HM Land Registry

Grade 7, Senior Project Data Scientist and/or Engi...

Job description

Job Summary

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Our broad remit means we play a major role in people's day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink.

Portfolio Directorate

Portfolio Directorate is at the centre of Defra's work to deliver £30B+ of major projects that will benefit the environment, rural communities, agricultural producers and the UK public. You will play a critical role in supporting, enabling and delivering these projects by putting our customers, data and successful delivery at the centre of all that we do. And you'll be part of a diverse, friendly and fun team based across the UK.

Project Data Division is new, nimble and multi-disciplinary group of data engineers and architects, analysts and service managers, project managers and subject matter experts with a mandate to transform how to Defra does major project delivery.

While we sit within the Director General-lead Portfolio Delivery Group, we work across all of Defra’s £30B+ portfolio of major projects. From the £5.2B floods defences investment programme to the £500M English Tree Planting Programme, from a new animal and plant science capability for the UK to the implementation of the Windsor Framework in Northern Ireland, we are at the centre of some of the most exciting and impactful work in government.

Come join us to help put data at the heart of all we do!

Encouraging diverse applicants

We recognise the challenges that people with (multiple) protected characteristics may experience on the job market and in their career progression. We are fully committed to being an inclusive employer and ensuring equal opportunities. We are keen to make our workforce as diverse as possible, and we hope to attract applications from underrepresented groups.

Job Description

You will lead improvements in how we get, manage and exploit data across Defra’s major projects. This means more than ‘just’ project management-related data; we will be working with teams to improve the identification and exploitation of their most critical data assets. Your day-to-day work will be diverse. One day you could be scoping a new analytical project to solve a specific problem, another day you could be focused on advising senior leaders how to improve data architecture across the organisation.

You will be part of a small team of specialists, both contributing to and leading diverse matrix teams. You will thrive in a fast-paced, changing and complex environment. You see opportunity in ambiguity, re-prioritise with relish, be agile in all that you do, fail and learn in the open, and ultimately get stuff done. You are a friendly and inspiring team player, an outstanding communicator who is confident operating amidst high degrees of ambiguity and change.

You will do so as part of a team that prides itself on being friendly, ambitious and fun. We are:

  • Data-centric, helping embed data in all areas and stages of project activity
  • Problem focused, thinking about, defining and collaborating to solve business problems with data
  • Capability obsessed, working at all times to learn and expand our own skills & capabilities
  • Passionate about democratising data, making data a core part of everyone’s jobs

Does this sound only partially, not wholly like you? Don’t tune out now! You’ll be assessed on the evidence you bring from your previous experience in your written application and (if selected) at interview stage. We’re building a diverse, multi-talented team and we want to hear about the unique thing(s) you would bring to the table.

Additional Things You Might Find Yourself Doing Include

  • Applying both simple and advanced analytical techniques to extract insight from data
  • Developing innovative, clear and engaging products to communicate data and analysis, including interactive visualisation tools
  • Inspiring the people who make decisions and drive delivery of essential public services to use data
  • Establishing working practices and repositories which enable a pipeline process which can be re-used for later versions of the data. This will include advocate and leading on best practice for valuing, storage, and re-use of data.
  • Using Python and/or SQL scripting language for structuring and transforming data, deploying various python extensions as well as custom applications
  • Understanding how and where relevant data can be collected and collated to enable meaningful analysis
  • Maintaining an understanding of, and contributing to the development of the cross government and external data engineering & science communities, partnering where appropriate to improve cross-government linkages and learning

Person specification


Essential Criteria

  • Conceiving and delivering useful solutions to business problems with data, such as establishing data flows and pipelines from diverse sources by cultivating relationships and championing modern technological solutions
  • Building relationships with and influencing diverse stakeholders
  • Playing an active role in a project or project-related environment

You Will Be Able To Competently Demonstrate

  • Strong numeracy
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to translate complex information into meaningful, easily understood narrative
  • Keenness to develop excellence in communicating analytical findings for impact, including through creative visualisation
  • Strong interest in use of data and evidence to drive better outcomes
  • Attention to detail


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Changing and Improving
  • Making Effective Decisions

We only ask for evidence of these behaviours on your application form:

  • Communicating and Influencing

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Assessed Analytical Exercise. Details will be provided to those candidates who pass sift.


Alongside your salary of £49,403, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs contributes £13,338 towards you being a member of the Civil Service Defined Benefit Pension scheme. Find out what benefits a Civil Service Pension provides.

A career in the Civil Service is like no other. If you’re looking to join a world class team and develop your career with us, then the Civil Service is the place for you! You might be wondering, “what’s in it for me”? Take a look below at some of the benefits available to you as a civil servant in Defra.

Portfolio Directorate Benefits

Learning and Development

Everyone in Defra is supported to develop their skills and capabilities. When you join the Portfolio Directorate, you will be welcomed into your new team through an induction programme that will provide you with helpful information on the civil service, Defra, our work and our policies. Your line manager will also work with you to establish your priorities for the year, developing a performance, learning and development plan tailored to you and your role, while also working with you to connect you with a civil service mentor to help empower you in your new role with the opportunity to benefit from paid for coaching.

Most importantly, we’re keen to invest in you! As a civil servant, you will also have access to Civil Service Learning where you can participate in professional development programmes across a wide spectrum of subjects and professions.

Department Benefits


We’re a firm believer in agile and flexible working. When you join Defra, we’ll kit you out with a new Windows 10 Laptop, smartphone and rucksack to make sure that you perform your best wherever you are.


25 days' paid leave per annum rising to 30 days after five years’ service, in addition to eight public holidays and the King’s Birthday privilege day. We also offer

  • competitive maternity, paternity, parental and adoption leave
  • study leave for the pursuit of academic studies
  • 3 days paid leave for volunteering per annum
  • 15 days paid leave per year for reservist training
  • generous paid sick leave

Cycle to Work Scheme

Defra loans you a bike for your commute as a tax-free benefit. At the end of the loan period, you have the option to buy the bike, saving 30% of the original cost.

Season Ticket and Bicycle Loan

We offer interest-free season ticket loans, to all Defra employees with more than three months’ service, for purchasing train and bus season tickets, as well as station car parking. For those unable to take advantage of tax-free benefits, we also offer an interest-free bicycle loan to enable the purchase of a bicycle for commuting.

Gym, Social and Sports Activities

Our offices have a range of different onsite facilities, including gym, fitness facilities, games room, showers and cycle storage. There are also a variety of networks and social groups to join. Ask your line manager for more information.

Restaurant and Café Facilities

A range of our offices offer onsite restaurant and café facilities.

Civil Service Benefits


Your pension is a valuable part of your total reward package, and you will be given the chance to join one of three different pension plans. You can find more information on the Civil Service Pension on the MyCSP Website at

Civil Service Sports Council

The Civil Service Sports Council (CSSC) organises a wide choice of activities throughout the UK, from art, gliding, abseiling and orienteering to cabaret weekends and quiz and curry nights. Your CSSC membership will provide you with FREE access to hundreds of national and local sites, in addition to savings at many high street stores, cinemas, restaurants and historic houses.

Blended Working

Defra operates a blended working policy subject to business need, giving people the flexibility to choose when and where they work and collaborate with others.

Individuals are expected to work from one of the office locations stated in the advert to connect with their colleagues, as required by their role and business team needs. There is flexibility to split the working week, spending minimum of 40-60% in the workplace, unless exceptional circumstances apply and/or you are a contractual home worker.

Things you need to know

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Behaviours, Experience and Technical skills.

Application Process

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV, Personal Statement and 1 Behaviour Statements.

Please use the Job Description and the Essential Criteria in the Person Specification when writing your Personal Statement (500 word max).

Please complete a statement on the specified Behaviour (250 word max).

Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.


Should a large number of applications be received, an initial sift may be conducted using the lead Behaviour – Communicating and Influencing.

Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift or progressed straight to assessment/interview.

Sift and interview dates are to be confirmed.


If successful at application stage, you will be invited to a 2-stage interview.

Interview 1 will be a Technical Analytical Assessment which will take approximately 1-2 hours. More details will be provided to those who pass sift stage.

If candidates pass the Assessment stage, they will then be invited to Interview 2 which will be a Video interview and candidates will be assessed on the behaviours listed.

A presentation or additional exercise may also be assessed.

Interviews are expected to last no longer than 60 minutes.


Please be aware that this role(s) will be contractually based in a Defra group workplace/office. The successful candidate is required to carry out all their duties from a UK location, and cannot do so from an overseas location at any time.

Candidates applying for these roles will be based at one of the Defra hubs as advertised.

For information, our core Defra hub locations are:

  • York – the Kings Pool
  • Newcastle – Lancaster House
  • Bristol – Horizon House (Please note that space at this office is limited and it may not be possible for all Policy roles to be recruited to this location)
  • London – 2 Marsham Street

Internal (core Defra) employees can apply for this role and choose to remain in their current location or to be based in one of the advertised locations.

All other applicants will be based in one of the advertised locations.

Defra continues to support a blended working model and candidates are currently expected to attend their office base for 40-60% of the week.

Travel and subsistence will not be paid for travel to a base office location.

Reserve List

A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made.

Merit Lists

Where more than one location is advertised, candidates will be posted in merit order by location. You will be asked to state your location preference on your application.


New entrants to the Civil Service are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band. The internal roles rules apply to existing Civil Servants, i.e. level transfers move on current salary or the pay range minimum, transfers on promotion move to new pay range minimum or receive 10% increase. Either case is determined by whichever is the highest.

Visa Sponsorship Statement

Please take note that Defra does not hold a UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) Skilled Worker License sponsor and are unable to sponsor any individuals for Skilled Worker Sponsorship.

Reasonable Adjustment

If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

  • Contact Government Recruitment Service via as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.
  • Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.


If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the 'Contact point for applicants' section.

Criminal Record Check

If successful and transferring from another Government Department, a criminal record check may be carried out.

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstances some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing stating the job reference number in the subject heading.

Internal Fraud Database Check

Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

A candidate is not eligible to apply for a role within the Civil Service if the application is made within a 5-year period following a dismissal for carrying out internal fraud against government.

Childcare Vouchers

Any move to Defra from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.

Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is security check (opens in a new window).See our vetting charter (opens in a new window).

People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) checks.

Nationality requirements

This Job Is Broadly Open To The Following Groups

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities with settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window)
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities who have made a valid application for settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • individuals with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain who were eligible to apply for EUSS on or before 31 December 2020
  • Turkish nationals, and certain family members of Turkish nationals, who have accrued the right to work in the Civil Service

Further information on nationality requirements (opens in a new window)

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code (opens in a new window) sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles (opens in a new window).

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.

Apply and further information

This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans (opens in a new window) initiative.

The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment (opens in new window).

Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job Contact

  • Name : Strategy Resourcing Team
  • Email :

Recruitment team

  • Email :

Further information

If You Feel Your Application Has Not Been Treated In Accordance With The Recruitment Principles And You Wish To Make a Complaint, In The First Instance, You Should Contact

Government Recruitment Services via email:

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission: Click here to visit Civil Service Commission.

Please let the company know that you found this position on this Job Board as a way to support us, so we can keep posting cool jobs.

Similar jobs

Browse All Jobs
UK Civil Service
December 10, 2023

Grade 7, Senior Project Data Scientist and/or Engi...