Career frameworks set out the range of careers available in government. They define the skills and experience needed for typical roles across government, enabling people to achieve success in their complex and challenging roles.
The Government Analysis Function (AF) Career Framework describes typical analytical roles which exist across government. It also includes the main skills needed to perform each role at different skill levels.
We have developed this framework by working with each of the analytical professions. It aligns with profession specific frameworks which showcase the technical knowledge and experience needed to be a member of a profession in each role. Where roles are covered by more than one framework, you will see alignment and consistency between role profiles.
A high level overview of the relevant technical and leadership skills needed for analytical roles within each group of roles, or ‘job family’, across the career framework.
The framework gives information about relevant opportunities for learning and development to support analysts working anywhere in government.
Who the Career Framework is for
This Career Framework is designed by analysts for analysts and aspiring analysts. It provides more information about the typical analytical roles that are available, and the skills and experience needed to be successful in each role. The framework supports people to make career choices with confidence, and helps them form clear expectations about each role.
You can use this framework to help you plan your career journey. Your manager can also use it to support career conversations.
The framework can be used as a tool to showcase the depth and breadth of analytical roles across government. This can help encourage people to consider a career in analysis.
How to use the Career Framework
The Career Framework will help you explore the variety of roles across the Analysis Function.
The Role Profiles give general principles for departments to follow. The skills and levels suggested are indicative. They can vary depending on the scope, department, or context of a role. The profiles can be adapted to each role as appropriate.
You can use the framework to plan your career development by looking at the skills needed for typical roles across the Analysis Function.
You will find information about:
- entry routes for different roles
- common skills across all roles
- leadership behaviours to support development into Senior Civil Service (SCS) roles
Use the information in this framework to plan your learning journey and support your career aspirations. It will help you direct your development conversations more effectively, so they are specific to your priorities and needs.
There are a variety of tools available across the Analysis Function to support your development. You can find more information about the available opportunities in the Analysis Function Learning Curriculum.
There are many methods of developing your skills. Research consistently demonstrates that the most effective learning happens when you work on more challenging assignments, and when you are learning on the job. There is a learning model that is based on this approach. The model consists of spending:
- 70% of your time learning on-the-job
- 20% of your time learning through other people
- 10% of your time learning through formal training
This is known as the ’70:20:10′ learning model.
The funnel shows the 70:20:10 model visually. The widest part of the funnel represents the ‘on-the-job’ learning that should form most of your learning time. The middle of the funnel represents learning through other people, which should form a smaller part of your learning time. The narrowest part of the funnel represents formal training, which should form the smallest part of your learning time.
There are a variety of tools available across the Analysis Function to support your development. These include:
- formal accelerated development schemes that are organised centrally
- formal departmental or professional accelerated development schemes
- leadership qualifications
- time limited projects
- informal or formal mentoring – where a mentor gives one-to-one support and advice to a mentee to help them in achieve their aims
- informal or formal coaching – with a coach who will work closely with a person to determine where they would like their career to go, and to develop a plan to achieve their goals
- sponsorship – here a senior civil servant is an advocate for a person with high potential to help them achieve that potential
Developing your core skills
There are a variety of Analysis Function learning opportunities to help you develop your skills in specific areas.
Our data visualisation courses are aimed at:
- analysts who do not belong to a badged analytical profession
- non-analysts who do not belong to a badged analytical profession
- people who want to gain a basic understanding of data visualisation
If you are an analyst with detailed knowledge of graphing techniques, you may find our ‘Introduction to Data Visualisation’ workshop useful. The course provides an overview of good practice in the design and presentation of tables, graphs, and maps. It also gives guidance about the use of colour.
You may also find these learning resources useful:
- guidance on the ONS website for creating charts and tables, and best practice for using colour in your work
- guidance for creating tables
- guidance for creating charts
- guidance for using colours in data visualisation
- guidance for creating infographics
- tips for designing dashboards
- training courses about data visualisation in R or Python
There are also several training courses that you may find useful:
- ‘Communicating about quality, uncertainty and change’ – an online course
- ‘Written Communication‘ – this training course on the Civil Service Learning website will help you learn how to write more effectively
- ‘Verbal Communication‘ – this course on the Civil Service Learning website will help you develop skills such as creating a compelling message, building rapport, and using inflection to affect the outcome of a conversation
- ‘High Impact Communication‘ – this course on Civil Service Learning website is useful if you have been newly appointed to the Senior Civil Service and will help you learn how to use your voice in a more powerful way, speak with more enthusiasm and passion, and use techniques to control any nerves in front of groups of all sizes
You may find the following courses useful:
- ‘Data Quality‘– this course on the Civil Service Learning website will help you consider data quality issues and give you the skills to have more effective discussions with data specialists
- ‘Quality of Evidence, Uncertainty and risk‘ – this course on the Civil Service Learning website will develop your confidence in working with data to present a strong evidence base, and help you understand how personal biases can affect results
- ‘Getting your numbers right: Analytical quality assurance for non-analysts’ – this is a face-to-face workshop offered by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and you can find out more information about the course by emailing the Analysis Function Central Team at Analysis.Function@ons.gov.uk
The following learning opportunities are available to all members of the Government Statistical Service (GSS) community:
- ‘Awareness of new coding tools‘ – this non-technical course aims to provide participants of all abilities with an awareness of the new coding tools
- ‘Introduction to R‘ – this course concentrates on applying skills and building your confidence, independence, and resilience in using R
- ‘Introduction to Python‘ – this course concentrates on applying skills and building your confidence, independence, and resilience in using Python
- ‘Introduction to Pyspark‘ – this course will give you an understanding of Pyspark, the Python interface to the distributed processing tool Spark
There are several ‘Fast Stream’ programmes across the analytical professions:
- Government Statistical Service Fast Stream
- Government Economic Service Fast Stream
- Government Operational Research Fast Stream
- Government Social Research Fast Stream
- Digital Data and Technology Fast Stream
Crossing Thresholds is a 12-month career mentoring programme that allows women looking to develop their career in a structured and supportive environment. There are different programmes for different grades:
- Crossing Thresholds for Administrative Officer (AO) and Executive Officer (EO)
- Crossing Thresholds for Higher Executive Officer (HEO) and Senior Executive Officer (SEO)
- Crossing Thresholds for Grade 6 (G6) and Grade 7 (G7)
Grade 6 and 7
There are many learning opportunities for colleagues at Grade 6 and 7 level. These include:
- the Positive Action Pathway (PAP) programme – this aims to increase the representation of female, BAME, disabled and LGBTI colleagues across the Civil Service
- the Future Leaders Scheme (FLS) – this is a two-year cross-government accelerated development scheme for high-potential colleagues at Grades 6 and 7 across the Civil Service and arm’s length bodies
Senior Civil Service (SCS)
There are many learning opportunities for members of the Senior Civil Service.
Senior Leaders Scheme (SLS)
This is a two-year, cross-government accelerated development scheme for high-potential deputy directors in SCS pay band 1 across the Civil Service and arm’s length bodies. It contributes to creating a strong, diverse, and comprehensive pipeline for the most senior roles in government. You can find out more about the SLS and how to apply on the Civil Service Learning website.
This is a two-day residential programme of presentations, interactive sessions, and facilitated networking. Base Camp is the beginning of a year-long induction programme for new deputy directors. The programme is hosted by senior leaders from departments across the Civil Service. You can find out more about Base Camp on the Civil Service Learning website.
Leading in the Civil Service
Senior Civil Servants who are new to the Civil Service you are invited to attend the Civil Service Orientation. This programme will support you in your transition into your new role. You can find more about the ‘Leading in the Civil Service’ programme on GOV.UK.
In this section you can find a list of learning aligned to the skills needed for analytical roles.
This is a summary of the type of learning available to you, and further learning is available if you need it. If you are trying to develop a particular skill, please contact the team at Analysis.Function@ons.gov.uk. We will be able to give you information about the most relevant learning resources.
You may find the following learning opportunities useful:
- ‘Analysing Evidence: Effective Communication‘ – this course on the Civil Service Learning website is an introduction to the benefits of evidence-based policymaking and the variety of sources from which that evidence can come
- ‘Data and Analysis‘ – this course on the Civil Service Learning website will develop your skills in analysing and using open data, and explain the risks around data use and privacy
If you are a member of the Government Statistical Service (GSS), you may also find it useful to enrol on the GSS Analytical Learning Pathway. The pathway matches relevant analytical training to the specialist competencies within the Government Statistician Group (GSG) competency framework. It is split into the different job grades within the GSG profession.
You may find the following learning resources useful:
- numeracy modules on the Civil Service Learning website
- GDS Academy Masterclasses on GOV.UK
- the ‘Digital and Agile Awareness course for Analysts’ on GOV.UK
Please email the team at Analysis.Function@ons.gov.uk for learning opportunities available in data management.
You may find the following courses useful:
- ‘Quality Statistics in Government‘ – this course is mainly aimed at members of the Government Statistical Service (GSS), but you can contact the Analysis Function Central Team at Analysis.Function@ons.gov.uk to ask about additional places for non-members
- ‘Introducing the Code of Practice for Statistics‘ – this course is available to members of the GSS profession
The ‘Project Planning‘ course on the Civil Service Learning website describes the tools available to help you create an effective project plan and shows you the most important considerations of the planning process.
If you are a member of the Government Statistical Service (GSS), you can access the following courses:
- ‘Introduction to editing and imputation‘ – this course considers the editing process of detecting and correcting errors in survey response data, as well as the imputation process of estimating for non-response in surveys
- ‘Awareness of new coding tools‘ – this non-technical course compares new coding tools with R and Python, and shows when each tool should be used
The ‘Awareness in sample design and estimation’ course will cover the basics in sampling and estimation.
The ‘Awareness in geography for statistics‘ course will provide an overview of why geography matters for statistics.
Geography training courses and events are regularly advertised on:
- the Association for Geographic Information Events Calendar
- the Royal Geographical Society Events Calendar
You may find the following learning resources and opportunities useful:
- Data Science Accelerator Programme
- Data Science Seminar Series – this is a friendly and informal space for the ONS data science community to share knowledge and discuss projects, innovation and challenges in data science
- Data Science Degree Apprenticeships
Routes into Analysis
You can develop a career in analysis through a variety of entry routes. This includes mainstream recruitment, apprenticeships, and the analytical Fast Stream schemes.
In the mainstream recruitment route, the departments run separate campaigns for varied roles. Many of our professions run cross-government campaigns which departmental Heads of Profession bid for analysts at various times of year. Grades and frequency varies based on profession.
There are a number of programmes across the Function in the apprenticeship route. The recruitment campaigns for degree apprenticeships have September start dates, with Level 4 programme recruitment more frequently.
The final route is the ‘Fast Stream and Student Placement route. There are Fast Stream programmes for Economists, Statisticians, Operational Researchers, Social Researchers and Digital Data & Technology. Campaigns run annually with start dates each September.
Additionally, there are opportunities to bid for students at various times of year with recruitment running in February.
Analysis in Practice
The Analysis Function uses research, evidence and data to advise government on the best use of public resources. The role of the Function is to support everyone in government to make better decisions so that policy and operations provide value for money and improve the lives of the people of the UK.
A wide range of economic indicators is vital to both His Majesty’s Treasury and the Bank of England. The UK’s fiscal and economic policy is built on the public sector finance statistics.
Statistics are a fundamental input to Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts of the economy and public finances. They enable the Treasury to make decisions based on the latest economic position against OBR forecasts and government targets.
Modelling is integral to developing contingency plans for pandemic influenza. This involves in-house analysis and synthesis of expert independent input. Outputs include:
- worst-case scenario planning
- disease epidemiology
- vaccine application
Analytical advice directly informs the decision-making process and action taken across government.
The Functional Standard for Analysis
The Government Functional Standard for Analysis underpins the Analysis Function Career Framework. It sets expectations for the planning and undertaking of analysis to:
- develop trust
- develop confidence
- enable better informed decision making relating to government policy, operational and financial matters, and the wider public debate
Each role in this framework must follow the Standard. It ensures analysts of different professions align their use of language and terminology, which makes it easier to work together, especially as part of a multidisciplinary team.
A career in analysis offers a huge variety of opportunities to have a positive effect on a national scale.
Working in consultation with analysts across-government, the framework highlights skills which are common across typical analytical roles. These skills are recommended for individuals to explore as part of their development to support movement into roles across the Function.
- data visualisation – the ability interpret user needs and present data in a clear and compelling way, using graphical representations and data visualisations
- communicating Insight – the ability to share insights with stakeholders using strong verbal and written communication skills
- quality assurance – the ability to complete data quality assurance, validation, and linkage
- software programming, tools, and techniques – the ability to use coding and programming skills for data analysis
These skills do not replace existing analytical profession frameworks which describe specific technical skills.
The Career Framework highlights the behaviours which are common across typical analytical roles. We recommend that you consider these behaviours if you are moving into Senior Civil Servant roles. It is not mandatory to include these behaviours on every role.
Departments have the option to choose any additional relevant behaviours, technical, experience, strengths and ability elements in line with the Success Profiles methodology.
When we talk about ‘Success Profiles’ we are referring to the recruitment assessment framework we use to attract and retain people.
This is the proven ability to effectively lead and manage a team. Principal or Lead Data Analysts may be responsible for the management of workload or management of teams.
Leadership skills should be continually developed to help you move into senior leadership roles.
Communicating and influencing
This is the ability to communicate with others in a clear, honest, and enthusiastic way to build trust. You must be able to explain complex issues in a way that is easy to understand. You must also be able to communicate difficult messages clearly and sensitively, and be able to persuade other people when needed.
This is the ability to actively build and maintain a network of colleagues and contacts to achieve progress on shared objectives. You should be able to challenge assumptions while being willing to compromise if it will help you to make progress.
Making effective decisions
This is the ability to make sure you clearly understand a situation and stakeholder needs and expectations, before making decisions. You must ensure decision making happens at the right level. You should encourage both innovative suggestions and challenges from others, to inform decision making.
Skill Level definitions
A person at this level has knowledge and experience in the application of a skill. They are a recognised specialist and advisor in this skill including customer needs, generation of ideas, methods, tools, and leading or guiding others in best practice use.
A person at this level shares knowledge and experience of a skill with others, including tools and techniques. They will be able to explain why a particular tool or technique is the most appropriate for a situation.
A person at this level applies knowledge and experience of a skill, including tools and techniques. They will be able to choose the most appropriate tool or technique for a particular situation.
A person at this level has knowledge of a skill and an appreciation of how it is applied in a particular situation.
If you would like a PDF version of this framework, please email the team at Analysis.Function@ons.gov.uk.