|Education:||BSc Computing & Management Sciences|
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.
Being too late to make a proper application and I had to go through clearings. 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.
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 uni 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 agencies (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, following which I was placed in the health and social care workforce analysis team. In this role I supported a variety of projects including NHS workforce planning and reforming bursary schemes for social work students.
Since 2008, I have co-ordinated a team of analysts across Government in liaising with students and potential candidates across the country. 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.
In October 2012, I was successful in progressing to middle management and was assigned to provide analytical support to the equality agenda in NHS England – the new body responsible for commissioning NHS services across the UK.
I am leading on analysis to promote equality and reduce health inequalities in England. I work with a large policy team and am dedicated to ensuring everyone has the best access to services and health outcomes, regardless of their background, characteristics or individual circumstances. I manage a wide work programme, working with other analytical teams and senior managers across a range of organisations.
My work is contributing to a national NHS strategy to address equality issues in the NHS workforce and delivery of services to the most underserved people in the country. As such, I work with a vast range of people in the public, private and voluntary sectors, and have the inspiring opportunity to work with service users from a range of backgrounds.
In my experience, it certainly isn’t the case that government analysts sit in their ivory towers with little exposure to frontline services!
The biggest perk of belonging to a Civil Service professional body, such as GORS, is the 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 lead the marketing group and have sat 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.