|Department:||Department of Health|
|Education:||BSc Computing & Management Sciences|
- Reasons for joining GORS
I was introduced to Operational Research quite by accident back in 2004, when I was at the end of my tether with my first "career". As an 18-year old with absolutely no appetite for higher education, I left college and joined a high street bank with the intention of making a career in the finance sector. However, I soon realised that the only way to progress was through sales - a vocation that certainly didn't appeal! Thus, I decided to go back to education and take on a degree.
Unfortunately it was too late to make a proper application and I had to go through clearings. Wildly looking for anything that suited my A-Levels and skills, I decided on BSc Computing and Management Sciences at Sheffield Hallam, which happened to be a mix of Operational Research, Statistics and ICT. I was introduced to GORS during my 12-month work placement as part of the degree.
GORS appealed to me above other OR positions mainly because of the nature of the work. I wanted to apply my skills in an area other than finance and with wider objectives than just saving money or making profit.
- Career path and experience
I was first exposed to OR in the real world in 2006, when I undertook a 12-month undergraduate placement as a student analyst at the Department of Health. I was tasked to support the 18-weeks project, which aimed to reduce inpatient waiting times. I was also responsible for developing models to analyse the performance of ambulances against government response targets and simulate patient flows through hospitals.
After trundling back to unit for my final year, I applied to GORS for a permanent position and secured a job in the Department for Work and Pensions. My role here was to assess the productivity of the department and its various outlets (Jobcentre Plus, Child Support Agency, the Pension Service etc) by offsetting expenditure against outcomes.
In 2009, I was transferred on promotion back into the Department of Health and joined the Payment by Results (PbR) team. PbR is the largest payment mechanism for NHS hospitals, accounting for around 60% of their income. While still a highly technical position, the stakeholder engagement associated with this role has allowed me to develop the wider interpersonal skills essential for progression to more senior grades in the civil service.
I was then successful in applying for the first GORS Fast Stream intake in 2010. Since then, I have taken on more responsibility, including the line management of a sandwich student and more high profile ad-hoc pieces of work.
For the past 2 years, I have also been charged with co-ordinating the efforts of various government departments in liaising with students across the UK. This has been a particularly enjoyable responsibility, and is an example of the many extra-curricular opportunities that a career in the civil service can provide. It has provided me with invaluable project and client management and presentation skills.
- Current role and responsibilities
My current role in the PbR team in the Department of Health is an enjoyable challenge! My day-to-day job involves building and maintaining the models to calculate annual national tariffs by which NHS providers are paid. I am also responsible for assessing their impact on the income of individual hospitals.
Perhaps more enjoyable is the ad-hoc pieces of work that I get involved in. These are varied in terms of not only skills, but also audiences. Most recently, I have undertaken a piece of analysis to assess potential differences in the finances of hospitals across the UK for the Chief Executive of the NHS.
- Life in GORS
The biggest perk of belonging to a Civil Service professional body, such as GORS, is the exposure to and sense of community between different government departments. It provides unparalleled opportunities to move between vastly different work areas and offers access to high profile projects that impact on all areas of society. GORS analysts are also encouraged to get involved in various work streams associated with the body. As mentioned, I am responsible for university liaison activities and also sit on the GORS Recruitment committee, which shapes the process by which potential new GORS members are assessed. Such opportunities allow our analysts to develop the softer interpersonal skills that are often difficult to acquire in purely analytical environments.
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