GDS ramps up researcher recruitment

Digital agency looks to boost teams dedicated to GOV.UK, government as a platform, and digital identity

Credit: Richard Maguluko from Pixabay 

The Government Digital Service has kick-started a hiring spree to boost its ranks of user researchers.

The Cabinet Office agency indicated that it wishes to add research specialists to its teams supporting GOV.UK and digital identity products. GDS also wish to recruit researchers for its Government as a Platform tools – which including the GOV.UK Pay payments service and the Notify messaging system.

Those joining the Digital Identity team will work on the development of GOV.UK Accounts, a new system which aims to replace a vast array of over 100 separate platforms – including GOV.UK Verify – with a single login system for citizens services for use across government. The much-vaunted programme was backed in the November spending review with an investment of £21m to enable GDS to develop a prototype system.

In a blog post, the agency’s lead user researcher for digital identity Pablo Romero said that this work requires “a high-performing team which is representative of the citizens we serve and motivated to make a real difference for our users”.

“This is a high-profile programme that aims to transform the way people access services and interact with government,” he added. “Our product has to be inclusive in order to ensure that everyone can access the services they need.”

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The lead user research for GOV.UK, Chris Marshall, added: “It’s a great time to be joining GOV.UK as we have an exciting and ambitious roadmap for 2021. GOV.UK is the best place to find government services and information, and user needs are at the heart of everything we do. Our vision is for GOV.UK to offer users joined-up, trusted and personalised interactions. GOV.UK user researchers help our delivery teams build a deep understanding of our users and their needs. They also help develop our GOV.UK user research practices, which enables us to carry out high-quality and impactful research.”

A job advert indicates that GDS is hoping to recruit a total of seven researchers to work on its various services. The roles will be based at the organisation’s Manchester office, and successful applicants will be paid between £37,300 and £40,635 per year. 

“User researchers are key figures in the teams that design and deliver services,” the advert said. “They help their teams develop a deep understanding of the people – citizens, businesses or government colleagues – who use a service. Their findings allow their teams to design and build better services more quickly and at lower cost and risk. And to continuously improve services, based on data and evidence. As a user researcher you will work in a multidisciplinary team on a wide range of user research activities. You will work independently, with support and guidance from more senior user researchers.”

The additions to the research team will, GDS said, play an important role in supporting the implementation of a strategy that is currently focused on the delivery of five core “missions”.

These include ensuring that GOV.UK is “the single and trusted online destination for government information and services”, as well as supporting the delivery of “joined-up services that solve whole problems and span multiple departments”.

Another key objective is the development of “a simple digital identity solution that works for everyone”, alongside the continued provision of “common tools and expert services” for use across government. 

Ensuring “joined-up data across departments” is the last of GDS’s five central ambitions.

Applications for the researcher posts are open until 11.55pm on 18 September. 


Sam Trendall

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