GDS needs more devs, offers more money

I confess, I rather shared Steph Gray’s astonishment to see that GDS’s appetite for fresh developer blood continues unabated.

It’s a little unhelpfully presented on the Civil Service jobs site, but I’ve since had it confirmed that they are currently recruiting a total of 22 developers at Grades 6 and 7 level. (Not, as you’d almost certainly assume by reading it, 22 at each.)

For those outside the Civil Service, Grade 6 equates to an Army Colonel. At that level, you’d normally expect to be managing quite a decent number of human beings… which in my experience, are a lot more temperamental than servers.

You’ve got a week to get your application together, if you’re attracted by the prospect of a £73,000 salary package for a 36 hour working week. Which of course you would be, if you’re even remotely qualified.

I shudder to think what this is doing to ‘the market rate’ for IT jobs elsewhere in Whitehall.

And I wonder where these devs are going to go, in their next step up the career ladder. It can’t possibly be within government, without taking a significant pay cut… or a huge step-up in responsibility.

It’s quite agonising, by the way, to see that GDS have felt the need to write a blog post explaining how to search that Civil Service site, and download the appropriate files. An indication of just how work needs to be done; and therefore, perhaps, some kind of screening process? ‘This is what you’re up against…’

New year, new job? More big-money vacancies at GDS

My attention has again been drawn to the Civil Service jobs website, and the latest vacancies being offered within the Cabinet Office – and specifically, the Government Digital Service. They’re looking for, among others:

  • 7 ‘interaction designers’, on salary packages ‘up to £97,500 per annum’
  • 2 ‘creative leads’, ‘up to £111,000 per annum’
  • 4 ‘web ops’, ‘up to £73,000 per annum’
  • a ‘Delivery Team Manager’, ‘up to £97,500 per annum’
  • 3 ‘technical architects’, ‘up to £97,500 per annum’and… brace yourself…
  • 22 developers, ‘up to £73,000 per annum’

Some of these labels are familiar: for example, I blogged back in October about a previous round of vacancies, which included:

  • Two creative leads, £80k
  •  Two technical architects, £90k
  • 12 developer positions, £65k
  • Two ‘web ops’, £65k
  • A delivery team manager, £85k
  • Three interaction designers, £59k

Increased demand, with across-the-board salary increases? Or perhaps they weren’t offering quite enough last time to fill those previously advertised vacancies? Who knows.

Update: Confirmation from GDS’s Tony Singleton – ‘We did not fill all the posts advertised in October so are readvertising those along with additional ones.’

For the record, that current round of vacancies has a potential total just short of £3.2 million; and that’s before overheads, NI, etc etc.

There are also some slightly less glamorous positions, such as an Internal Network Manager and Internal Network Administrator, both on £29-38k. But these are permanent, where the others are Fixed Term.

Closing dates on all of these, if you’re interested, is 11 January; and they are all open to external candidates. Something to keep you occupied over Christmas, maybe.

More GDS vacancies

I see there are another couple of Government Digital Service job vacancies up for grabs: this time, they’re looking for two User Experience Researchers, with a quoted salary range of ‘£44,300 to £56,000 with potential to rise to £59,000 through performance related pay.’

The lucky winners will be ‘responsible for planning, designing and conducting all in-house usability testing sessions for GDS (and departments when relevant) [and] every step in the usability testing process from developing user recruitment briefs through to test moderation, analysis and report writing.’

The jobs are offered as ’24 Month Fixed Term Appointment with possibility of extension or permanency.’ Closing date for applications is the end of business on Friday 18 November. Once again, you’re urged not to fax in your applications, presumably because it isn’t 1995 any more.

More details at this laughably long address. Perhaps your first task might be to explore the usability implications of such URL structures. (Clue: #unacceptable.)

22 more well-paid GDS jobs up for grabs

In addition to the five Government Digital Service product manager roles I mentioned at the end of last week, I’ve also had my attention drawn to several other roles being advertised on the Civil Service jobs website:

  • Two creative leads (eh?), with salary package up to £80k
  •  Two technical architects, £90k
  • 12 developer positions, with salary quoted at ‘up to £65k’
  • Two ‘web ops’ (I’m not even sure what that means – guess I’m not suitable), £65k
  • A delivery team manager, £85k
  • Three interaction designers, £59k

All the above positions are based in Central London, are ‘open to UK, British Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals and certain non EEA members’, and are offered on a Fixed Term basis. The closing date for all positions is 4 November.

Potentially totalling £1.5 million (and that’s without overheads, NI, etc), those look like very generous salaries indeed, particularly in an economic downturn. They’ve clearly set their sights very highly indeed: justifiable, arguably, given the importance of the positions, and the (net) savings they’re meant to generate.

Additionally, they’re advertising for the SCS1-level position of Deputy Director Digital Engagement: a permanent position this time, with salary in the range £58,200 – £72,000 – ‘with an expectation of joining at the lower end of the payscale’ , which seems slightly odd given the other positions on offer at the same time. Closing date on that one is 8 November.

There’s plenty of detail in the ‘person specification’ for the role, listing among its responsibilities:

  • Managing the use of social media within government, focusing on standards, acceptable use and engagement.
  • Engaging with other business units within Cabinet Office to assist in the delivery of key initiatives using digital channels to ensure that the GDS agenda is at the heart of government policy and execution.
  • Defining the GDS communication approaches as an exemplar of best practice in digital communication
  • Encouraging the maximum use of digital channels to access government information and transactions.
  • Designing and implementing the organisational development programme that will embed the Digital by Default mission
  • Actively promoting concepts of open governance through promoting the use of open government data, engaging actively with third party developers in conjunction with the partnership team
  • Establishing an approach to managing reputation risk across the digital domain with appropriate ownership by individual departments
  • Being the media spokesperson for GDS

But I’m having trouble confirming the position of this position in the GDS hierarchy. It reads like it’s a direct report to executive director Mike Bracken, but that isn’t made clear. (The paperwork attached to the job ad calls it ‘Deputy Director, Digital Engagement’ with a potentially all-important comma.) For the record, the last time we saw the words ‘director’, ‘digital’ and ‘engagement’ together, it was Katie Davis taking over from Andrew Stott on an interim basis… but she moved to DH in July.

I’d link to the various job adverts on the new Civil Service Jobs website … but it won’t let me. For some ridiculous reason, they’ve made the form submit via POST, not GET… so you don’t get any identifying data in the URL displayed by the browser. You’ll have to go here, and search for ‘Cabinet Office excl agencies’ positions.

GDS hiring product managers

The Government Digital Service has posted a job advert, seeking five ‘world-class‘ product managers, on a 24-month fixed-term basis. I can’t see any detail on what the five ‘products’ actually are; but there’s a lengthy application form, posted online in Word format only, allowing you plenty of room to explain why you’re suitable to manage them.

There’s a total salary package of up to £90k ‘available for exceptional candidates depending on specialist skills and expertise’, but that comprises base salary, additional pensionable allowances, pension benefits, generous annual leave allowance and flexible working arrangements.

It’s interesting to see these positions being advertised externally: questions have been asked about the recruitment of GDS staff thus far, and the extent to which positions have been externally advertised. In a comment on a recent blog post, James Taylor acknowledged:

All roles in the GDS have to be filled in line with the Recruitment Principles published by the Civil Service Commission.

The Commission excepts certain appointments from the principle of appointment on merit through fair and open competition where it believes this is justified by the needs of the Civil Service. In the case of the GDS, some roles have been considered to be exempt under the following condition.

See Annex C of the Recruitment Principles:

3. Appointments of individuals with highly specialised skills and experience for up to two years to allow highly specialised people to be brought in without a competition for a particular one-off job on the basis that such a process would be a mere formality. Any proposal for a longer appointment at the outset or to extend an appointment made under this exception beyond two years requires the approval of the Civil Service Commission.

Closing date for applications is 4 November, with interviews in the week of 21 November. ‘Late or faxed applications will not be accepted’.