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Stephanie Howarth

I'm delighted you're interested in a career in statistics in the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Government is the devolved government for Wales. It is responsible for developing and implementing national policies for Wales on topics such as health, education, communities, and the environment.

Most statisticians in the Welsh Government are in a central department called Knowledge and Analytical Services, and around a third work in teams based in policy departments. Wherever they are based, statisticians produce data and analysis that is used every day by Ministers, businesses, charities and the public to help make decisions.

A career in the Welsh Government is highly rewarding. You'll have opportunities to work closely with policy makers to inform the development of key policies and monitor their impact. As producers of official statistics, we are proud to produce analysis that is trusted, high quality and of public value. You will regularly work with analysts across the UK and with users of our statistics to keep driving improvements.

Equality, diversity and inclusion are core values of the Welsh Government and I have a strong personal commitment to make the statistics profession a truly inclusive place to work. I welcome applications from people of all backgrounds, especially those who are underrepresented in the public sector. The Welsh Government is a bilingual organisation and a career in statistics provides a great opportunity to use Welsh in the workplace.

With offices across Wales, as an organisation, we can be flexible on where you work from. Hybrid working will remain part of our approach in future.

Our People Survey results show that colleagues find statistics in the Welsh Government an engaging and valued career. If you have the right skills, I look forward to you joining us.

Stephanie Howarth, Chief Statistician, Welsh Government

About the Government Statistical Service

Professional statisticians in Welsh Government are part of the Government Statistician Group (GSG) which is the civil service profession for statistician and data scientists. Their influence extends from data collection and publications to providing an unbiased evidence base for effective decision making. Statisticians’ analysis and skills are essential to improving the operational services government provides. In today’s constantly evolving data landscape the need for professional statisticians is greater than ever. Statisticians’ skills are in high demand in government as analysts, producers of official statistics and data scientists. In all of their job roles they use their recognised professional standards to ensure the quality and integrity of their work. The profession works within the Government Statistical Service (GSS), the community for all civil servants working in the collection, production and communication of official statistics. You can find out more about the GSS on the Government Analysis Function website.

About the Principal Statistician role

As a principal statistician you will be the principal statistical adviser for a particular area and will manage the provision of statistics through the collection, collation, analysis and presentation of data on specific topics. The post-holders are also responsible for supporting the organisation in complying with the Code of Practice for Statistics, working with colleagues across the UK, and promoting and developing statistical policy and practice. You may be interested to see some of the statistics Welsh Government statisticians produce by browsing our Statistics and Research webpages.

The role will require you to apply your leadership skills to set strategic direction and motivate a team, as well as building relationships with a range of stakeholders both inside and outside government.  The ability to explain and communicate sometimes complex information will be essential.

There are three Principal Statistician roles available:

Deputy Head of Advanced Analytics and Modelling, Science Evidence Advice Division

This role will support modelling of interventions across the health system, including for infectious diseases, improving flow through hospitals, and looking at NHS efficiency. You will be leading large statistical projects in a new Science Evidence Advice division within the Health and Social Services group under the direction of the Chief Scientific Advisor for Health. The modelling and advanced analytics team is comprised of colleagues working within research, statistics, data science and health economics. The role involves working with the Wales Health and Social Care Evidence Centre (WHSCEC) and the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) databank at Swansea University to steer modelling and analytical projects to inform policy decisions across health and social care. The post holder will develop and maintain a close working relationship with Welsh Government Knowledge and Analytical Services (KAS), UK Government departments and other Devolved Governments.

Principal Statistician, Better Outcomes Through Linked Data (BOLD) Programme

This role is part of the flagship cross-government BOLD programme led by the Ministry of Justice. The role is part of a large multi-disciplinary team responsible for transforming the use of data to drive outcomes and decision-making across government. The role sits within the Welsh Government Administrative Data Research (ADR) Wales team, and will work closely with Public Health Wales and the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) databank. The Welsh team has had a specific focus on providing evidence to help improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and impact of substance misuse policy and delivery of services. It is expected that the post holder will expand the analytical work of the team in Wales to include housing, homelessness, and mental health.

Data Workstream Lead, Commission for Tertiary Education and Research Implementation Programme

The Commission for Tertiary Education and Research (CTER) is a new Welsh Government sponsored body launching in April 2024. CTER will replace the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and take on functions currently undertaken by the Welsh Government and HEFCW. The post holder will lead the Data Workstream in the Systems and Processes Project and be responsible for identifying and facilitating the compliant transfer of required data to the new body. The post holder will also be responsible for ensuring that fit for purpose data collection, analysis, storage, and dissemination systems are in place for day 1 of CTER and setting up CTER as an Official Statistics producer, ensuring CTER can be compliant with the Code of Practice for Statistics. Additionally, the post holder will be responsible for the design and implementation of a new data collection to replace existing post-16 data collections during the transitional phase of CTER.

Application process

Eligibility criteria

You must have one of the following in order to apply:

  • A first or second class honours degree in a subject containing formal statistical training (e.g. Statistics, Mathematics, Economics, Sciences, Business Studies, Psychology, Geography Data Science or similar); or
  • A higher degree, e.g. an MSc or PhD, in a subject containing formal statistical training (e.g. Statistics, Mathematics, Economics, Sciences, Business Studies, Data Science, Psychology, Geography or similar).
  • Applications from candidates who do not have a degree are welcomed, but they must demonstrate that they have worked in a statistics/data science related field. Candidates without a relevant degree will be required to demonstrate their continuous professional development (via a CPD Logbook) in statistics/data science to demonstrate knowledge at the same level as a foundation degree/HND (Level 5).

Application form

Please apply by submitting a CV and personal statement via our online application system. Your CV should cover details of education and professional qualifications, employment history and relevant skills and experience.

Your personal statement should reflect the person specification outlined below. It must include details of your technical and professional achievements and should be no more than 1,250 words.

When looking at applications, the assessors will be looking for clear evidence of your statistical knowledge and experience and how you meet the Person Specification criteria; so you are advised to tailor it accordingly.

Person specification

  • Demonstrable leadership skills, with the ability to build capability of team members and create an inclusive working environment.
  • Ability to set strategic direction, ensuring plans and priorities reflect organisational objectives.
  • An experienced analyst with a track record in the practical application of statistical analysis or research to meet user needs.
  • A proven ability to manage the delivery of programmes of work, delivering quality outcomes to deadline and identifying risks.

Good communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to communicate statistical analysis to non-specialists and build effective relationships with ministers, senior officials and external stakeholders.

Multiple choice test

If your application demonstrates the skills and experience required for the role, you will be invited to undertake an online multiple-choice test, designed to test your numeracy and statistical knowledge. It is a timed test and must be completed and submitted by midday on the date specified in the email, in order to be considered for the next stage of the process.  

If you are already a member of the Government Statistician Group, you are exempt from sitting the test. Please email with your GSG membership number who will confirm if you do not need to complete the test. You will then be moved onto the next stage (interview).

Online interview and dissemination test

If you pass the multiple-choice test, you will be invited to an online interview. The online interview will take place over Microsoft Teams. The interview will be using various assessment techniques aligned to the Civil Service Success Profiles framework. This gives us the best possible chance of finding the right person for the job. Past experience style questions will be used to assess the specified civil service behaviours. In addition, you will also be asked competency style questions on the Government Statistician Group Technical competencies. During which you will be expected to demonstrate understanding of two statistical techniques (e.g. ANOVA, regression, time series, hypothesis testing etc.).

Before the interview you will be given 40 minutes to sit a short test, which will form a presentation to be delivered to the panel at the beginning of the interview. The presentation should last no more than 5 minutes and you will remain seated during the presentation.

Technical competencies

  • Acquiring data and understanding customer needs
  • Data analysis. You must demonstrate evidence of having used at least 2 statistical techniques.
  • Presenting & disseminating data effectively

Civil Service Behaviours

  • Seeing the big picture – Ensure plans and activities in your area of work reflect wider strategic priorities
  • Leadership – Promote diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunity, respecting difference and external experience.
  • Working together – Actively build and maintain a network of colleagues and contacts to achieve progress on shared objectives.

Advice on how to apply

Getting started

  • Write down examples of tasks that you have done well over the past 2 years (or longer). Use evidence from work if you can, though your examples don’t need to be work related. For each of these things note down how you achieved what you did, what skills and behaviours did you use?
  • Look at the effective competency indicators and for each bit of work, note which areas of the person specification it might cover.
  • Gather your evidence together and review it before you start writing examples – you probably have more evidence than you think!
  • A second or third pair of eyes is always useful.

Completing the application

What is The Success Profile Framework?

Success profiles moves recruitment away from using purely competency-based system of assessment. It introduces a more flexible framework which assesses candidates against a range of elements using a variety of selection methods. This will give the best possible chance of finding the right person for the job and also improve diversity and inclusivity. You will be assessed against areas such as your ability and your behaviours (formally named competencies).

The criteria that can be assessed to determine the best candidate for the role are:

  • Behaviours: the actions and activities that people do that result in the effective performance in that job
  • Ability: general mental ability, cognitive ability or aptitude; tests are used to predict future performance
  • Experience: Knowledge of an activity or subject gained through involvement in or exposure to it
  • Technical: Specific skills, or experience or qualifications needed for the role

Choosing your examples

  • When deciding which examples to use, keep referring back to the person specification in the job advert, the G7 level of the 2021 GSG competency framework and Level 4 of civil service Success Profile behaviours for effective behaviour indicators. Try to fit your examples to the advertised posts.
  • Tailor your competencies to the job that you are applying for. There are different levels of the competency framework for different grades – use the Grade 7 level.
  • Underline any key words and phrases in the job advert to include in your examples. If you have any doubts about the advert, please speak to the contact point named in the advert to find out more about the advertised post.
  • Allow yourself plenty of time for writing your examples - avoid leaving them until the last minute.
  • Choose your most powerful examples - demanding/challenging situations that have lots of substance.
  • Focus on the ‘how’ throughout your competency. For example, “I worked collaboratively across teams, establishing relationships and encouraging cross team working”.
  • Use ‘I’ not ‘we’. This is about your role in the task and how you affected the outcome.
  • Use your own words. Consider using active verbs to create greater impact.
  • Don’t assume the sift panel has any knowledge of the situation or context.
  • It’s all down to you. The sift panel cannot infer what is not included in the example and can only assess what you have actually written.
  • Ensure that there is a clear outcome stated.
  • Don’t get caught up telling a story in your example. Just give enough to show how you went about the task, why you did it the way you did and describe any obstacles you encountered.

Within the Civil Service, the most common approach is: The STAR method.

Using the STAR method, allows you to set the scene, show what and how you did and the overall outcome. The job holder (and later the interviewer) will use this method to gather all the relevant information about a specific capability that the job requires.


Describe the situation you found yourself in. You must describe a specific event or situation. Be sure to give enough detail for the job holder to understand.

  • Where are you?
  • Who was there with you?
  • What had happened?

The job holder will want to understand what you tried to achieve from the situation you found yourself in.

  • What was the task that you had to complete and why?
  • What did you have to achieve?

What did you do? The job holder will be looking for information of what you did, how you did it and why. Keep the focus on you. What specific steps did you take and what was your contribution? Remember to include how you did it, and the behaviours you used. Try to use “I” rather than “we” to explain your actions that lead to the result. Be careful not to take credit of something that you did not do.


Don’t be shy about taking credit for your behaviour. Quote specific facts and figures that are easily understandable.

  • What results did the actions produce?
  • What did you achieve through your actions, and did you meet your goals?
  • Was it a successful outcome? If not, what did you learn from the experience?
  • When writing your example make sure you cover both ‘what’ you did and ‘how’ you did it. In most examples you should focus more words on the ‘how’ than the ‘what’.
  • Follow this by a brief summary of the ‘outcome’.

Keep the situation and task parts brief. Concentrate on the action and the result. If the result was not entirely successful describe what you learned from this and what you would do differently next time. Make sure you focus on your strengths.

Interview: hints and tips

A good interview requires excellent preparation, good listening skills and the ability to answer the question that is asked. Practice before the interview by preparing and rehearsing answers to possible questions.

Here are some useful tips.

  • Try to arrange a ‘mock interview’ with your career centre.
  • Research the Government Statistical Service, what they do and who their customers are.
  • Remember to apply the ‘STAR’ model when relating your examples to the questions.

We want to know about your own experience, skills and behaviours. Your answers should focus on telling us your own actions rather than actions completing as a whole group. When working in a team or group, we would like to know what you personally did.

Part 1 of the interview will start by assessing your technical competence. This will cover three Statistical Competencies:

  • Acquiring data and understanding customer needs
  • Data analysis. You must demonstrate evidence of having used at least 2 statistical techniques.
  • Presenting & disseminating data effectively

Part 2 of the interview will assess you against three Success Profile behaviours using past experience style questioning. This will cover three Behaviours:

  • Seeing the big picture
  • Leadership
  • Working together

Contact details

Thank you for your interest in this position. If you have any questions about the role or the recruitment process, please contact or