Head of the Evaluation Task Force

UK Government - Cabinet Office London a month ago

We are looking to recruit a Deputy Director (SCS1) to lead this unit. It is a demanding and visible role that requires specialist technical knowledge; the ability to gain trust and influence senior decision makers, including Ministers and Civil Service leaders; establishing and leading a high performing team of up to 11 FTE; and demonstrating political judgement in making difficult decisions.

You will need to be an expert in evaluation with at least 5 years’ experience of carrying out impact evaluations or related activity (e.g. commissioning evaluation). You should also have an understanding of how evaluation can be used in public policy.

You will also need an understanding of (and ideally some experience in) how government operates, especially at more senior levels.

This includes an understanding of Treasury processes; the relationship between the centre and departments; governance and accountability structures; and the relationship between ministers and officials. Experience of working with senior officials and ministers and of policy development would be helpful.

You will have to operate in an environment of fiscal constraint and make a persuasive case for the financial benefits of evaluation at a time when research budgets are subject to many competing demands.

What we are looking for:

  • Strong understanding of and experience carrying out impact evaluation e.g. experimental methods such as RCTs and quasi-experimental methods such as propensity score matching using administrative data.

  • A proven track record of working closely with senior leaders and a broad range of stakeholders, and demonstrating the communication and influencing skills to gain trust and a central role in decision making.

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and strong interpersonal skills to be able to advise Ministers and key stakeholders effectively.

  • Excellent leadership skills, with an ability to inspire and empower colleagues to perform.

  • Strategic mindset to set the direction of the team, translate strategies into clear programmes of work and prioritise effectively to maximise the team’s impact in the next year.

  • Experience setting up a new team or major programme (desirable).


Responsibilities

  • Establishing a high impact programme of work that drives continuous improvements in the way government programmes are evaluated during delivery and upon completion.

  • Establishing credibility with Ministers and senior officials across government in order for the team to play a central role in decision making, including whether programmes should be continued, expanded, modified or stopped.

  • Recruiting a high performing team of up to 11 FTE that become a trusted source of authority on evaluation design in the eyes of HM Treasury spending teams and departments.

  • Working closely with HM Treasury spending teams and successfully embedding the Task Force in HM Treasury processes.

  • Developing a stakeholder engagement strategy that builds a broad coalition of support and builds the profile of the team. Key stakeholders include: Permanent Secretaries; Departmental Directors of Analysis and Chief Scientific Advisers; Departmental Heads of Evaluation; the Finance Leaders Group; the National Audit Office; and the government-backed What Works Centres.

  • Where needed, seeking advice from external experts with highly specialist knowledge of particular evaluation methods, such as members of the Cross-Government Trial Advice Panel and the What Works Centres.

  • Working closely with other organisations concerned with the effective delivery of government programmes such as the Infrastructure and Projects Authority to ensure alignment and prevent duplication.

  • Direct line management of four Grade 6s.

Setting strategic direction:

Using your knowledge and experience of evaluation and working in a complex landscape you will need to set the team’s strategy and ensure it has a programme that delivers early impact. You will need to prioritise the team’s programme of work to optimise its impact and influence.

Building a team:

You will be responsible for recruiting, building and developing a team. You will need to be able to deal with the day-to-day management of a rapidly changing team whilst simultaneously setting its long-term strategic direction. The post holder will directly manage four Grade 6 roles, with countersigning responsibility for three Grade 7 roles. You will be responsible for creating an inclusive and collaborative team culture where diversity of thought and background is valued.

Relationship building and influencing:

You will need to be adept at engaging and influencing heads of spending teams, in order to embed the unit in HM Treasury processes and influence decision making. The role requires a nimble and persuasive approach to leveraging support from Ministers. You will need to exercise political judgement as well as influence at the most senior levels of the Civil Service by writing and presenting to senior fora, and through less formal mechanisms. You will need to build a broad coalition of support among analytical and policy colleagues across government. You may need to negotiate or even arbitrate where there is disagreement on what evaluation is feasible and robust on a particular programme. You will also need to work with other organisations with an interest in government performance to determine where there are risks of duplication, and what potential there is to work together to solve problems and achieve common goals.

Benefits

  • 25 days annual leave on entry, increasing on a sliding scale to 30 days after 5 years’ service. This is in addition to 8 public holidays. This will be complimented by one further day paid privilege entitlement to mark the Queen’s Birthday;

  • A competitive contributory pension scheme that you can enter as soon as you join where we will make a significant contribution to the cost of your pension; where your contributions come out of your salary before any tax is taken; and where your pension will continue to provide valuable benefits for you and your family if you are too ill to continue to work or die before you retire;

- Flexible working patterns including part- time or term-time working and access to Flexible Working Schemes allowing you to vary your working day as long as you work your total hours;

  • Generous paid maternity and paternity leave which is notably more than the statutory minimum offered by many other employers; and

  • Childcare benefits (policy for new employees as of 5 April 2018): The government has introduced the Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) scheme. Working parents can open an online childcare account and for every £8 they pay in, the government adds £2, up to a maximum of £2000 a year for each child or £4000 for a disabled child. Parents then use the funds to pay for registered childcare. Existing employees may be able to continue to claim childcare vouchers, so please check how the policy would work for you here;

  • Interest-free loans allowing you to spread the cost of an annual travel season ticket or a new bicycle;

  • The opportunity to use onsite facilities including fitness centres and staff canteens (where applicable);

  • Occupational sick pay.