Adopting Success Profiles across the Government Statistical Service

Policy details

Metadata item Details
Publication date:2 September 2019
Author:GSS Recruitment
Approver:GSS Recruitment
Who this is for:Members of the Government Statistical Service
Type:Guidance
Contact:

gss.recruitment@ons.gov.uk

Brief description:

This guidance sets out the process for external recruitment, internal civil service recruitment and badging for Statistical Officers (StOs), Higher Statistical Officers (HStOs) and Senior Statistical Officers (SStOs) in the statistics profession. The principles can also be applied in Grade 6 and Grade 7 exercises.

The aim is to enable a fairer and more inclusive method. This is done through the assessment of a range of experiences, abilities, strengths, behaviours and technical or professional skills required for different roles.

This guidance has replaced Running a promotion campaign for members of the Government Statistician Group (GSG) and Recruiting new members into the Government Statistician Group (GSG).

What has changed?

The Success Profile framework moves away from a purely competency based system of assessment. It introduces a more flexible framework which assesses candidates against a range of elements using a variety of selection methods.

Five elements form part of the framework:

  1. behaviours
  2. strengths
  3. experience
  4. ability
  5. technical

Success Profiles should be viewed as a toolkit to enable more dynamic, role specific interviewing. They should also enable candidates to give a more rounded, authentic overview of themselves

For further information on each element, read the Success Profiles guidance on GOV.UK.

Government Statistical Service (GSS) recruitment and Success Profiles

The introduction of Success Profiles does not impact the GSG competency framework
which aligns to the technical element of Success Profiles.

How the Success Profiles align

This table summarises the GSS approach to the implementation of Success Profiles for departmental and GSS recruitment led campaigns.

Old GSS processSuccess Profiles equivalentNew GSS processChange?
GSS online test and technical test.AbilityContinue with existing GSS online and technical test. No
GSS professional competencies.TechnicalContinue with existing process.No
Civil service competenciesBehaviours / StrengthsAdopt blended approach through assessment of strengths, ability and behaviourYes
Civil service situational judgement test - SStO grade onlyAbilityContinue with situational judgement testNo

GSS recruitment led campaigns

Applications will be made by Curriculum Vitae (CV) and personal statement.

This means that at sift stage, technical skills, experience and ability can be measured through a personal statement mapped to the person specification.

For the GSS, ability will be tested through civil service sift tools:

  • GSS online test
  • Civil Service situational judgement tests

Questioning at interview will be a mixture of statistics competencies and Civil Service Behaviour questions:

  • situational (future facing)
  • past evidence
  • strength based

Grade Civil Service Competency Behaviour Change
StO and HStO Managing a Quality Service Managing a Quality Service No
StO, HStO and SStO Seeing the Big Picture Seeing the Big Picture No
StO, HStO and SStO Leading and Communicating Leadership Yes
SStO Delivering at Pace Delivering at Pace No

Competency Assessment method – GSS led campaigns Change
Acquiring data / Understanding customer needs Interview question No
Disseminating and presenting information effectively Presentation or interview question Yes
Data analysis Interview question No

Department led campaigns

Occasionally departments may need to run their own recruitment campaigns. If this happens, departments must ensure that they follow the guidance, structure and requirements for recruitment into the GSG. This ensures standardisation for all entrants to the GSG regardless of entry route.

Recruitment types:

  • internal department only exercise (lateral and promotion)
  • across government (lateral and
    promotion)
  • external (lateral and promotion)

Steps to take:

  1. Contact GSS recruitment to discuss campaign.
  2. Receive support, guidance and training standard for GSS Success Profile process.
  3. Decide to advertise role as a department or through GSS campaign.

Outcomes:

Job advert aligns to Success Profiles – Ability, Technical (Statistical Competencies) and Behaviours – using the existing testing methods for GSS recruitment.

Using the specific competencies referred to above, endorsed by GSS People Committee ensures standardisation. However, departments can use alternative competencies if they consider them to be more relevant to their post. GSS recruitment can advise on how to assess other competencies, e.g. by a competency question or presentation.

GSS recruitment will help departments with interview outcome moderation on their campaigns if required.

Training

GSS, Human Resources (HR) departments and existing assessors are completing an upskilling programme to support the use of Success Profiles across GSG. All new GSS assessor training for departments from January 2019 will be delivered as Success Profiles.

Further information and detailed guidance can be found on Civil Service Learning. If you require additional advice or would like to book on the training please email gss.recruitment@ons.gov.uk.

Recruitment guidance

Recruitment principles

In order to bring the right people with the right skills into the GSG and to develop the cadre of skilled professionals, it is important that members are recruited in a consistent manner. The basic premise for this is covered by five principles:

  1. Minimum entry requirements will apply, as agreed by Heads of Profession.
  2. The GSG Competency Framework will be used as the basis for assessment of statistical competence.
  3. The Civil Service Behaviours will be used as the basis for assessment of generic ability.
  4. Consistent selection methods will apply, which consider a candidate’s potential to develop and perform against both the GSG Competency Framework and Civil Service Behaviours.
  5. An independent assessor (usually an external GSG member) will be present to ensure that GSG standards are met.

Qualification requirements

For statistical posts, the accepted qualifications are:

  • a first or second class honours degree in a numerate subject (2:1 minimum for Assistant Statistician; 2:2 minimum for Statistical Officer) containing at least 25% taught statistical content(e.g. Statistics, Mathematics, Economics, Sciences, Business Studies, Psychology, Geography or similar)
  • a higher degree, e.g. an MSc or PhD, in a subject containing formal statistical training (e.g. Statistics, Mathematics, Economics, Sciences, Business Studies, Psychology, Geography or similar)
  • have worked in a statistical or data science field and are able to demonstrate continuous professional development (via a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) log book) in statistics or data science at the same level as a foundation degree or Higher National Diploma (HND) Level 5
  • have achieved or on track to achieve a level 4 apprenticeship including at least two years in a statistical or data analysis field in government and are able to demonstrate continuous professional development in statistics or data analysis (via a CPD log book signed off by a manager or mentor who are members of the statistical profession)

For statistical data scientist posts, the accepted qualifications are:

  • a first or second class honours degree in a numerate discipline, computer science or Information Technology (IT) equivalent which demonstrates core statistical skills
  • a higher degree, e.g. an MSc or PhD, in Data Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics (this is not a definitive list)
  • have worked in a statistical or data science field and are able to demonstrate continuous professional development (via a CPD log book) in statistics or data science at the same level as a foundation degree or HND Level 5

Please note: candidates may apply in their final year of study while they are still awaiting their qualification result. But, formal contracts can only be offered upon confirmation of the achievement of the relevant qualification. In the case of an apprenticeship, this includes completing two years work experience in a statistical or data analysis field in government as part of attaining the qualification.

Independent GSG assessors

An independent assessor is required to be present for the recruitment of any non-GSG grade into the GSG. Independent assessors will be GSG staff at least one grade higher than the advertised post. They will normally come from another government department or organisation, and it is vital that they have a good knowledge of the GSG.

If a department is unable to source an assessor from another government department or organisation, they should contact the Head of GSS Recruitment for approval to use an assessor from a different business area within their department.

Independent assessors must ensure that:

  • relevant standards of the GSG Competency Framework are met
  • CPD requirements are covered, where appropriate
  • candidates are judged on their potential to develop and perform against the GSG Competency Framework
  • a GSG approved test is used where required by this guidance
  • this guidance is being observed.

The GSS Recruitment Team holds a list of assessors and will offer training for new assessors and refresher training for existing assessors.

Independent assessors must:

  • be HEO grade or above
  • have been in the GSG for at least a year
  • complete Civil Service unconscious bias and equality and diversity training
  • attend a GSG briefing or training session before being placed on the list (a specific Fast Stream training session is required before an assessor can participate in the recruitment of assistant statisticians)
  • attend a refresher briefing if requested to do so by the GSS Recruitment Team following significant changes to the recruitment procedures
  • agree to their names, email addresses and telephone numbers being made available through the GSG website for recruiting managers across departments to contact
  • agree that their performance may be evaluated, in order to ensure that standards are being maintained (note that this is already a feature of fast stream assessment)
  • have a good knowledge of the GSG
  • be available to undertake sifting for GSS Recruitment campaigns
  • be available for at least five days of interviewing a year

Civil Service (CS) Behaviours and GSG Competency Framework

Civil Service behaviours should be used in conjunction with the GSG Competency Framework to ensure that candidates meet the appropriate competencies at the required level or grade for the post.

The number of competencies required from each framework will depend on the requirements of the exercise e.g. recruitment/promotion/badging.

See Annexes for more details.

Recruitment of:

  • Statistical Officer (StO)
  • Higher Statistical Officer (HStO)
  • Senior Statistical Officer (SStO)
  • Statistical Data Scientist (SDS)
  • Higher Statistical Data Scientists (HSDS)
  • Senior Statistical Data Scientist (SSDS)

All grades of statistical officers or statistical data scientists up to SEO grade are mainly recruited centrally via the GSS Recruitment Team on a continual basis. GSS Recruitment is responsible for running the schemes which test candidates’ statistical or data science knowledge as well as their generic (core) capability.

All panel members must be at least one grade higher than the advertised post. An independent assessor is required and the interview assessment should consist of:

  • an online multiple choice statistical test
  • Civil Service judgement team (SStO grade only)
  • a dissemination test or presentation
  • an interview

Candidates are required to provide evidence against the criteria for the person specification contained within the advert relevant to the grade being recruited.

Evidence from across the five pillars (Helpful, Innovative, Capable, Efficient and Professional) will be pulled out during interview, e.g. evidence will be sought on a candidate’s capability and/or their potential to apply statistics in an innovative way.

Assessors are looking to confirm that:

  • StO and SDS candidates are demonstrating the potential to achieve Level 1 of the GSG Competency Framework within their first year; and Level 2 of the Civil Service behaviours
  • HStO,SDS,SStO & SSDS candidates are demonstrating Level 2 GSG competencies and Level 3 of the Civil Service Behaviours

All recruitment exercise must comply with this approach/guidance.

Temporary Statistical Officers (TSOs)

TSOs can be employed on a fixed-term basis for 51 weeks. There are two recruitment routes for TSOs and the GSS Recruitment Team manage the pipeline on behalf of departments. The entry routes are:

  • applicants apply via a fair and open StO external exercise but fail to meet the required standard and fall short by scoring one ‘3’ in either of the technical competencies or Civil Service Behaviours
  • applicants apply via an advertised TSO campaign managed by the GSS Recruitment Team. They undertake the GSS online test and then have a ‘light touch’ telephone interview undertaken by one HStO and one member of the GSS Recruitment Team

Occasionally departments may need to run their own recruitment campaigns. If this happens, departments must ensure that they follow the guidance, structure and requirements for recruiting into the GSG.

All panel members must be at least one grade higher than the advertised post. Departments must seek sign-off of their bespoke recruitment process with the Head of GSS Recruitment before they begin to make sure that standards are being maintained.

The following information is for departmental recruitment of:

  • Statistical Officer (StO)
  • Higher Statistical Officer (HStO)
  • Senior Statistical Officer (SStO)
  • Statistical Data Scientist (SDS)
  • Higher Statistical Data Scientists (HSDS)
  • Senior Statistical Data Scientist (SSDS)

Departments should use the central schemes to recruit entrants. If departments run their own recruitment campaigns for these grades, they should follow the requirements outlined in Annex A for recruiting Statistical Officers and Statistical Data Scientists from Executive Officer (EO) to Senior Executive Officer grade and seek sign-off of their planned procedures with the Head of GSS Recruitment before commencing.

The following information is for departmental recruitment of Grade 7 or 6 Principal Statistician and Grade 7 or 6 Statistical Data Scientist and above.

The GSS Recruitment team does not presently offer a central recruitment service for these grades. When directly recruiting for Grade 7 or Grade 6, departments should ensure there is an independent assessor involved and the interview assessment consists of:

  • an online multiple choice statistical or numeracy test
  • a dissemination test or presentation
  • an interview

It is expected that the recruitment will focus on the three statistical strands:

  • acquiring data or understanding customer needs
  • data analysis
  • presenting and disseminating data effectively

Evidence from across the five pillars (Helpful, Innovative, Capable, Efficient and Professional) will be pulled out during interview, e.g. evidence will be sought on a candidate’s capability and/or their potential to apply statistics in an innovative way.

For Grade 7 and Grade 6 recruitment, assessors are looking to confirm that candidates are demonstrating the required level of competence as set out at Level 3 of the GSG Competency Framework.

The following information is for departmental recruitment of a Senior Civil Service (SCS) Statistician or a SCS Statistical Data Scientist.

The GSS Recruitment Team does not presently offer a central recruitment service for these grades and each exercise will require bespoke treatment. When recruiting SCS statisticians and SCS statistical data scientists, departments should ensure there is an independent assessor involved and the interview assessment consists of:

  • a presentation
  • an interview

For entry into the profession, at more senior grades such as this, it is expected that the recruitment will focus on the three statistical strands:

  • acquiring data/understanding customer needs
  • data analysis
  • presenting and disseminating data effectively

Evidence across the five pillars (Helpful, Innovative, Capable, Efficient and Professional). Assessors should adjust their interviews in line with the expectations of the grade as outlined in the GSG Competency Framework and Civil Service behaviours.

Any SCS Statistician and SCS Statistical Data Scientist (or equivalent) exercise must comply with this approach/guidance.

If departments recruit staff to statistical posts who have been recruited outside of the standards described in the GSS Recruitment process they will be required to sit a badging board to gain recognised membership to the GSG.

There is the requirement for staff to hold the same qualifications pr experience as for external GSG entry requirements. Badging boards are run quarterly at EO to Grade 7 levels by the GSS Recruitment Team. If departments need to run their own exercises outside of this schedule they must contact the GSS Recruitment Team to ensure the appropriate testing materials are used.

Badging follows similar principles as when recruiting directly into the GSG, i.e. the minimum qualification requirements and the requirements for the interview process are very similar.

Requirements for a badging board:

  • online multiple choice test
  • dissemination test
  • presentation
  • interview
  • assessment against the appropriate level of the GSG Competency Framework

There is no requirement to assess candidates against the Civil Service Behaviours.

Assessors for badging boards

The assessment panel must consist of at least two Statisticians or Statistical Data Scientists, one of which should be independent, and at least one grade higher than the grade being assessed.

Independent GSG assessors

An independent assessor will normally come from another government department or organisation, and it is vital that they have a good knowledge of the GSG. If a department is unable to source an assessor from another government department or organisation, they should contact the Head of GSS Recruitment for approval to use an assessor from a different business area within their department.

Staff wishing to return to the GSG

GSG staff are free to take up posts outside of the profession for up to five years, but are required to maintain their CPD log books during this time so as to demonstrate their continuous professional membership.

Where GSG staff have worked outside the profession for more than five years, they are required to be ‘re-badged’ on their return to the profession. This is to ensure that standards are maintained.

This guidance sets out the principles and processes for departments wishing to undertake a promotion campaign for those already in the Government Statistical Group (GSG).

Promotion principles

In order for staff to retain their GSG membership and for the GSG to develop the cadre of skilled professionals, it is important that members are promoted in a consistent manner.

Namely:

  • the GSG Competency Framework will be used as the basis for assessment of statistical competence
  • the Civil Service Behaviours will be used as the basis for assessment of generic capability
  • consistent advertising and promotion methods will be applied to ensure that candidates are able to provide evidence against both the GSG Competency Framework and the Civil Service behaviours
  • an independent assessor (usually an external GSG member) will be present for Grade 7, Grade 6 and SCS boards

Independent GSG assessors

When existing GSG members apply for promotion to Grade 7, Grade 6 and SCS an independent assessor is required for interview panels.

Independent assessors will be GSG staff at least one grade higher than the advertised post. They will normally come from another government department or organisation, and it is vital that they have a good knowledge of the GSG.

If a department is unable to source an assessor from another government department or organisation, they should contact the Head of GSS Recruitment for approval to use an assessor from a different business area within their department.

GSG Competency Framework and Civil Service Behaviours

Civil Service Behaviours should be used in conjunction with the GSG Competency Framework to ensure that candidates meet the appropriate competencies at the required level or grade for the post.

The number of GSG competencies and Civil Service behaviours required will depend on the requirements for the post(s) and can be decided by recruiting managers. The recommendations is that the mix of competencies and behaviours does not exceed six in total.

Review frequency:

This guidance is reviewed every two years.

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