|Grade:||GORS Level 3|
|Department:||Department for Work and Pensions|
BSc Mathematics and Philosophy
PhD Mathematics and Computer Science
- Reasons for joining GORS
- While writing up my PhD I began looking for jobs outside academia. I still enjoyed my subject but started to feel I wanted a job that was more engaging on a day-to-day basis, one with a bit of drive and that involved more working with other people. Finding OR in government fits my requirements perfectly: it gave me the rapidly changing, exciting environment I'd hoped for, but still required me to think analytically. It was also in the public sector, something that was essential for me to be properly motivated. I had very little knowledge of OR when entering GORS, but soon found out that this is very common - OR itself is a very cross-discipline subject - and that my natural inclination towards structuring problems and understanding complex situations fitted in very well.
- Career path and experience
- I began my career in GORS working in a team responsible for the analysis of employment programmes for people on disability benefits. It involved wrestling with large (60 million+ records) databases to produce various statistical analyses and reports, and working in quite a high profile area at the time - welfare reform. I also worked on projects using VBA to produce tools for front-line advisers. On promotion to GORS Level 2, I decided to try out something a bit different. I had a variety of options - pensions forecasting, economic modelling - but I decided to move to the Child Poverty Unit. My work there involved managing an external research contract, while also playing a wider role overseeing evaluations of a variety of other activity across government. Alongside this, I provided ad-hoc analytical support and advice to other colleagues in the unit: helping to structure messy situations; advising on survey design; inputting on guidance to local authorities on the use of central government data; etc. I was then offered a role closer to the front-line services being provided by the Department, and jumped at the opportunity.
- Current role and responsibilities
- Initially I worked on performance measurement and analysis, particularly around benefit fraud; this involved engagement with various operational staff as well as developing a rigorous analytical structure to our approach to measure development. My work on performance analysis has continued, but my role has shifted slightly to focus more on cost-effectiveness: what are we getting for the money we spend. While always an important question it has gained much more attention following the recession and the change of Government. The work is only just beginning but already I’m starting to develop economic models and delve into previously untouched data.
- Life in GORS
- GORS provides a strong professional network across the Civil Service, and while we're all technically employed by one Department or another there is a strong feeling of community and free movement around Departments (location permitting). The number of operational researchers in government is growing as our value is recognised, and GORS provides the opportunity to talk to other Operational Researchers in other Departments, who have often tackled similar problems, or have interesting ideas to share; I've had the opportunity to present work at both local seminars and national conferences. Many people play an active role supporting GORS: in my case I have helped plan and organise events, whether technical training, local seminar, or informal workshops, and also undertaken various roles within my Department.
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