Job description

Reference number



£50,205 - £60,189


Grade 7

Contract type

Fixed Term

Length of employment


Business area

ONS - Statistical Methods and Research - Data Architecture

Type of role

Architecture and Data
Information Technology
Operational Delivery

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Homeworking, Part-time

Number of posts



Newport, Wales, NP10 8XG : Fareham, South East, PO15 5RR

About the job


Data, Growth and Operations (DGO) aims to provide the statistical foundations the organisation needs to create statistics for the public good.

It was created to combine the key components that ONS needs for transformation into one integrated service. This includes providing new data and methods services for ONS transformation programmes and harnessing pockets of expertise across ONS, using it to maximise output through collaboration and utilising existing governance.

DGO provides many services across four divisions including Data Acquisition and Operations(DAO) and Data Architecture (DA).

Job description

The purpose of the Senior Data Scientist is to code, manipulate, engineer, model and analyse data and/or data processes to underpin ONS Data Architecture and support internal and external users.

A data scientist identifies complex business problems whilst leveraging data value. They work as part of a multidisciplinary team with data architects, data engineers, analysts and others.

Data scientists:
  • work with policy and operations teams to understand where data science can add value;
  • support strategic and operational decision making in order to create impact;
  • source, access, manipulate and engineer data processes with data that typically have characteristics of volume, velocity and variety, or both;
  • build credible statistical models from the data and use best coding practices to generate reproducible work;
  • may draw on other technical and analytical standards from across government and industry;
  • adhere to the data science ethics framework;
  • are open minded and demonstrate strong intellectual curiosity;
  • have an interdisciplinary focus, using techniques and knowledge from across the scientific spectrum;
  • explore and visualise the data to present the ‘story’ of the data in a meaningful way and to a range of technical and non-technical audiences;
  • use an evolving range of data analysis tools and techniques, including open source, some of which must be learnt quickly, as and when required;
  • continuously seek to expand a range of technical skills in addition to their leadership and communications development;
  • propagate data science skills in other teams, understanding the variety of functional roles relating to data science and how they can be most effectively applied to solve business problems.

Data scientists work in an open, transparent and collaborative manner, sharing good practice and seeking to continuously improve the quality of outputs.


A Senior Data Scientist is an expert data scientist who provides support and guidance to teams.

Senior data scientists:
  • are a recognised authority on a number of data science specialisms within government, with some knowledge of cutting edge techniques;
  • engage with senior stakeholders and champion the value of data science;
  • line manage more junior colleagues;
  • communicate the value of data science to senior stakeholders.

Person Specification

Essential skills criteria and experience:

  • Understands how algorithms are designed, optimised and applied at scale. Can select and use appropriate statistical methods for sampling, distribution assessment, bias and error. Understands problem structuring methods and can evaluate when each method is appropriate. Applies scientific methods through experimental design, exploratory data analysis and hypothesis testing to reach robust conclusions.

  • Works with other technologists and analysts to integrate and separate data feeds in order to map, produce, transform and test new scalable data products that meet user needs. Has a demonstrable understanding of how to expose data from systems (for example, through APIs), link data from multiple systems and deliver streaming services. Works with other technologists and analysts to understand and make use of different types of data models. Understands and can make use of different data engineering tools for repeatable data processing and is able to compare between different data models. Understands how to build scalable machine learning pipelines and combine feature engineering with optimisation methods to improve the data product performance.

  • Recognises and exploits business opportunities to ensure more efficient and effective ways to use data science. Explores ways of utilising new data science tools and techniques to tackle business and organisational challenges. Demonstrates strong intellectual curiosity with an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on innovation in academia and industry.

  • Continuously develops data science knowledge, utilising multiple sources. Shares data science practices across departments and in industry, promoting professional development and use of best practice across all capabilities identified for data scientists. Focuses on recruitment and induction of data scientists.

  • Understands the context of the business, its processes, data and priorities. Applies data science techniques to present, communicate and disseminate data science products effectively, appropriately and with high impact. Uses the most appropriate medium to visualise data to tell compelling and actionable stories relevant for business goals. Maintains a user focus to design solutions that meet user needs, taking account of agreed cross-government ethics standards.

  • Uses a range of coding practices to build scalable data products that can be used by strategic or operational users and can be further integrated into business systems. Works with technologists to design, create, test and document these data products. Works in accordance with agreed software development standards, including security, accessibility and version control.

  • Understands the different phases of product delivery and is able to plan and run the analysis for these. Able to contribute to decision-making throughout the lifecycle. Works in collaboration with user researchers, Developers and other roles throughout the lifecycle. Understands the value of analysis, how to contribute with impact and which data sources, analytical techniques and tools can be used at each point throughout the lifecycle.


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

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Working Together

Technical skills

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

  • A combination of technical questions and tests may be used at interview stage aligned to the person specification of the role. DDAT Profession


The Office for National Statistics is part of the Civil Service, and as such we share a number of key benefits with other departments, whilst also having our own unique offerings to support our 5000+ valued employees across the business.

Whether you are hearing about us for the first time or already know a bit about our organisation, we hope that the benefits pack attached (bottom of page) will give you a great insight into the benefits and facilities available to our employees, and our fantastic working culture.

We are an organisation that takes the well-being of its employees seriously and lives and breathes the desire to modernise the workplace of the future. Everyone, from our office-based staff in Newport, London and Titchfield, to our field interviewers and airports and ports passenger survey staff, are part of a diverse and inclusive family.

Inclusion & Accessibility

At ONS we're always looking to attract the very best people from the widest possible talent pool, and we are proud to be an inclusive, equal opportunities employer. As a member of the Business Disability Forum and a Disability Confident Leader we’re committed to ensuring that all candidates are treated fairly throughout the recruitment process.

As part of our application process, you will be prompted to provide details of any reasonable adjustments to our recruitment process that you need. If you would like to discuss any reasonable adjustments before applying, please contact the recruitment team in the first instance.

If you would like an accessible version of any of the attachments or recruitment documents below or linked to in this advert, please contact the recruitment team who will be happy to assist.

If you need help with any part of the application process or completing your CV or personal statement please contact our Recruitment Team at or call us on 01633 455556, one of the team will be happy to help you.

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.

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