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Social Research

Senior Research Officer – 46175
£34,090 - £52,248


We encourage applications from people from all backgrounds and aim to have a workforce that represents the wider society that we serve. We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice. We champion diversity, inclusion and wellbeing and aim to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and a sense of belonging. To find out more about how we do this visit:

Directorate: Strategy & Change

Workstream: User Experience and Insight Team

Job Title: Senior Research Officer (2 posts)

Location: National

Duration: Fixed term appointment until 31st March 2023 with possibility of extending

Pay Band: Band Bb (SEO) – includes 10% specialist uplift


  • Inner London: £40,478 – £52,248
  • Outer London: £38,299 – £49,865
  • National: £34,090 – £45,102

This position is available for external applicants as well as existing civil servants on level transfer or promotion.

New recruits to the Civil Service joining MoJ are expected to join at the band minimum. Secondments and loans will be considered on an individual basis. This appointment will be made on a fixed term appointment, due to the time limited nature of the Reform Programme. For existing civil servants, whilst the role itself is time limited, successful appointment on promotion will secure this grade on a substantive basis.


Every year, millions of people seek justice in our courts and tribunals, and we are here to ensure anyone in need of our courts and tribunals receives a service that suits their needs.

We have a brand with an outstanding heritage and history, and we want to build on this by updating and modernising to ensure we align our service with the society we serve. In recognition of this, HMCTS gained £1 billion of funding in the last Government Spending Review for a root and branch ‘Reform’ of our services. We are now in the process of putting our plans into action and delivering.

We are focused on radically improving the customer journey and providing access to justice for all. For HMCTS, the changes we are making will reduce our own costs and remove service failure from our system, allowing us to put resources where they matter most.

The User Experience and Insight division in HMCTS is working with all parts of the organisation to support and enable the business to design and deliver services that meet user needs, to promote access to justice and to continually improve the user experience.

This is a once in a generation opportunity to help transform how justice is delivered in England and Wales – by ensuring that the needs of the public are kept at the heart of reform. This challenging but rewarding environment will give you the opportunity to have significant and lasting social impact.

Role Purpose:

HMCTS is committed to ensuring that Access to Justice is improved as its services are reformed. To meet that commitment the Insight team (part of the User Experience and Insight Division within the Strategy and Change Directorate) has recently developed an Access to Justice Assessment framework. The framework is a set of access to justice related questions (e.g. what are the difficulties for users seeking to access the service?) that require a robust evidence base from which to assess whether there is an access to justice barrier.

The access to justice (A2J) assessments measure how reformed services are performing in relation to A2J, provide a plan for monitoring of A2J and the barriers identified. You will lead work to deliver A2J assessments of key HMCTS services and work with the rest of the User Experience and Insight Division and the teams responsible for delivering services in courts and tribunals to develop any fixes required to improve access to justice. The services cover all four HMCTS jurisdictions, crime, civil, family and tribunals including services as diverse as online civil money claims, immigration and asylum tribunals, divorce and the single justice service in crime.

More generally the team lead the development of research and insight on users from all available sources (qualitative and quantitative) to inform what we know, supporting and analysing the development of new digital and operational solutions.

This will be a challenging role within a complex organisation and with many interested stakeholders. You will have a wide range of opportunities to develop your experience whilst making a real difference to services for millions of citizens. You will join a team dedicated to developing your skills and career within a multi-disciplinary environment. The team currently contains expertise and leadership experience across social and market research, behavioural science, digital development, economics, experimental/trials evaluation, operational research and data science.

Key Responsibilities (Band Bb):

This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a multidisciplinary team, setting the direction for how access to justice is assessed in the services we deliver in courts and tribunals. The key objectives for these roles include working collaboratively together and with the business to;

  • Deliver access to justice assessments for all the reformed services using a mix of analytical approaches described in the essential skills.
  • Develop the Access to Justice assessment framework from a pilot/prototype phase to a structured and replicable process to be applied to all services
  • Scope the data availability and identify the relevant parts of the Access to Justice assessment for each service to be assessed,
  • Work collaboratively with teams across the division to analyse data and insight from a range of sources including: management information data, digital performance data (take up, completion rates, error rates), protected characteristic surveys, perception surveys, user contact data (calls and complaints)
  • Communicate the assessment findings internally to the division and to the teams responsible for delivering services to agree additional analysis, service design fixes and A2J data to be monitored

As well as Access to Justice assessments you will be involved in delivering other insight work requiring you to:

  • Define and solve ambiguous problems – identifying opportunities for research and insight to inform creative solutions to issues by utilising the latest research, analysis and evidence on customers from HMCTS, the justice sector and the wider literature
  • Providing authoritative, clear and timely social research advice about our users’ experiences, needs and attitudes so that we might use this to deliver better services
  • Building the evidence base on HMCTS users by engaging with internal (e.g. the wider Strategy and Change directorate, contact centres, courts) and external partners (including agencies, government and academia) as well as synthesising existing research. A key focus of the role will be to understand our evidence needs and gaps, and to work collaboratively to develop research and insight that informs key decisions across the organisation
  • Designing, resourcing and managing user centric projects, both proactively and in support of the delivery of business delivery
  • Conducting and managing in-house research, including qualitative research from development of research materials, surveys, field work (including face to face interviews), through to the analysis of data and evaluation
  • Work closely with the organisation’s user research and UX design community to turn insight into actionable product/service requirements that feed into prototype development, and influence product direction
  • “Knowing what we know” and support services to visualise and communicate research and insight to HMCTS staff in informative, helpful and inspiring ways, in line with strategic priorities
  • Building and maintaining excellent relationships with the senior leaders, key Ministry of Justice stakeholders, external organisations, as well as insight communities across government

Other duties

The post holder is required to work in a flexible way and undertake any other duties reasonably requested by line management which are commensurate with the grade and level of responsibility of this post.

Essential Skills, Knowledge & Experience:

We’re looking for two highly motivated Senior Research Officers who meet the following essential criteria:

  • Demonstrate experience of using research and insight from a range of sources to solve issues and problems, for example within a business or organisation
  • Have experience of quantitative data analysis and the ability to derive insights from it
  • Have experience of, and appreciate the strengths / weaknesses of, a wide range of research methods (quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, evaluation) to apply a multi-disciplinary approach
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills with the ability to present complex ideas, in a range of formats, simply to technical and non-technical audiences
  • Able to confidently influence stakeholders from across a range of backgrounds
  • Comfortable managing a diverse, complex portfolio of work and able to manage your work flexibly to adapt as priorities change

Desirable Skills, Knowledge & Experience:

  • Have experience of conducting research, including: qualitative and quantitative from development of research materials, surveys, field work (including face to face interviews), through to the analysis of data and evaluation
  • An understanding of public policy and services, particularly in the justice sector
  • Experience of working closely with designers and developers to turn research and insight into actionable product/service requirements that feed into prototype development, and influence product direction
  • Experience of conducting in-house research to develop an understating of the organisation’s customers
  • Familiar with statistical packages
  • Experience of conducting user research

Location of Posts:

The successful candidate will be required to travel to London, however base location can be flexible. Travel to other HMCTS sites may also be required as part of these working arrangements. In line with the department’s policies, travel and subsistence and, where appropriate, overnight accommodation will be available in line with organisational policies.

Application Process:

To apply for this position please complete the online application form, ensuring you submit the following application documents:

  • An up-to-date copy of your CV which details your experience and achievements
  • A 500-word statement of suitability which demonstrates your suitability against the Key Responsibilities and Essential Skills, Knowledge & Experience outlined above.
  • A 250-word statement for each of the following Success Profile Behaviours (Level 3):
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Communicating & Influencing
  • Managing a Quality Service

Further information on Success Profiles and the required standards for this post (Level 3) can be found at:

Your Technical Skills should be demonstrated within your CV and statement of suitability. Technical skills will be assessed using the Government Social Research framework at SRO level (‘technical skills’ and ‘using and promoting social research’, see link below to the GSR Competency Framework.

In the event we receive a large volume of applications, we will sift using GSR eligibility criteria and the lead criteria: Making Effective Decisions

Should you be successful at the application stage you will be invited to interview. The interview selection process will be held in two stages:

Should you be successful at the application stage you will be invited to interview. The following will be tested at interview stage:

  • Experience – Knowledge Test and presentation (if not already a member of GSR)
  • Behaviours – As listed above
  • Technical – Questions which will be assessed using the Government Social Research framework (see above).

Interviews may be conducted by video conference or in person. 

If we receive applications from more suitable candidates than we have vacancies for at this time, we may hold suitable applicants on a reserve list for 12 months, and future vacancies requiring the same skills and experience could be offered to candidates on the reserve list without a new competition.

We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including groups currently underrepresented in our workforce and pride ourselves as being an employer of choice. To find out more about how we champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace, visit:

The MoJ is proud to be Level 3 Disability Confident. Disability Confident is the approach through which we offer guaranteed interviews for all people with disabilities meeting the minimum criteria for the advertised role as set out in the job description.


Terms & Conditions:

Fixed Term Appointment

This appointment will be made on a fixed term basis, due to the time limited nature of the Reform Programme.

For existing civil servants, whilst the role itself is time limited, at the end of the fixed term period, you will retain your permanent status but will be placed on the re-deployment register.  Successful appointment on promotion will secure this grade on a permanent substantive basis.

Secondments and loans will be considered on an individual basis.

Flexible working options

HMCTS offers a flexible working system in many of its offices.

Job Sharing and Reduced Hours

All applications for job sharing or reduced hours will be treated fairly and on a case by case basis in accordance with the MoJ’s flexible working policy and equality policy.

Excess Fares and Relocation Allowances

This job is not eligible for relocation allowances, but excess fares may be considered in accordance with MoJ’s excess fares allowance policy.


Annex A

GSR Eligibility Criteria:

Social research method degree content criteria: Applicant must have studied quantitative methods and three of the additional six criteria.

  1. Quantitative methods, including research design, data collection (i.e. questionnaire design, sampling, weighting), data analysis (e.g. statistical analysis)
  2. Qualitative methods, including research design, data collection (i.e. interviewing, focus groups, ethnographic), data analysis (e.g. thematic analysis)
  3. Hypothesis design, testing and evaluation
  4. Systematic’/literature reviews
  5. Interpretation of data (qual & quan), presentation of results, provision of recommendations/ conclusions
  6. Application of ethics to research.

If not an existing member of GSR you need to fulfil the following criteria:

1. Social Research Expertise via relevant qualification OR experience route: 

i. [Qualification route] Hold an undergraduate degree, at a minimum of 2:1 or 2:2 with a postgraduate degree, in a social science subject. A qualifying social science subject is one which contains substantial social research methods training (comprising around one third of modules taken in the course) including quantitative research methods and three of the following: systematic/literature reviews; qualitative methods; interpretation of data and presentation of results; study design and hypothesis testing; and application of ethics to research. (See Annex A)


ii. [Experience route] Hold an undergraduate degree, at a minimum of 2:1, or 2:2 with a relevant postgraduate degree, in any subject, or hold adegree equivalent (for example, an advanced Certificate or Diploma from MRS) and have at least 4 years’ social research practice experience. Social research practice experience consists of experience working in a research agency, market research agency or specialised research team. To enter the GSR through this route you must make explicit the breadth and depth of your research experience and skills, which must include quantitative research methods and three of the following: systematic/literature reviews; qualitative methods; interpretation of data and presentation of results; study design and hypothesis testing; and application of ethics to research.

Additional Information


  • A range of ‘Family Friendly’ policies such as opportunities to work reduced hours or job share.
  • Access to flexible benefits such as voluntary benefits, retail vouchers and discounts on a range of goods and services.
  • For moves to or from another employer or moves across the Civil Service this can have implications on your eligibility to carry on claiming childcare vouchers. You may however be eligible for alternative government childcare support schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. More information can be found on GOV.UK or Childcare Choices. You can determine your eligibility at
  • Paid paternity, adoption and maternity leave.
  • Free annual sight tests for employees who use computer screens.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles. Should you feel that the recruitment process has breached the recruitment principles you are able to raise a formal complaint in the following order

1- To Shared Service Connected Ltd (0845 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm) or e mail;

2- To Ministry of Justice Resourcing (;

3- To the Civil Service Commission (details available here)

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As a Disability Confident employer, MoJ are committed to providing everyone with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, talent and abilities, by making adjustments throughout all elements of the recruitment process and in the workplace. MoJ are able to offer an interview to disabled candidates who meet the minimum selection criteria, except in a limited number of campaigns.

You will be able to request reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process within the application form. If you need additional help completing the application form, please contact the SSCL Recruitment Enquiries Team.

Working Arrangements & Further Information

Some of MoJ’s terms and conditions of service are changing as part of Civil Service reform. The changes will apply to staff joining MoJ who are new to the Civil Service. Staff joining MoJ from other civil service employers will transfer onto the new MoJ terms if they are already on ‘modernised’ terms in their current post or onto ‘unmodernised’ MoJ terms if they are on ‘unmodernised’ terms at their current post. Details will be available if an offer is made.

Flexible working hours

The Ministry of Justice offers a flexible working system in many offices.


The MoJ offers a range of benefits:

Annual Leave

Annual leave is 25 days on appointment and will increase to 30 days after five years’ service.

There is also a scheme to allow qualifying staff to buy or sell up to three days leave each year. Additional paid time off for public holidays and 1 privilege day. Leave for part-time and job share posts will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.


The Civil Service offers a choice of pension schemes, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best.


The Ministry of Justice is committed to staff development and offers an extensive range of training and development opportunities.


The opportunity to join employee-run networks that have been established to provide advice and support and to enable the views of employees from minority groups to be expressed direct to senior management. There are currently networks for employees of minority ethnic origin, employees with disabilities, employees with caring responsibilities, women employees, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

Grading Structure Review

The Ministry of Justice is currently undergoing a review of posts which are currently graded at Band A to realign our grading structure with the majority of the wider Civil Service.

Posts advertised at Band A may be graded at either Grade 6 or Grade 7 once the review has taken place.