DWP on the hunt for a fraud chief and leading data scientists

Profile picture for user ddpreez By Derek du Preez December 16, 2019
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is hiring for a number of roles that will help lead its large scale digital products.


The Department for Work and Pensions (DPW) is the UK government’s largest department and supports over 22 million people every day. It is currently hiring for a number of senior digital roles, including two lead data scientists, as well as a deputy director of Fraud, Error and Debt. 

DWP has a number of complex technology projects ongoing, but notably it is the lead department for the government’s flagship Universal Credit scheme, which aims to merge a number of welfare payments into one single payment. Universal Credit was created with the intention of making it easier for people to find and get back into work, but has faced high level criticism since launch. 

Last year the National Audit Office said that Universal Credit was not value for money and that many processes “still manual and inefficient”. 

On the Deputy Director of Fraud, Error and Debt role, the Department is looking to hire someone that can support the organisation in preventing fraud and eliminating error through the definition and delivery of a range of “next generation digital solutions into a large scale, business critical live service”. 

The successful candidate will be based in Manchester and receive a salary of £90,000. They will also lead a team of 120 people, with the aim of helping DWP develop an internal enterprise wide capability that will enable the department to “operate at the forefront of this profession”. 

The job description states that the deputy director will be responsible for: 

  • Leading the delivery of large scale digital products in major, complex, multi-supplier and in-house development environments. Driving the performance of a number of digital delivery teams operating in an agile environment to deliver business outcomes; 

  • Recruiting, building and leading teams to both protect existing live services and to deliver transformative new ones. 

  • Ensuring live service performance of existing Fraud, Error, and Debt services and owning a clear roadmap that describes how continuous improvement of these services sits alongside strategic transformation activities already underway; 

  • Working with other senior leaders and product managers to remove blockers, manage risks, commercials, budgets, suppliers and people assignments. 

  • Leading by example to help transform the culture of the organisation; fostering a high trust, empowered environment. Embedding a culture based on openness and transparency, supporting inclusive values to drive engagement and performance in a matrix-managed system; 

  • Advanced stakeholder management, particularly with regard to agile and product orientated approaches used by the team where influential stakeholders may not be bought into the approach and may be lobbying for deviations that would impact our ability to meet desired outcomes.

DWP has said that those interested in applying need to “exceptional and authentic” digital and technology leaders, that are capable of working in complex environments and managing large blended teams. 

Candidates also need an up-to-date awareness of leading-edge technologies and a curiosity to push the boundaries of what’s possible. 

They must also have proven experience of developing and delivering capability at an organisational and team level, as well as a strong track record of building stakeholders and supplier relationships. 

Data science

Elsewhere, DWP Digital, DWP’s internal technology and digital organisation, is looking to hire two lead data scientist roles. 

The first, based in Sheffield, will lead DWP Digital’s Analytics capability, which “discovers, innovates and continuously improves” DWP’s digital services. 

The successful candidate will lead a team that combines software skills with the latest data science techniques, in order to “find and understand patterns in data that can be put into action supporting improvements in customer experience and staff productivity”. 

The second position will be based in London and join DWP’s Risk and Intelligence Service to lead the analytics capability there. 

The salary being offered for both roles is between £70,102 and £83,953. 

DWP has said that the data scientist leads will be overseeing the quality and consistency of multiple analytics-driven initiatives each worth multiple £m including: 

  • Building and stretching the data science, machine learning and AI capabilities by keeping up to date with the latest transferable market and industry trends, emerging technologies, delivery accelerators and sharing knowledge and experience with the relevant teams. 

  • Building peer and senior relationships across the business including digital, operations and policy in order to ensure teams have the tools they need to de-risk delivery. 

  • Building strong relationships between data science peers in DWP, other Government Departments and in industry and academia in the relevant field (e.g. digital service design, cyber security or counter fraud) encouraging innovation, reuse and avoiding duplication. 

  • Be seen as a leader by your team in applying a consistent vision, energy and drive that motivates team(s) to meet project, programme or business expectations. 

  • Driving quality and impact of analytics strategies, digital solutions and outcomes, balancing the theoretical and practical aspects of technical, business, and time constraints. 

  • Ensuring all work adheres to key privacy, security and data protection principles, and also set procedures for ethical considerations such as unintended biases. 

  • Playing a key role in the leadership in the community, defining recruitment strategies and career progression as well as contributing to Digital Practices in DWP overall.