Role profile: Head of Profession

The role of Head of Profession is to lead and champion analysis within departments. Heads of Profession act as ambassadors for their particular profession, in addition to promoting the role of analysis to improve outcomes for the UK.

Heads of Profession are responsible for representing the interests of analysts from one particular profession within their department on a range of issues, such as pay and grading. They also ensure analytical work follows the profession-specific guidance that makes up the Functional Standard for Analysis.

The role is not usually a full time position. In most cases, a person will take on the role of Head of Profession alongside their current role. In some cases, the role is shared between more than one person. The Head of Profession does not have to be the most senior person in the profession.

Typical role responsibilities

Heads of Profession:

  • agree the strategy and plan for developing the analytical profession within a department
  • help develop and work towards fulfilling the work plan to build the profession
  • make active contributions to governance boards
  • set appropriate governance to develop the profession within departments
  • provide visible leadership and thought leadership to the profession community
  • demonstrate positive behaviours and professional excellence
  • are a trusted source for their profession, encouraging and engaging the community to be open to new ways of thinking
  • share the expectations of experience needed to reach the most senior organisational leadership roles – this gives everyone the ability to plan their career and gather leadership experiences
  • build productive relationships with other important functions, professions and academia
  • communicate important messages and encourage communities, events and conferences to promote the sharing of knowledge among analysts in the department and across government
  • set standards for the profession with the department to build analytical capability and capacity – this includes providing guidelines on training and professional development, and defining the appropriate competencies expected in the department
  • ensure appropriate systems and processes are in place to exercise a quality control function for the department’s work with professional technical content
  • ensure the department is able to recruit the right number and mix of analysts though cross-government recruitment exercises or bespoke department campaigns
  • ensure new staff are properly inducted
  • oversee career development and talent management – this includes supporting moves with the department, as well as promotion and badging exercises
  • hold career conversations, support development activity, and providing and supporting mentoring opportunities
  • act as ambassadors for professional programmes and schemes
  • comply with the Functional Standard for Analysis, including all supporting functional analytical standards – for example, the Code of Practice Statistics, the Magenta Book, the Aqua Book and the Green Book
  • represent the interests of the department’s analysts within the cross government Head of Profession group
  • work with other Heads of Profession within the Department – particularly those representing other analytical specialisms
  • ensure that analysts in their respective areas show appropriate professional integrity when giving advice in their professional capacity – this means giving unbiased advice based on the available evidence

All analysts within the department have the right to contact the Head of Profession at any time if they feel that work being produced by the Department does not appropriately incorporate technical advice. The Head of Profession is responsible for taking any necessary action at an appropriately senior level.

Cross government Heads of Profession

Cross government Heads of Profession must take on additional responsibilities.

Act as the chief professional adviser for their profession

Cross government Heads of Profession must:

  • build effective and trusted relationships across government with senior stakeholders
  • demonstrate sound judgement
  • act as a thought-leader and source of expertise in their field

Lead and develop their profession and contribute to the corporate leadership of the Civil Service  

Cross government Heads of Profession must:

  • create a diverse and inclusive profession that is able to perform effectively to meet current and future demands successfully
  • work collaboratively across boundaries and alongside corporate leadership
  • be able to work effectively across government and beyond

Be accountable publicly for the work of their profession

Cross government Heads of Profession must:

  • promote the work of their profession publicly including at Select Committee, Public Accounts and other high-profile hearings
  • be able to demonstrate strong financial management
  • have the confidence to speak truth to power

Other requirements

You may also have to have a professional technical skill requirement depending on your role.

You can find more information on technical skills refer to professional frameworks:

  • Government Statistician Group
  • Government Operational Research Service
  • Government Social Research Service
  • Government Economic Service
  • Government Actuary’s Department
  • Government Digital and Data profession

You will need to have a good track record of producing analysis. You will also need to have experience of working with multidisciplinary teams in an analytical environment.