Consumer regulator seeks £100k leader for algorithm work

CMA created team last year to better understand and oversee the use of automated technologies in business

Credit: Mohamed Hassan/Pxhere

The UK’s competition and consumer-protection regulator is seeking to appoint a leader for its burgeoning work to monitor businesses’ use of algorithms and other emerging technologies.

The Competition and Markets Authority investigates and, where necessary, takes action against businesses and markets engaged in anti-competitive behaviour and unfair trading practices. The watchdog created a dedicated Data, Technology and Analytics (DaTA) unit three years ago and, since then, has been striving to grow its expertise in the field of digital technology and data – and their impact on markets, businesses, and consumer affairs. 

In January 2021 the tech unit launched an Analysing Algorithms programme intended to “understand and interrogate firms’ use of algorithms” in both existing areas of the regulator’s remit, and those which might emerge in the future.

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The CMA is now looking to appoint a director of algorithm assessment and technology insight to lead the programme.

The postholder’s responsibilities will include taking the lead on investigations that involve the examination of algorithms. The role will also involve overseeing the creation of an “algorithmic analysis toolkit”.

The position comes with a remit to provide “data and technology input into competition and consumer protection cases” across the regulator’s operations more widely, as well as “monitoring and building understanding of emerging technologies” that may play a role in competition and consumer affairs in the coming years.

The successful applicant will be based in either London or Manchester and will be paid an annual salary of between £91,754 and £105,000.

The job advert said: “The [DaTA] unit is world-leading within competition and consumer agencies and there is a substantial opportunity to make a difference. You can shape how the CMA and others – academics, other regulators domestically and internationally, consumer organisations, the OECD – think about AI, data and technology. And you can affect which issues the CMA addresses and through cases, directly protect consumers and prevent harm.

Applications for the role are open until 11.55pm on Monday 24 January.


Sam Trendall

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