Senior User Researchers

Department for Work and Pensions

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 5th February 2023



Reference number



£50,155 - £75,781

Job grade

Grade 7

Contract type


Business area

DWP - Digital

Type of role

Information Technology

Working pattern

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

Number of jobs available



These roles will be based in Birmingham, Blackpool, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sheffield. Please find further information on the Corporate hub locations here.

Job summary

Can you understand a problem and align user research activities to drive solutions?

Are you passionate about building digital capability and leading multi-disciplinary teams to design user centred services?

Are you looking for a role that has a positive impact on millions of lives?

If so, you may be perfect for our Senior User Researcher role!

User Researchers plan, design and carry out research activities with users that help teams get a deep understanding of the people that use government services and of the colleagues who use different systems and tools to deliver services. This research informs policy, proposition, service, content and interaction design so that services work well for users and achieves policy intent.

Job description

A Senior User Researcher will be an experienced practitioner who is capable of planning and leading user research activities across large and complex projects and services. They will be an expert in problem definition and selecting the appropriate research strategies to tackle issues and understand user needs.

They will help champion a user-centred, evidence based approach to formulating strategy and vision, both across the user research practice and the teams they are engaged in.

Additionally, they will have management and coaching responsibilities, aiding the development of Associate and User Researchers, enabling quality research services and the growth of the user research community across the department.

Your responsibilities will include but are not restricted to, the following:

  • Work with agile teams to develop and advocate appropriate research strategies within their project area, with the goal of understanding user needs for services, and continually improving services.
  • Build user centred practices, advocating for user centred approaches to research. 
  • Develop recommendations based on a variety of research outcomes, evaluate those outcomes to inform the product or service decision.
  • Be accountable for the end-to-end delivery of research, developing and delivering research that considers the time & budget vs outcomes perspective.
  • Conduct user research using a range of research methods, selecting the appropriate method, both qualitative and quantitative, depending on the requirements of the programme.
  • Advocate for inclusive research principles, planning and conducting research that considers the diversity of users, keeping in mind any access requirements users may have and the ethical nature of research.

    Person specification

    The essential criteria are outlined in the selection process details.

    If you would like to learn more about the role, please contact


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

    • Changing and Improving
    • Communicating and Influencing
    • Making Effective Decisions

    Technical skills

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

    • Research
    • Strategic Insight
    • Understanding constraints

    • An employer pension contribution of up to 27% For further information please click here.
    • Annual leave rising up to 30 days, (based on your working pattern).
    • Family friendly flexible working arrangements, such as hybrid working, job sharing, term-time working, flexi-time and compressed hours.
    • Learning and development tailored to your role this could include industry recognised qualifications, coaching and mentoring. 
    • An inclusive and diverse environment with opportunities to join staff networks including: Women’s Network, National Race Network, National Disability Network (THRIVE) and many more.

    This job role may be suitable for hybrid working, which is where an employee works part of the week in their DWP office and part of the week from home. This is a voluntary, non-contractual arrangement and your office will be your contractual place of work. The number of days that anyone will be able to work at home will be determined primarily by business need but personal circumstances and other relevant circumstances will also be taken into account. If you are successful, any opportunities for hybrid working, including whether a hybrid working arrangement is suitable for you, will be discussed with you prior to you taking up your post.

    Salary Information

    Salary for this role at Grade 7 is from £50,155 (Band min) to £60,781 (Band max).

    Where the maximum salary of £60,781 is offered, a Digital Allowance of up to £15,000 per annum is available for exceptional candidates, based on our assessment of your skills and experience.

    Digital Allowance will only be offered to candidates who achieve high scores at interview.

    Our offer to successful candidates will be based on an assessment of your skills and experience as demonstrated at interview.

    Existing Civil Servants who secure a new role on lateral transfer should maintain their current salary.

    Existing Civil Servants who gain promotion may move to the bottom of the next grade pay scale or 10% increase in salary whichever would be the greater.

    Selection process details

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

    Stage 1: Application

    Your application will consist of three parts:

    1. A Personal Details application form.

    2. Your employment history detailing your responsibilities, skills, accomplishments, plus your qualifications and relevant training. Please copy this information into the box field provided.

    3. Personal Statement up to 1250 words.

    When giving details in your employment history and Personal Statement, the ideal candidate for this role will be able to demonstrate the following essential criteria below:

    • Has experience of, and can help teams adopt, a wide range of user research methods. Can plan user research for services with challenging user needs and complex user journeys. Can advise colleagues on choice and application of research methods to assure best practice 
    • Understands organisational goals and challenges. Can align research activities across teams to inform policy and proposition 
    • Understands the difference between user needs and desires of the user. Has experience in meeting user needs across a variety of channels. Able to integrate digital analytics with qualitative data, such as user surveys and user research, to develop hypotheses for testing. Can offer recommendations on the best tools and methods to be used. Able to collaborate with user researchers and can sell/represent users internally. Able to champion user research to focus on all users. Can prioritise and defines approaches to understand the user story, guiding others in doing so  
    • Works with and challenges senior stakeholders. Can prioritise and mitigate constraints, and can turn them into an advantage. Is able to adapt the approach depending on the constraints. 
    • Can help teams understand the ways that digital technology is changing user behaviour, and the challenges and opportunities for design and delivery of government services.

    The sift panel will use the information in your employment history and Personal Statement to assess your experience, skills and knowledge against the essential criteria above.

    For Hints and Tips on completing your application visit our blog Getting Hired at DWP Digital .

    Applications will be sifted at regular intervals from the date the posts are advertised. Please apply as soon as you can, do not wait until the end of the campaign.

    Important information

    • You will be asked to complete your employment history any information that you would customarily share on a CV should therefore be entered onto the application form.
    • Personal details that could be used to identify you including your name, contact details and address must be removed for your application to be considered.
    • If your employment history, behaviours/technical statements contains any personal details your application will be withdrawn.

    Stage 2: Interview

    If you’re successful at sift stage you will be invited to a video interview via Microsoft Teams. There, you will be assessed against the following Behaviours/Technical Skills:


    • Changing and Improving 
    • Communication and Influencing  
    • Making Effective Decisions 

    Technical Skills

    • Research 
    • Strategic Insight 
    • Understanding Constraints 

    You will be asked to do a short (10 minutes) verbal presentation without the use of PowerPoint or slides on a specific topic. Further details will be provided to candidates invited to interview. 

    Interviews will take place from mid-February. Sift and interview dates to be confirmed. 

    The evidence you provide in your application must relate to your own experiences. If evidence of plagiarism is found your application will be withdrawn.

    Further information:

    Find out more about Working for DWP

    A reserve list may be held for a period of 6 months from which further appointments can be made.

    Reserve list candidates will be posted in merit order by location. 

    Any move to DWP 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

    If successful and transferring from another Government Department a criminal record check may be carried out. 

    In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf.

    However, we recognise in exceptional circumstances 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. 

    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. 

    A candidate is not eligible to apply for a role within the Civil Service if the application is made within a 5 year period following a dismissal for carrying out internal fraud against government.

    Before applying for this vacancy, current employees of DWP should check whether a successful application would result in changes to their terms & conditions of employment, e.g. mobility, pay, allowances. Civil Servants that would transfer into DWP from other government organisations, following successful application, will assume DWP's terms & conditions of employment current on the day they are posted, unless DWP has stated otherwise in writing.

    Reasonable Adjustment

    At DWP we value diversity and inclusion and actively encourage and welcome applications from everyone, including those that are underrepresented in our workforce.

    We consider visible and non-visible disabilities, neurodiversity or learning differences, chronic medical conditions, or mental ill health. Examples include dyslexia, epilepsy, autism, chronic fatigue, or schizophrenia.

    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 “Reasonable Adjustments” 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 pass a disclosure and barring security check.
    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.
    The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment.
    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 : Felicity Smith
    • Email :

    Recruitment team :

    • Email :

    Further information

    Appointment to the Civil Service is governed by the Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles. If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with these principles and you wish to make a complaint, you should in the first instance contact DWP by email: HR.BUSINESSASSURANCE@DWP.GOV.UK.
    If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission. Click here to visit the Civil Service Commission.

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