User Researcher

Date Posted: 9 days ago
Salary: £36,498 - £40,297 a year
Coventry CV1 2WT

Job Description

Reference number



£36,498 - £40,297 National £36,498 - £40,297, London £40,228 - £44,538


Senior Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area

DFE - Operations Group - Digital and Technology - User Centred Design

Type of role

Customer Insight
Information Technology
Market Research
Operational Research
Social Research

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Number of posts



Coventry CV1 2WT, Darlington DL1 5QE, London SW1P 3BT, Manchester M1 2WD, Sheffield S1 2FJ

About the job


We are striving for world-class education, training, care for everyone whatever your background. For a more productive economy and so everyone has the chance to reach their potential and live a more fulfilled life.

These are exciting times at the Department for Education. We are transforming to become a user centred organisation, delivering better outcomes for all our users through agile and iterative software development and continuous improvement.

At the Department for Education, diversity is one of our cornerstones. Not just in terms of the background, skills and perspectives of the people who work here, but the different professions who call this organisation home.

The Digital and Technology Directorate are specialists in user centred design, delivery and technology. We partner with teams across the DfE to deliver world class services that improve the outcomes of children and learners in education and care.

The Digital and Technology Directorate directorate is part of a wider Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) community across government, sharing a clear vision of making public services digital by default, simpler, clearer and faster to use.

We are a community of specialists who work across the department to meet our users’ needs.

We have a strong culture of inclusion and diversity and are committed to being an equal opportunities employer. We aim to develop all our staff to enable them to make a full contribution to meeting the Department's objectives, and to fulfill their own potential. We promote and support the use of a range of flexible working patterns to help staff to balance home and work

We support this culture though our 11 staff networks, including the BAME, LGBT+ networks to the Carers and EU/EEA Nationals networks.

Job description

The Growing Up Well and Family Hubs team sits within the new Vulnerable Children and Families portfolio. Our mission is to drive the delivery of user-centered policies and services that support the department’s strategic priorities to:

  • Provide the best start in life through high-quality early education and childcare to raise standards and help parents to work
  • Support the most disadvantaged and vulnerable through high quality local services so that no one is left behind.

    The creation of Family Hubs is a cross government, ministerial priority and you will be joining a friendly, motivated and multidisciplinary team with an outward outlook.

    You will design and lead on a wide range of high profile user research activities, with diverse user groups. Support and guidance from more senior user researchers will be provided, alongside coaching conversations to support your development.

    User Researchers are key figures in the teams that design and deliver DfE’s policies and services. You will help teams to develop a deep understanding of the people - children, families, local authority professionals, businesses and government colleagues - who use a policy or service. Your findings will allow teams to design and build better policies and services more quickly and at lower cost and risk. And to continuously improve them, based on data and evidence.

    You will be welcomed into an active user research community of over 100 colleagues.

    Main Responsibilities:

    You will:

  • Plan, design, prepare and run a range of user research activities to support the design, development and continuous improvement of digital products and services, and to inform policy development and iteration.

  • Carry out research activities, from recruiting participants, preparing discussion guides and moderating research sessions, to leading analysis of research data and delivering clear and actionable findings.

  • Design and run contextual and discovery research to develop a deep understanding of the needs of all users of a service.

  • Advocate for inclusive research and design, and conduct research with a diverse range of users to ensure that our services are usable and accessible for everyone.

  • Collaborate with insight and analysis colleagues in your team and wider DfE to build up a rich picture of our users and how and why they use our services.

  • Work closely with the multidisciplinary team to turn user research findings into stories and actions that lead to valuable product and service designs that meet users’ needs.

  • Ensure research is shareable and traceable through appropriate and transparent research data analysis and synthesis of findings.

  • Effectively communicate user research findings to the team and the wider organisation to help develop empathy for our users and inform evidence-based decisions (including presentations at show-and-tells, designing, maintaining and sharing research outputs and artefacts, and creating research reports).

  • Help embed a culture of team involvement in user research, team analysis, design rationale and decision-making based on user needs.

  • Actively contribute to the user research community within DfE and across government.

    For further information on what we expect from a User Researcher, please see the link below.


    Selection Criteria

    You must show evidence of the below essential skills and experience criteria:

    Essential skills and experience:

  • Strategic insight: Proven ability to understand the complex problems a team or service is trying to solve as well as organisational strategy and objectives, and ability to align user research activities to inform the team’s decision-making.

  • Research skills: Strong understanding and experience of a range of user research methodologies and their strengths and limitations, and the ability to choose appropriate research methods for different situations and service/product development phases.

  • Analysis and synthesis: Experience of helping teams to understand and adopt a range of research methods and analysis techniques.

  • Inclusive research: Strong understanding of the diversity of users of government services and the need to make services usable and accessible for everyone, and experience researching with users with access needs.

  • User centered and agile practices: Proven experience of working in multidisciplinary teams to embed user-centred design practices (including identifying and advocating for what users need) and to deliver continuous research.

  • Ability and experience in using research findings to create impact within an organisation and to influence decision making within service teams and at senior levels.

  • Experience of advocating for user research and engaging sceptical colleagues and stakeholders in research.

  • A good understanding of the social and technological context of government services.


  • Understanding of the Service Manual & Government Service Standard.

    Ideally you will also have experience in conducting research:

  • With people with low digital skills.
  • With people with accessibility needs.
  • With diverse and hard-to-reach audiences

    Desirable criteria will only be assessed in the event of a tie break situation to make an informed decision.


Applicants currently holding a permanent post in the Civil Service should note that, if successful, their salary on appointment would be determined by the Department’s transfer / promotion policies.

As a member of the DfE, you will be entitled to join the highly competitive Civil Service Pension Scheme, which many experts agree is one of the most generous in the UK.

You will have 25 days leave, increasing by 1 day every year to a maximum of 30 days after five years’ service. In addition, all staff receive the Queen’s Birthday privilege holiday and 8 days’ bank and public holidays.

We offer flexible working arrangements, such as job sharing, term-time working, flexi-time and compressed hours.

As an organisation, which exists to support education and lifelong learning, we offer our staff excellent professional development opportunities.

Related Jobs

Job Detail

  • Job Id
  • Location
    Coventry CV1 2WT
  • Company
  • Type
  • Employment Status
  • Positions
  • Career Level
  • Gender

Contact Department for Education

Sponsored by connects jobseekers and recruiters by accurately matching candidate profiles to the relevant job openings through an advanced 2-way matching technology. While most job portals only focus on getting candidates the next job, Shine focuses on the entire career growth of candidates.

Latest Job