Public Services > Central Government

Single Whitehall data and technology jobs framework moves to beta

Neil Merrett Published 31 March 2017

Initial cross-government work has concluded on first version of agreement that has been developed to create a single language and structure to define Whitehall technical roles


The Government Digital Service (GDS) has completed its work around establishing a first national framework of digital, data and technology roles in Whitehall to support a wider transformation of public services.

The arrangement, which represents a taxonomy of some 37 role classifications, was commissioned by the Civil Service last year to provide guidance to departments for locating, developing and then retaining expertise to build a new generation of services.

Currently published in beta, initial versions of the framework will face ongoing developments on the back of input from departments and communities working in government.

Former Ministry of Justice (MoJ) chief digital and information officer Arif Harbott, who is presently advising GDS on technology and data initiatives, said a total of 600 individuals working across government on technology had come together on the framework to create a more common language relating to skills.

“Our first priority was to bring consistency to the multitude of technical roles that exist in the public sector. Many of these roles have a number of different titles, but in reality, the scope and skills are the same,” he said.

The work has seen a number of cross-government groups building up a single structure of jobs and career paths with the aim of ensuring greater consistency among departments in how they view and plan to address their engineering and service management needs.

Writing in a blog post, Harbott said the key ambition for the framework was to give clarity through to improve not only how departments can assess existing capabilities for service transformation, but also better define roles in a way that could be better understood by the wider technology industry.

Kevin Cunnington, GDS director general and head of the Whitehall Digital, Data and Technology Profession, said the framework’s publication was a “significant step” for streamlining processes to recruit required technology expertise.

“It's delivering on a key commitment that we made in the Government Transformation Strategy and has been the result of sustained collaboration across many communities and departments,” he said.

Trisha Doyle, head of content design with GDS, saw the framework as a key tool for improving understanding of the work of content designers and technical writers in government.

“Talking to the wider community across government about how they structure their teams, and understanding that the same challenges are common to every organisation is really interesting,” he said.

Earlier this month, Cunnington told Government Computing that the framework had been established to detail technology positions in government, such as user researcher or product owner, and set out four or five level of competencies for them from beginner to expert.

"We've aligned that to some form of grade and pay so that we now have a consistent framework for government across the 17,000 people in the profession that we start adopting from April 1.”

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