activities from recruiting participants, preparing discussion guides and moderating research sessions.
● Leading colleagues to analyse research data and synthesise clear and actionable findings, including working closely with analytics colleagues to create a rich picture of user behaviour.
● Communicating user research findings to help the team and wider organisation develop a deep understanding of users and their needs.
● Working closely with product managers, designers and developers to turn user research findings into stories and actions that lead to valuable product and service features.
● Aligning user research activities with wider plans to inform service proposition.
● Building user centred practices in new and larger teams
● Assessing services to ensure they meet the Government Service Standard
● Mentoring and guiding more junior user researchers to assure and improve research practice.
● Contributing to the wider user research community ­ including presenting at meetups, writing blog posts and leading on aspects of practice.

Essential criteria

You should be able to demonstrate:

● Experience of advocating for user research and engaging sceptical colleagues and stakeholders.
● Experience of helping teams to adopt user centred service design and delivery practices and embed them into their agile workflow.
● The ability to understand the complex problems a team is trying to solve, and align user research activities to inform decision making and action.
● Experience of helping teams adopt a wide range of user research methods, analysis and synthesis techniques and approaches to presenting and sharing findings.
● Experience in using a range of quantitative and qualitative methodologies including ethnographic techniques, usability testing, remote testing, and survey design
● Proven experience in Meeting ambitious deadlines and delivering high-quality work on schedule, including quickly turning around research plans and outputs in different formats
● Proven experience of introducing new user research methods into a team, and guiding colleagues in the choice and effective application of research methods.
● The ability to include all kinds of users in appropriate research activities to help teams understand the diversity of users of government services.
● A good understanding of the social and technological context for government services, and experience of aligning user research activities to help teams understand changing user behaviour.

You will also need:

• A degree in psychology, cognitive science, human factors, computer science, product/interaction design, human computer interaction or related disciplines, or equivalent professional experience

• Exceptional research and analysis skills, (e.g. designing, conducting, and analysing data and information from different research methodologies)

• Excellent communication, presentation and interpersonal skills; the ability to communicate complex concepts clearly and persuasively across different audiences and varying levels of the organisation

• Strong qualitative and analytical skills, excellent attention to detail and good business judgement

• Enthusiasm for coaching and mentoring of team members

Desirable criteria

Ideally you will also have experience in conducting research:

• With people with low digital skills

• With people with accessibility needs

• With diverse and hard-to-reach audiences

And have:

• A relevant postgraduate qualification (e.g. Human Factors, HCDE, Cognitive Psychology or related disciplines)

• Understanding of the Government Service Standard and GDS Service Manual

• The flexibility to work in a fast-changing environment and ambiguous situations

• Experience guiding and mentoring junior team members

• Knowledge or experience of working in an agile delivery environment

In exchange, we offer:

• Extraordinary pension schemes

• Flexible work hours, season ticket loans, great holiday package

• Clear career progression within formalised paths

• Professional Development and Training programmes and opportunities for continued development

• A rare opportunity to impact millions of people’s lives through your research work

• Being part of a supportive research community - we are a diverse, cross-disciplinary team with varied backgrounds across the private, voluntary and public sectors.



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.


If you are applying for a role in an office within a regional centre location or a transitional or specialist site, then the following may apply: Daily Travel Assistance will be available for this role, provided the successful applicant is a current HMRC employee and meets the eligibility requirements outlined in the department’s Daily Travel Assistance guidance.

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass basic security checks.

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:

• Your CV

• Your employment history

• A personal statement, which should demonstrate how you meet the user research skills ensuring you give examples relating to your professional experience as a user researcher, referring to the essential and desirable criteria above (1000 words max).

More information about the competencies and technical skills for this role can be found at:

Click here to visit Technical skills

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

Jaime Turner
Tel:03000 575700

Sift/interview dates and location

Application sift will take place once the advert closes.

Interview dates to be confirmed.

Further information

In November 2015, HMRC announced the next step in our ten-year modernisation programme to create a tax authority fit for the future, committing to high-quality jobs and the creation of new regional centres serving every region and nation in the UK. We set out our plans to consolidate into 13 large, modern offices, equipped with the digital infrastructure and training facilities needed to build a more highly-skilled workforce.
These offices will be located in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Croydon and Stratford.
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. In addition, our Welsh language service has people in specialist roles located in Porthmadog, as well as Cardiff.
If you are recruited into an office that is not one of these locations, you will be expected, subject to HMRC’s applicable policies, to move to one of these locations in the future. In some cases, this will be via a transitional site.
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 HMRC employee and you joined HMRC through an advert that was advertised on or after 11/01/2017, you will not be eligible for financial assistance for your move to the regional centre or a transitional or specialist site. This is in line with the terms of your original appointment to HMRC.
For more information, please contact the vacancy holder.

Security update
As part of this, 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.
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

Any move to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will mean you will no longer be able to carry on claiming childcare vouchers.

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.

Some of HMRC Terms and Conditions of employment changed on 1st May 2013, these will apply to people who are new recruits to HMRC or who take a new job in HMRC on promotion. The document attached to this advertisement provides more information on the changes we made, please note this is not a full list of HMRC's terms and conditions. If you need to discuss how these changes might affect you, please contact the vacancy holder. For further information on terms and conditions please visit

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

The pay range minimum is the normal starting salary for those joining HMRC at this grade from
outside the Civil Service. The full pay range is shown as an indicator for existing civil servants at this
grade, and for those who apply on promotion. For further clarification, Civil servants are requested
to read the “Pay on transfer from OGD” document attached. Pay progression is not guaranteed.

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

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:
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
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.

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending completed Criminal Disclosure checking forms to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstance 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.

As part of this, 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.
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. 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:

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