Lead Data Scientist

Location: Sheffield

*** Mention DataYoshi when applying ***

Lead Data Scientists are experienced Data Scientists who provide detailed technical advice, support and guidance to project teams.

As a Lead Data Scientist, you will inspire best practice and be a recognised authority on a number of data science specialisms within government, with the ability to understand, teach and supervise a wide range of cutting-edge analysis techniques.
You will provide oversight of several projects of high political exposure, value or complexity, and engage with senior stakeholders to champion the value of data science. You will work with technical teams to develop design patterns that embed analytical models into scalable automated solutions.

You will be a thought leader within the Data Science community, and manage the development of junior staff.

This role attracts RRA (Recruitment and Retention Allowance) of between £4,261 - £9,500 depending on skills and experience. This allowance is subject to an annual review in line with departmental priorities and could be reduced or withdrawn at any time.

The minimum national security vetting level required is SC, but it can be gained on successful application and before taking up appointment. For some elements of the role DV clearance would be useful, but completion of DV clearance is not a pre-requisite for taking up appointment and can proceed once in post.

We often have similar roles available at different grades. If a candidate is suitable for a similar role or a lower grade than they have applied for, we may offer the candidate that role without the need to go through a further selection process providing the role has the same behaviours and essential skills.


Your main day to day responsibilities will be:
  • building data pipelines at scale using a range of tools and technologies and advising on data engineering best practices across industry
  • identifying future areas of innovation and showing how it can be applied to the organisation and wider government
  • developing knowledge of cutting-edge techniques and sharing knowledge of data science across the organisation
  • presenting analysis and visualisations in a clear way to communicate complex messages to a wide range of technical and non-technical audiences
  • defining best practice to evolve data governance and ensure both project teams and users of the products apply core Data Science ethical frameworks in their business area
  • designing, coding, testing, correcting and documenting moderate to complex programmes and scripts from agreed specifications and subsequent iterations, using agreed standards and tools

You will also be expected to carry out the following day to day activities:
  • creating data science products which are proportionate to the business benefit and achieve significant impact
  • helping the organisation create and learn from strategic insights
  • leading ad hoc data exploration practices in your business area by identifying and setting best practice and standards
  • applying emerging theory to practical solutions
  • collaborating with others to review specifications where appropriate
  • promoting and monitoring continuous professional development within the organisation
  • line managing and mentoring junior colleagues

Essential criteria:

You’ll have demonstrable passion for Data Science, with the following skills or some experience in:
  • delivering innovative, data driven solutions on large or complex data sets including gathering disparate data, extensive data manipulation, iteration of analytics techniques and visualisation of results
  • demonstrating software or data engineering essentials, including producing repeatable data pipelines, version control, testing and performance optimisation
  • solving problems with the curiosity and proactivity to engage and understand senior stakeholder’s strategic goals and needs
  • confidently communicating technical / analytical findings and recommendations that inform wider decisions in a compelling way to senior technical and non-technical audiences
  • using a range of data science techniques (e.g. machine learning, network analysis, data matching, information retrieval, text analytics) in a real-world setting
  • demonstrating a deep understanding of data privacy, data protection and the ethical implications of Data Science
  • leading a/several teams and setting best practice to develop programming and analysis skills of self and others

All these requirements are important for the job, however candidates are not expected to be expert in all of them. Just give as much evidence as you can for each and make sure you cover ‘how’ you demonstrated the requirements and the impact of your work, as well as ‘what’ you did.

To be eligible, applicants must either be a badged member of the Government Statistical Group (GSG) or the Government Operational Research Service (GORS), or meet the minimum criteria to become a member of one of these professions as detailed in the Qualifications section.

Desirable Criteria:

Ideally you will also have the following skills or some experience in:
  • picking up new technologies relevant to the data manipulation, data analytics and visualisation domain
  • understanding the pitfalls of different analytics techniques and how to mitigate them
  • demonstrating a strong grasp of Quality Assurance for Analysis
  • understanding the benefits of different analytics techniques and developing strategies for increasing their adoption where relevant (e.g. NLP, neural networks, deep learning etc.)
  • using analytics for risk scoring, recommender solutions or other operationalised machine learning applications
  • creating automated reporting solutions or bespoke data visualisations with embedded analytics including UI design best practices
  • delivering apps, APIs or web sites at scale using SQL, NoSQL or Graph database technologies
  • working with ‘big data’ challenges such as high volume, variety or velocity of data, correlation, association and inference
  • data handling, security and privacy best practices.
  • working with suppliers and stakeholders across all grades and working with internal / external stakeholders to deliver results


To be eligible, applicants must either be a badged member of one of the following Professions:

Government Statistical Group (GSG); or
Government Operational Research Service (GORS)

or meet the minimum criteria to become a member of one of these professions (as below).

Applicants who do not hold membership of either GSG or GORS professional bodies, will be assessed for professional membership at the interview stage subject to meeting the qualification requirements for each professional body as below:

GSG (minimum criteria):

  • a first or second class honours degree in a numerate discipline, computer science or IT equivalent which demonstrates core statistical skills;
  • a higher degree, e.g. an MSc or PhD, in Data Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics (this is not a definitive list);
  • have worked in a statistical or data science field and are able to demonstrate Continuous Professional Development (via a log book) in statistics or data science at the same level as a foundation degree or Higher National Diploma (level five)


GORS (minimum criteria):

  • a numerate degree (minimum 2:1, or a 2:2 with relevant work experience or a postgraduate qualification), at least half of which must be from one or more of these subjects: Operational Research, mathematics, physics, econometrics, engineering or management sciences, but the list of subjects considered is left open.


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

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Developing Self and Others
  • Making Effective Decisions

Technical skills

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

  • HODS - Analytics
  • HODS - Achieving impact with analysis


  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A Civil Service pension

*** Mention DataYoshi when applying ***

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