Career story: Anita Morrison and Nicola Edge
Anita Morrison and Nicola Edge share the role of Deputy Director, Heads of Justice Analytical Services (JAS) in Scottish Government. Their grade is SCS 1 and they are members of the Social Research profession.
When did you join the Civil Service and what was your job?
I undertook a short term secondment to the Scottish Government in 1999, but then became a permanent employee in 2001. I initially worked in the Social Justice Research Team setting up People’s Panels and Juries for the Social Inclusion Partnerships in Scotland in 1999 and joined the Drugs Research Team (more aligned to my previous experience) in 2001.
I joined the Scottish Government as a B3 Social Researcher in 1998 following research roles in local government and academia. My first role was working in the Social Inclusion Regeneration and Planning Team. This included developing the evidence base for the Scottish Government’s first Strategy for Social Justice.
What do you do in your current role and when did you move into this? What inspired you to move into the role?
Nicola and I currently share the Head of Justice Analysis role in the Scottish Government. It has been a fantastic opportunity to work with over 30 analysts from 4 professions in meeting the analytical needs of Ministers and policy colleagues across policing, courts, prisons and related issues.
Anita and I wanted to bring our leadership values and experience to what is a genuinely cross-professional and collaborative role, to enhance the impact of analysis, drive improvement and change and make Justice Analysis a really great place to work for everyone.
What do you enjoy about your role?
Everything, but in particular advocating for and explaining for my colleague’s high quality analysis and seeing that have an impact or influence on people’s thinking. I also really enjoy coaching and developing analysts who are earlier in their careers.
I love working with a team of great people with fantastic skills and ideas and having those kinds of conversations that lead to innovation and improvement. I really enjoy working with a great set of policy colleagues who really engage with evidence and analysis and value the role and contribution analysts can make to policy making and delivery.
What are you proud of about yourself or your role or department?
The high levels of motivation commitment and enthusiasm JAS analysts have for their work and their roles. Hopefully Nicola and I are instrumental in creating the right working environment for that. We get some really positive feedback about what a great place JAS is to work and that makes me feel happy and proud.
If someone was looking to work in your area, what advice would you give them? What skills do you think they need?
It’s a mix of the technical and people skills. It’s really important that we do technically sound work, but also that we can foster the relationships to share it and have influence. We look for those ‘softer’ skills around working well together, listening to others and being open to ideas and change, being willing to look across boundaries and make connections.