Senior Principal Methodologist
UK Government - Office for National Statistics
2 months ago

Statistical production and analysis are experiencing a revolution. From using more and varied data, to benefiting from computing power and utilising new methods. Working in radically different ways, methodologists have never been in more demand across ONS and the Government Statistical Service. The new UK Statistics Authority strategy, Statistics for the Public Good, will require significant methodological service and innovation to enable it.

You will be leading and delivering innovation and transformation projects where methodology is the central theme, contributing to the ONS strategy and objectives.?In particular, the areas in which we need to grow our capability and capacity are below. The responsibility of each post can be carved and shaped to cover these areas, in collaboration with the Grade 6 leadership team, to suit the experience and expertise of the successful candidates.

Administrative data methods – Lead a corporate work programme to research and develop statistical methods for producing official statistics using alternative sources such as administrative data. As this work is innovative and at the heart of a statistical paradigm shift, it will include collaborative working across sectors (academia, government and the private sector) as well as internationally. You will be leading and delivering innovation and transformation projects where methodological input is critical to delivery of the project, contributing to the wider ONS strategy and objectives. You will provide expert statistical advice and quality assurance, in relation to specialist methodologies that support the office's transition to using non-survey data. There is much overlap with the wider range of methodological research and development that Methodology Division also conducts, which highlights the collaborative aspect of this role.

Integrated data platform statistical design and methods – Lead the methodological design and research to deliver the statistical infrastructure for the new technology. The platform will support the integration of Government data to enable inclusive analysis and dissemination on national issues. To ensure the programme delivers high quality analysis from integrated data it will need innovative and robust methods underpinning the design. You will lead the development of strategic methods, such as data linkage, disclosure control, and the development and implementation of a Statistical Methods Library. The responsibilities will also involve matrix management of the methodological input to analytical research projects, working across the government Analysis Function, and with external partners.

COVID-19 survey and surveillance methods - Lead a methodological work programme to support new surveys and studies developed in response to key policy questions around the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on society. This will involve working with stakeholders to understand analysis requirements and identifying appropriate survey designs to address analysis questions. It will require a good understanding of appropriate methodological approaches to data collection, sampling and estimation. You will be working with a variety of internal and external stakeholders, to ensure the sampling approach for the COVID-19 Infection and surveillance studies align with the wider social survey transformation. As such, it will require close collaboration with colleagues from across the office, analysts from across government, as well as academic partners.

In either role, you will provide expert statistical advice and quality assurance, and an appreciation of a wider range of methods in official statistics is valuable to understand the ramifications of methodological choices.

You will be part of Methodology’s leadership team, reporting to the Head of Methodology, you will directly manage a few people and will offer technical leadership to others on a project by project basis. You will support development and continuous improvement to strategically strengthen methodology across the organisation and the wider civil service.


Roles & Responsibilities

Key responsibilities:
  • Leading teams of multi-disciplinary analysts to deliver a portfolio of high-quality methodological research and innovative or transformation projects, ensuring the balance of deep expertise together with an ability to bring different skill sets together. You will lead and champion learning and continual development, diversity, inclusion and growth across your teams and wider across the ONS.
  • Maintaining a proactive interest in statistical or qualitative research methodology, its practical applications and new developments in the field, enabling effective leadership of research and development work programmes.
  • Engaging with a diverse range of senior stakeholders to understand their needs; plan and establish programmes of methodological work and research to meet them.
  • Building strong collaborative relationships, working with customers in the office, other government departments, official statistics bodies (including internationally), academia, and the private sector.
  • Communicating analysis, research outcomes and insights effectively, in written publications, in meetings with stakeholders, and through national and international engagements.
  • Managing financial and people resources to ensure methodology projects are completed and add value to MDR and ONS strategy, drawing on a network of colleagues to support this as necessary.
  • Developing an innovative culture in the Division, ensuring collaborative working and communicating the impact of Methodology’s work.
  • Contributing to the leadership and management of the wider Division and the Directorate, taking responsibility for developing and implementing various initiatives, new ways of working, new policies, and promoting good practice.

Person specification

  • Strong leadership skills to build and develop a new team of methodologists and experience of matrix management
  • Experience and expertise in leading and delivering methodological transformation projects including wider project management e.g. resource management
  • Professional credibility and a track record of building analytical capability and capacity
  • Excellent communication and influencing skills, including experience of dealing with internal and external stakeholders
  • Strong analytical and research skills with proven experience


You will have a 2:1 degree in Statistics, Data Science, Mathematics, or a social science background or other discipline with a substantial statistical content.

By exception, a different qualification may be acceptable is accompanied by equivalent knowledge gained through experience.


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

  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Leadership
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Working Together

Technical skills

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

  • Technical skills will be assessed against the requirements of the role at interview.


The Office for National Statistics is part of the Civil Service, and as such we share a number of key benefits with other departments, whilst also having our own unique offerings to support our 5000+ valued employees across the business.

Whether you are hearing about us for the first time or already know a bit about our organisation, we hope that the benefits pack attached (bottom of page) will give you a great insight into the benefits and facilities available to our employees, and our fantastic working culture.

We are an organisation that takes the well-being of its employees seriously and lives and breathes the desire to modernise the workplace of the future. Everyone, from our office-based staff in Newport, London and Titchfield, to our field interviewers and airports and ports passenger survey staff, are part of a diverse and inclusive family.

Inclusion & Accessibility

At ONS we're always looking to attract the very best people from the widest possible talent pool, and we are proud to be an inclusive, equal opportunities employer. As a member of the Business Disability Forum and a Disability Confident Leader we’re committed to ensuring that all candidates are treated fairly throughout the recruitment process.

As part of our application process, you will be prompted to provide details of any reasonable adjustments to our recruitment process that you need. If you would like to discuss any reasonable adjustments before applying, please contact the recruitment team in the first instance.

If you would like an accessible version of any of the attachments or recruitment documents below or linked to in this advert, please contact the recruitment team who will be happy to assist.