Defra seeks leader to realise potential of HR data

Lead sought for transformation programme that aims to make better use of workforce data
Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

By Sam Trendall

30 Mar 2021

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is seeking a leader to spearhead a transformation programme designed to help realise the potential of HR data.

The organisation’s human resources operation includes an HR Data Transformation unit that “acts as a centre of excellence, delivering key data-management services for Defra group”.

The work of the transformation team aims to improve the ways in which the department gathers and analyses workforce and recruitment data. The ultimate goal is to better use information in making HR-related decisions.

“We are evolving our approach to collection, management and exploitation of HR data across a disparate group of organisations that use different technologies, processes and suppliers,” Defra said. “Workforce data is critical to decisions within HR, business areas and other functions like finance and estates.”

The HR data transformation lead, who will earn between £47,549 and £60,188, will oversee this work – which, in addition to improving technology infrastructure, also aims to improve skills.

“We are building the capability needed to get maximum value from Defra’s many data assets, enabling advanced analytics on a range of workforce challenges and opportunities,” the department said. “We are exploring technical solutions for unlocking the plethora of data sources and exploiting the data in them to inform better policies and drive strategic outcomes for Defra. At this exciting time, we are looking to recruit an enthusiastic and talented data expert to realise the data ambition.”

The main responsibilities of the position will include delivering a “consolidated, reliable and accurate source of HR data” that brings together information from the central department and its largest executive agencies and arm’s-length bodies, such as the Animal and Plant Health Agency and the Rural Payments Agency.

The successful applicant will also be expected to “identify and implement an appropriate business intelligence tool for HR to advance its ‘people analytics’ ambition”.

They will be tasked with creating and implementing common data standards, as well as practices and methods that promote and reinforce data transformation.  

The department also wishes to “formulate processes, governance and techniques to improve quality of HR data, which may be sat on system and off system”, in addition to driving the “cultural and behavioural change required to engage with primary HR data systems”.

“The role will be part of a broader community of HR specialists and will also be required to work closely with Defra group business teams, digital and technology teams and external parties,” Defra added. “The role has significant impact on HR’s strategy and ambition, by growing into an innovative organisation capable of organising, mining and exploiting data in order to continually transform and modernise its services and operations. Through publicising and sharing successes with other government departments, the role impacts the Defra group’s ability to influence cross- government initiatives and strategies in this area.”

Applications for the position are open until 11.55pm on 31 March. 

“Once safe to do so it is expected that the post holder will work from a Defra Group office,” the job advert said.

Sam Trendall is the editor of CSW's sister title PublicTechnology, where a version of this story first appeared.

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