Principal Social Researcher: Head of the Race Disparity Evidence Unit and Head of the Disability Disparity Evidence Unit
The guidance gives candidates an overview of the profession and the recruitment process.
In this page
Welcome from Claire Bennett, Director of Communities and Tackling Poverty, Welsh Government
I am delighted that you want to know more about these important research roles which are part of our newly established Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units in the Communities and Tackling Poverty Directorate.
These teams will play a critical role in advancing our vision for a More Equal and Anti-racist Wales.
Our Directorate’s role is to work across Welsh Government to galvanise action to address inequalities in outcomes arising from poverty and protected characteristics and to help ensure that children in Wales have the best start in life and the opportunity to fulfil their potential through a prevention based approach.
Our Evidence Units will play an essential role in increasing understanding of the systemic inequalities citizens in Wales face and addressing the often deep rooted issues which adversely impact those with protected characteristics.
I’m looking for people from diverse backgrounds and a collaborative approach to working, which will help drive more co-produced, inclusive and better policy making and delivery, which truly reflects the needs of our communities. They will be at the centre of the Welsh Government’s plans for delivering a Wales that not only values diversity, but actively strives to eradicate systemic inequality in all its forms.
Equality, diversity and inclusion are core values of the Welsh Government. As our senior leader, the Permanent Secretary has given a personal commitment to anti-racism. We work hard to create a supportive and inclusive environment for all staff to grow and perform to the best of their ability. We aim to be an exemplar employer and have vibrant diversity networks which are supported by a Board Equality and Diversity Champion. We also have a Shadow Board of people who reflect the diversity of our organisation to scrutinise the decisions of our senior leaders.
Welcome from Dr Steven Marshall, Chief Social Research Officer, Welsh Government
“Thank you for your interest in research roles in the Welsh Government”
Dear Applicant, I am delighted that you are interested in finding out more about our Social Research roles at in the Welsh Government.
The Welsh Government is the devolved Government for Wales. It is responsible for developing and implementing national policies for Wales and works across devolved areas that include key areas of public life such as health, education and the environment.
Most social researchers in the Welsh Government are in a central department called Knowledge and Analytical Services which also includes statisticians. Just over a quarter of the social research profession are working in out bedded posts within policy departments.
The wide variety of the devolved powers of the Welsh Government allows Social Researchers to work across a range of policy areas. The work is fast-paced and will allow you to develop your analytical skills by engaging in research to support policy teams and ministers. This includes:
- Evaluating policies which are being implemented
- Conducting impact analysis or feasibility analyses on a policy which may be implemented in future
- Providing evidence for a policy team
- Research to scope public attitudes toward key issues
- Disseminating research findings
- Working with stakeholders to create new monitoring and evaluation systems to monitor Welsh Government funded programmes.
This might be done through both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Many research projects at Welsh Government are contracted out to research companies, so there is some contract management involved in the role. Depending on the research team, there is often interaction with third sector organisations, academics and other Government departments. As Welsh Government covers many policy areas, there are opportunities to move around to work within different policy areas.
If you believe that you have the right skills to help us, then we would like to hear from you.
Overview of guidance
We are looking for passionate and capable people from all walks of life. Previous experience as a civil servant is not a requirement. We are looking for people who can bring different lived experiences to our decision making and thrive in collaborative teams that will help change the way we think.
This guidance includes an overview of the organisation, the Government Social Research Profession and the Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Unit roles. This guidance has been developed to assist candidates in applying for Social Research vacancies at the Welsh Government. Please refer to the guidance and job advert throughout each stage of the recruitment and selection process, it includes useful advice on:
- what you need to do before you apply
- completing an application, including producing Success Profile Behaviours and experience examples
- the assessment process, including interview, presentation and GSR Knowledge Test
If you have any questions relating to the information contained in this guidance or the application process, please contact the Social Research recruitment via email (email@example.com).
Government Social Research profession
For this vacancy you have the option of apply as either a statistician or social researcher. This is the social researcher candidate guidance, if you are interested in being a statistician, please see statistician candidate guidance, which is available through the separate statistics advert.
Government Social Research (GSR) is the social research profession for the Civil Service. There are GSR members in all government departments, and in Welsh Government most social researchers are based in a central department, Knowledge and Analytical Services (KAS), which also includes statisticians. There are also a number of social researchers working in out-bedded posts within policy teams.
The wide variety of the devolved powers of the Welsh Government allows social researchers to work across a range of policy areas. The work is fast-paced and will allow you to develop your analytical skills by engaging in research to support policy teams and ministers. To do this, your role may include some of the following:
- In-house or contract management of evaluations for policies which are being implemented
- Conducting impact analysis or feasibility analyses on a policy which may be implemented in future
- Providing in-house evidence (e.g. literature reviews or small-scale research projects) for a policy team
- Providing in-house statistical analysis on omnibus survey data
- Contract management of external organisations to undertake surveys
- Providing in-house or contract management of research to scope public attitudes toward key issues
- Disseminating research findings to policy colleagues and other customers
- Liaising closely with other staff across Welsh Government to share knowledge and develop expertise; working with stakeholders to create new monitoring and evaluation systems to monitor Welsh Government funded programmes
This might be done through both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Our researchers draw on both quantitative and qualitative knowledge in their roles.
Many research projects at Welsh Government are contracted out to research companies, so there is some contract management involved in the role. Depending on the research team, there is often interaction with third sector organisations, academics and other Government departments. As Welsh Government covers many policy areas, there are opportunities to move around to work within different policy areas.
Candidates for GSR roles are assessed using the Civil Service Success Profile approach to recruitment. The Government Social Research Technical Framework has been produced to align with success profiles, and provides more information on the technical and communication skills required for Principal Research Officer (G7) grades. We are looking for applications from diverse candidates who can bring fresh skills, lived experiences and perspectives to our work.
See what our principal analysts say about working for the Welsh Government (Annex A).
Purpose of the posts and our teams
Systemic inequalities for people in Wales are particularly prevalent for those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds and disabled people. Over the past few years, prompted by the justifiable outrage over the killing of George Floyd in the United States, and growing divisions within our own society, we’ve come to realise that structural and systemic racism is more pressing than ever[footnote 1]. Additionally, the coronavirus pandemic has amplified pre-existing socio-economic inequalities in society and their influence on health outcomes[footnote 2]. We have heard directly from people about their lived experiences of racism as in developing the Race Equality Action Plan and about the barriers and discrimination faced by disabled people through the Locked Out report. A key role for the Data Units will be to draw out the evidence, including lived experience, to shape policy development and implement and to assess progress in changing outcomes. In order to identify where best to focus resources in order to tackle systemic inequalities, we need to make the most effective use of evidence across the full range of policy areas and address gaps in the evidence base.
The purpose of the Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units will be to address ongoing evidence needs relating to equalities and socioeconomic disadvantage. This will include evidence that considers where experiences and backgrounds intersect which can intensify barriers for individuals. The Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units are uniquely positioned given the cross-cutting nature of inequalities to identify this intersectionality and have an overview of a broad range of policy topics. Working collaboratively with internal colleagues and external stakeholders, the Evidence Units’ priorities will be informed by the Programme for Government and Ministerial priorities as well as our external mechanisms such as the Race Equality Action Plan Accountability Group, the current evidence base and where the gaps are.
The Equality, Race and Disability Disparity Evidence Units are in the process of developing their Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Strategy. This will map out the ways of working that we expect to underpin the work of all three teams. This will include working co-productively at both a project and programme level through close engagement with people and through collecting and valuing lived experiences as equal to other sources of evidence.
Race Disparity Evidence Unit
The development of the Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan has created the vision of a Wales that is proudly anti-racist, where everyone is treated as an equal citizen. The key aim is to create meaningful change to the lives of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people in Wales. In order to support this, we need better evidence which will help to increase the transparency and of where improvement is needed and accountability for delivering that improvement. Establishing a Race Disparity Evidence Unit was a recommendation of the First Minister’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Coronavirus Advisory Group’s Socio-economic Sub-Group[footnote 3].
The Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan Accountability Group will inform the priorities of the Race Disparity Evidence Unit’s evidence programme. The Race Disparity Evidence Unit will oversee a programme of evidence that is focused on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people, Migrants, Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Travellers, Roma and Gypsies.
Race and Ethnicity Principal Analyst post
- The Race Disparity Evidence Unit will work closely with the Welsh Government’s statistical division to support the development of the Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan indicators. The post holder will develop the social research and statistical race evidence programme, which will cut across a range of policy areas. The post holder will be responsible for leading a team of analysts who will be commissioning bespoke research and completing in-house research and collecting data and undertaking statistical analysis. The post-holder will be responsible for overseeing statistics and social research to support the Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan Accountability Group as part of the ARWAP Governance arrangements.
Disability Disparity Evidence Unit
The Welsh Government published the Locked Out: liberating disabled people’s lived and rights in Wales beyond COVID-19 report, which had a series of recommendations to improve the lives of disabled people. The content of the report and the new Disability Taskforce will inform the priorities for the Disability Disparity Evidence Unit. The Disability Disparity Evidence Unit will oversee a programme of evidence that focuses on disability, mental health, impairments, neurodiversity and carers.
The Welsh Government has committed to the Social Model for Disability[footnote 4]. The Social Model states that people are disabled by barriers in society, not by their impairment or difference, and recognises certain barriers makes life disproportionately and unfairly harder for disabled people. We need to ensure that all evidence produced by the Welsh Government embodies the ethos of the Social Model from scoping and design through to the communication of findings. The Disability Disparity Evidence Unit will support other evidence producers in Welsh Government to embed the Social Model throughout their evidence cycles.
Disability Principal Analyst post
- The post holder will develop the social research and statistical disability evidence programme which will include a range of policy areas. The post holder will be leading a team of analysts who will be responsible for commissioning bespoke research and completing in-house research and collecting data and undertaking statistical analysis. The post-holder will be responsible for overseeing providing statistics and social research on request from the Disability Taskforce as part of the Disability Action Plan Governance arrangements.
Working for the Welsh Government
The Welsh Government is responsible for a range of areas including health, education and skills, the economy and transport, and agriculture and the environment. The First Minister of Wales and his Cabinet form the Welsh Government and make decisions in devolved areas of responsibility. Welsh Ministers are accountable to the Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament.
Welsh Ministers are supported by around 5,000 civil servants, based predominantly in Welsh Government offices across Wales. The Permanent Secretary leads the Welsh Government Civil Service and is accountable to the First Minister and Welsh Ministers. Our aim is to help the First Minister and Welsh Ministers to build a fairer, greener and more equal Wales.
Equality and diversity
The Welsh Government is committed to providing services which embrace diversity and which promote equality of opportunity. Our goal is to ensure that these commitments are embedded in our day-to-day working practices with all our customers, colleagues and partners. Our Board has an Equality Champion and receives regular updates on equality and diversity. We also have a Shadow Board of people who reflect the diversity of our organisation to scrutinise the decisions of our senior leaders.
We are committed to being an anti-racist organisation, removing barriers and supporting all our staff to reach their potential. In 2019 we were ranked 8th in the Stonewall Top 100 list of employers, we are a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Level 3 (Leader) organisation and received gold status from a:gender in 2020. Key to supporting this work and providing peer support are four Board sponsored Staff Networks (Disability Awareness and Support (DAAS); Minority Ethic Support Network (MESN); PRISM (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex+) and Women Together.
We know we need to listen to and understand the experiences of those who are currently underrepresented in the Civil Service in Wales, including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people, people from disadvantaged communities and disabled people. We work hard to create a supportive and inclusive environment for all staff to grow and perform to the best of their ability. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people and disabled people who are under-represented in the Civil Service in Wales, and we are committed to supporting all staff to thrive in an inclusive working environment. We have published our strategy on Inclusion and Diversity in Public Appointments as we are intent on increasing the diversity of the regulated and other Boards in Wales and our process of developing our Equality Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan 2020-2025 setting our visions for our own employment.
Welsh Government is committed to the social model of disability. We will make reasonable adjustments to remove any barriers in the recruitment process and workplace adjustments. We will ensure equality for staff with impairments, health conditions or who use British Sign Language. We can make adjustments to any part of the recruitment process (the application as well as the assessment centre). We will match disabled candidates to roles which are compatible with workplace adjustments. We can provide advice to staff who think they do or might need reasonable adjustments but who need to know more about the assessment process. We can advise on what sort of adjustments we could make to ensure fair assessment.
See 'Recruitment adjustments' and 'Guaranteed Interview Scheme' in the annex for support available to disabled candidates during the application process.
The Welsh Government is a bilingual organisation; legislation is produced in both Welsh and English, and both languages have equal legal status. Although Welsh language skills are not essential for these posts, and you do not need to be able to speak Welsh in order to work within the Welsh Government, they would be a real asset.
The Welsh Government acknowledges the importance of developing and growing its bilingual workforce. We encourage and support staff to learn, develop and use their Welsh language skills in the workplace. Applications for any post can be submitted in either Welsh or English. Applications submitted in Welsh will not be treated less favourably than applications submitted in English.
A great place to work for veterans
We offer veterans who meet the minimum standard on each of the job’s essential criteria the opportunity to go directly to the next stage of selection. If you have completed at least one year in her Majesty’s Armed Forces (as a regular or Reserve) and are in transition from the Armed Forces, or no longer a member, you can apply for roles in the Civil Service under the Great Place to Work Veterans initiative.
How to apply
Stage 1: eligibility and application form
Eligibility for GSR
GSR entry requires you to hold a minimum of 2:1 in an undergraduate degree or 2:2 with a postgraduate degree and either the qualification or experience route:
- [qualification route] A relevant social science subject at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Which contains substantial social research methods training. (We would expect social research methods to represent around a third of modules taken)
- [experience route] At least 4 years’ social research practice experience. (This would be experience designing, managing and conducting research in a research agency, market research agency or specialised research team. For this route you must make explicit the breadth and depth of your research experience and skills).
Please apply by submitting a CV and personal statement via our online application system. You may apply in either Welsh or English. Your CV should cover details of education (including modules covered within degrees), professional qualifications, employment history and relevant skills and experience. Do not include a list of your publications.
Your personal statement should reflect the experience and behaviours outlined in the job advert (areas 1 to 8). Provide examples based on your past experiences. It must include details of your technical and professional achievements and should be no more than 2,400 words.
Social research experience criteria
You should evidence how you meet the experience criteria listed in the advert by drawing on your past experience, knowledge and achievements to provide a summary. The experience criteria are outlined in the job advert (Areas to Evidence 1 to 4). Evidence area 1 is specific to the roles and 2 to 4 are specific to being a member of Government Social Research.
Success profile behaviours
In the Success Profiles Framework for each behaviour there is a description of what it means in practice. For this role, there are four behaviours for which you will be asked to provide evidence (Areas to Evidence 5 to 8). Your evidence should be written in a way that helps panel members assess your suitability for the role.
How do I provide my behaviour and experience evidence (personal statement)?
You will be asked in the application form to upload your evidence in a Word document or pdf. We would expect around 300 words per each individual behaviour and experience listed in the advert. The max word limit is 2,400 for all areas of evidence in this document. Structure your evidence using each Behaviour and Experience Criteria for the advert as a header, with your evidence for that area underneath. You should ensure that you clearly evidence all the necessary behaviours and experience. Use the STAR approach to provide your evidence.
For further guidance on your personal statement around evidencing your behaviours and experience, see Annex B and Annex C.
When looking at applications, the assessors will be looking for clear evidence of your research knowledge and experience and how you meet the criteria. Before applying you must decide whether you are applying through the route of the Government Social Research or Government Statistician Group as both have slightly different assessments and eligibility requirements.
Applying for both Social Research and Statistics (dual badging)
You have the option of applying under both schemes. This will increase your chances of being offered one of these roles as you can appear in two merit orders (social research and stats). Dual badging is seen as a strength within Government given you have demonstrated a wide range of analytical skills and will provide you more opportunities for lateral moves within Welsh Government and the wider Civil Service.
You will need to submit two separate applications (one for social research and one for statistics), there can be overlap between your two applications in terms of content but you need to meet the profession specific requirements of each profession separately.
For more detailed breakdown of how to apply, see Annex E.
Stage 2: the sift process and online test
If your application demonstrates the skills and experience required for the role, you will be invited to undertake an online test, designed to test knowledge relevant to GSR (qualitative, quantitative and evaluation). You will have one week to complete the test. It is a timed test and must be completed and submitted by midday on the date specified in the email to be considered for the next stage of the process.
If you require a recruitment adjustment to take the test, when you submit your written application, please contact us as soon as possible by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applying for both Social Research and Statistics
If you wish to apply under both professions, you will have to sit two different online tests (one for Social Research and one for Statistics). You will need to read the candidate guidance for both professions as they have slightly different requirements.
If you are already a member of the Government Social Research or you have passed a GSR Knowledge Test with another Government department within the last 12 months, you are exempt from sitting the test. Please email the email@example.com as you submit your application to inform them of this and which department you are based at or which department you sat the test with. We will obtain confirmation from them on your behalf. If you are successful at sift, you will then be moved straight onto the next stage (interview).
Stage 3: Online interviews and presentation
If you pass the online test, you will be invited to an online interview (unless a recruitment adjustment is requested for an in-person 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. Questioning styles include Situational and Past Experience types. This gives us the best possible chance of finding the right person for the job.
In the profession specific part of the interview you will answer experience style questions You will be asked questions informed by the Government Social Research job specifics (1, 3 and 4). During which you will be expected to demonstrate knowledge of Anti-Racism and Social Model for Disability in the context of research, quantitative and qualitative approaches and ability to manage research. Job specific criteria 3 and 4 will be covered in a single question while job specific 2 is only assessed at application stage.
Before the interview you will be provided with a presentation topic, 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.
Preparing for the interview
Here are some useful tips to help you in preparing for your interview:
- Try to arrange a ‘mock interview’ with a friend, family member or colleague.
- Research the area of work that you are applying for – check the Welsh Government website for any relevant information.
- You may want to speak to the recruiting line manager to better understand the role – the job advert will include a point of contact for the role.
- Prepare more examples than you provided on your application. The panel may ask you for more details and another example if it helps you to provide the evidence required.
Remember the 'STAR' model may be helpful to you when preparing for the interview, as well as during the interview when responding to questions, by giving a clear structure to your responses. See Annex B: Providing your evidence for more details on the STAR model.
When you are informed that you have passed the test, if you require a recruitment adjustment for any or all parts of the interview(s), please contact us as soon as possible by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can support you.
Applying for both Social Research and Statistics
As you are applying for two different analytical professions you will attend two separate interviews, one for each profession, where relevant (criteria 5 to 8) you can use the same examples for both applications.
Stage 4: after the interview
You will receive a notification of whether you have been successful after each stage of the process: the sift, the test and after the interview. Outcomes will be delivered for all candidates at the same time. All outcomes will be notified by e-mail. We expect the whole process to take about 6 months.
The panel chair will give you an indication at the end of the interview of when the outcome of your interview will be issued. Given the number of applicants we receive, you may not receive outcomes for up to a couple of months after your interview. It may be useful to plan for this delay between the interview and finding out whether you have been successful when applying.
Candidates will only receive brief written feedback regarding their interview, but we do hope it will be helpful if considering future applications.
You may pass the requirements for the level of principal research officer but we may not have a post to offer immediately. In which case you will be placed onto our reserve list for 12 months. The Chief Social Research Officer will offer people on the reserve list roles should new roles at principal research officer come up within Welsh Government.
Annex A: see what our researchers have to say about their work
Principal Research Officers
Head of the Equality Evidence Unit (Education, Social Justice, and Welsh Language)
We, in the Equality Evidence Unit, are uniquely positioned to produce quality, cross-cutting evidence that supports a wide range of priorities from across the Welsh Government. Our work contributes directly toward the improved visibility of disadvantaged groups in Welsh Government policy making which, as a disabled bisexual woman myself, I am extremely grateful to be involved with.
Having helped to establish and develop the Equality, Race, and Disability Evidence Units from the very beginning, I am delighted to see each team flourish as the demand for robust equality evidence increases (as does the expectations of our stakeholders!) In keeping with the rise in demand, our team also continues to grow, with our numbers projected to triple by the end of the year. With momentum and support behind us, I am excited to see what my team and I can achieve in the near future.
Head of Housing Research (Knowledge and Analytical Services)
The Housing Research team have a key role in supporting the Housing and Regeneration Directorate deliver against its Programme for Government commitments on a number of areas such as Homelessness, Building Safety Reform, Second Homes, Fair Rents and decarbonisation. Welsh Government is committed to ensuring everyone has a safe place to live and housing policy and legislation are fully devolved to Welsh Government, which can sometimes make the research challenging due to the need to support policy development and interventions across the whole housing sector and across Wales. We have increased the size of our team recently, allowing us to support more priorities, more frequently which is exciting. I specifically find it rewarding seeing how research can help shape policy thinking or understanding of a complex and uncertain topic. I’m looking forward to continuing to build relationships across policy teams and supporting them to make progress in people’s lives in the future.
Annex B: providing your evidence
You should always pick your strongest examples that allow you to evidence how you meet the behaviours and experience requirements in the context of the role.
When choosing your examples, consider the following advice:
- Base your examples on a previous experience.
- Use the ‘STAR’ Model to structure your evidence – the STAR approach may help you to present your evidence by providing structure and focus to your examples in both the application form and the interview.
- The STAR approach includes:
- Situation: briefly describe the context and your role
- Task: the specific challenge, task or job that you faced
- Action: what you did, how and why you did it
- Result: the outcomes and what you achieved through your actions
- Keep the situation and task parts brief (2 to 3 sentences in a written example).
- Concentrate on the action and the result. The action should take up the majority of your answer.
- If the result was not entirely successful describe what you learned from this and what you would do differently next time.
- STAR may help you to cover all the points you need to make. It may help you in drafting your application and ensure that you cover what you personally have done. Make sure you focus on your strengths. It may also help you at the interview stage, by giving you a structure to form your answers to questions asked at interview. There are however other frameworks available which could help you with structuring your evidence. Spending some time researching application and interview techniques prior to applying for a vacancy could help you to identify a framework that best suits you.
- Don’t assume the sift panel has any knowledge of the situation. They cannot assume what is not included in the example and can only assess what you have actually written
- Make sure you include how you overcome problems/obstacles
- Describe your thoughts, actions and feelings rather than just describing what happened
- 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
- Describe any obstacles you encountered
- Don’t forget to include results and show why your actions were effective and/or how you could have improved on what you did
- Ensure your examples are at the right level for the level of the roles. Refer to the PRO & G7 guidance (Level 4 in the Success Profiles document), to help you pitch your examples at the right level.
- Write down all the things that you have done well in your job over the past 2 years. Any performance reports you may have completed may help here. For each of these things note down how you achieved what you did, what skills and behaviours you used.
- For each example, note which Success Profiles behaviours or experience criteria it might cover.
- Gather your evidence together and analyse it before you start writing examples; you probably have more evidence than you think.
- Use evidence from work, but if you have any roles of responsibility outside of work, these may provide you with equally appropriate evidence of the competency behaviours/job specific criteria.
- As we are recruiting for the Social Research profession, we recommend you use research in the majority of examples where possible.
- Talk through your evidence and examples with your line manager or a colleague; a second or third pair of eyes is always useful.
- Always tell the truth. You will be asked about your examples at the interview stage so you may not be able to provide sufficient evidence if you have written about something you are not familiar with.
Writing your evidence
Ensure your examples are presented as succinctly as possible. As there is a limit on the number of words it is essential that you use the space as effectively as possible by focusing on the actions you took as part of the example. When writing your examples, consider the following advice:
- Write a first draft, then allow yourself plenty of time to refine your examples
- Check everything is there that is needed
- Check your word count; you don’t want to exceed the word count of 300 words per competency behaviour/experience criteria
- Think about presentation; would bullet points work as opposed to paragraphs of text?
- Draft in clear language that is grammatically correct, including the spelling
- Do not use jargon, abbreviations or specialist terms
- Make use of the past tense e.g. achieved, verified.
- Use active verbs (see Annex C)
- Use ‘I’ not ‘we’. This is about your role in the task and how you affected the outcome
- Use short statements that show the value you added
- Use your own words. Consider using active verbs to create greater impact (see Annex C).
Annex C: the use of active language
When completing your competency examples consider using active verbs which give your application greater impact and make a stronger impression. Using the past tense also gives the sense that you have completed or achieved your goals.
As an added bonus you will use fewer words.
Don’t use: I was responsible for organising a programme of speakers.
Do use: I organised a programme of speakers. Here is a list of active verbs that you can consider using:
A: accomplish, achieve, adapt, administer, advise, analyse, apply, appoint, appraise, approve, assess, attain, arrange, assist
B: broaden, budget, build
C: calculate, capture, centralise, check, coach
D: decrease, define, delegate, deliver, demonstrate, determine, develop, devise, diagnose, direct, distribute, document, drive
E: earn, edit, eliminate, encourage, engineer, ensure, establish
G: generate, guide
I: identify, implement, improve, improvise, incorporate, increase, influence, initiate, innovate, inspire, instigate, instruct, interpret, interview, investigate, introduce
L: lead, liaise, launch
M: mentor, manage
N: negotiate, network
O: organise, operate, obtain
P: participate, persuade, plan, present, produce, prompt, propose
R: reinforce, research, revitalise
S: shape, sell, solve, specify, streamline, supply, support
Annex D: scoring matrix good / strong evidence
Behaviour and experience evidence at both application and interview stage is graded on a scale of 1 to 7 using the following scoring matrix.
Outstanding demonstration (7)
The evidence provided wholly exceeds expectation at this level.
Strong / good demonstration (6 and 5)
Substantial sufficient evidence; includes some evidence of exceeding expectations at this level (6).
Substantial sufficient evidence of the competency or behaviour (5).
Acceptable demonstration (4)
Adequate sufficient and any insufficient evidence would not cause concern.
Moderate / minimal demonstration (3 and 2)
Moderate sufficient but some insufficient evidence demonstrated (3).
Minimal sufficient evidence and/ or mainly insufficient evidence demonstrated (2).
Not demonstrated (1)
No sufficient evidence and/ or significant insufficient evidence demonstrated.
Annex E: applying for the roles (detailed version)
Stage 1: the application process
The majority of vacancies with the Welsh Government are advertised on the Recruitment pages of our website. Select ‘Vacancies’ to view the different types of opportunities available with the Welsh Government. Vacancy adverts will include a description of the vacancy and will identify the behaviours (core skills and behaviours) and essential experience criteria required for the post, together with any other requirements such as particular qualifications. The advert will also provide details of any other assessment method that may be undertaken during the course of the recruitment activity in addition to the interview. It will also set out the general terms and conditions of the vacancy, including the starting salary at which the appointment will be made.
Planning your application
Before you make your application you should carefully read the job advert and job description and assure yourself that you can provide sufficient evidence of the core skills and behaviours and experience criteria for the post. It is worth noting that anyone who is deemed unable to provide sufficient evidence by the panel will not progress to interview and will be sifted out. Only candidates deemed competent against each of the areas being tested (which for the purposes of the Guaranteed Interview Scheme is the minimum criteria for the post) may progress beyond the sift (short listing) and/or assessment stage.
You should plan the completion of your application being mindful of the closing date for the vacancy and any potential technical difficulties in using the online system, as this is a fixed date that will not be negotiated (except where a reasonable adjustment is appropriate and has been agreed beforehand).Assistance in completing the Application Form: It is your responsibility to provide examples that best demonstrate the relevant competency behaviours and job specific criteria required and it is important to bear in mind it is your application and should therefore be all your own work. If you get an interview or progress to another form of assessment, you will be tested in depth on what you have written. You must not seek advice from anyone who will be involved in the recruitment process, particularly members of the recruitment panel. Assistance may however be provided for a disability-related reason, including the help of an advocate to complete the form in appropriate circumstances.
You are welcome to complete the application form in English or Welsh. For posts where Welsh language skills are required, please check the job description and advert carefully for any instructions about the need to answer certain questions in Welsh in order to test those skills.
The majority of Welsh Government vacancies are advertised via our e-recruitment system, which can be accessed via the Recruitment page on the internet. We have recently upgraded to a new e-recruitment system, so if you have previously applied for vacancies with the Welsh Government, you will need to create a new account.
To view all the types of opportunities the Welsh Government has to offer, visit the Recruitment page on the internet, and then select the type of vacancy you are looking for.
You are able to track the process of any applications you make via the online recruitment system, in the Candidate Application Centre section of your account.
If you have an impairment or health condition, if you are neurodivergent or use British Sign Language and need to discuss reasonable adjustments for any part of this recruitment process, or wish to discuss how we will support you if you were to be successful, please email email@example.com as soon as possible and a member of the team will contact you to discuss your requirements and any questions you may have.
Disability Confident Scheme
The Disability Confident Scheme (formerly Guaranteed Interview Scheme - GIS) provides individuals with impairments or health conditions the right to proceed to the next stage of the selection process if they meet the minimum criteria at the sift stage. To apply under the GIS, simply confirm this under the ‘Positive about Disability’ section in the application form. We guarantee to interview anyone who is disabled whose application meets the minimum criteria for the post. By ‘minimum criteria’ we mean that you must pass the online tests and provide us with evidence in your application which demonstrates that you generally meet the level of competence for the role and any qualifications, skills or experience defined as essential. We are committed to the employment and career development of disabled people.
To apply in Welsh
To access the Welsh version of a vacancy, simply click on the ‘Change Language / Newid Iaith’ toggle button at the top right hand of the page. If you would like to apply in Welsh, simply click on the ‘Gwneud cais’ button at the bottom of this page. Please note, once you start an application in Welsh, you aren’t then able to switch to an English application for that post, using the same user account. If you experience any difficulties, or have any questions regarding the process, please contact the Shared Service Centre (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Creating a new user account
Once you have selected ‘Apply’ you will be taken to the candidate log in screen. If you do not have an existing candidate account, you will need to select ‘Create New Account’ which can be found underneath the log in details. Once you have done this, enter your details and read the terms and conditions. If you agree to the terms and conditions, confirm this and select ‘Submit Registration’.
Once you have applied for a vacancy, you will be kept updated on the progress of your application via your registered e-mail address. You can also check on the progress of your application by logging in to your account and viewing the ’My Applications’ section of your account which is at the top of the page when you are logged in.
Navigating the application form
The fields marked with an asterisk ‘*’ are mandatory, therefore you must provide a response or you will not be able to submit your application. Fields without a ‘*’ are not mandatory, as they may not be relevant to all candidates. If you do have information you could include in response to a question, providing as much information as possible against each field will help to ensure that the sifting panel have a complete picture of your skills, experience and knowledge.
Select ‘Continue’ once you have completed all the questions on a page to proceed (this will save what you have completed on that page). You can also select ‘back’ at any point to return to the previous page. Alternatively, you can select a specific page you want to return to by clicking on a link to the page in the Progress Tracker on the left hand side.
A green tick by a section shows that you have responded to all the questions in that section. An orange tick shows that you have completed all the mandatory questions in that section. A cross indicates that you have left some mandatory questions unanswered; therefore the application cannot be submitted.
You don’t have to complete the whole application form in one go. Once you have completed a section, ensure you click the ‘Continue’ button to save all you have done in that section. You can then log out of your account and return to your unfinished application at any point up to the closing date for the vacancy. To return to the application form, simply log in to your account, select ‘My applications’ and click on the relevant vacancy title, which should be in your applications history.
Completing the application form
Completing the 'Experience criteria and Success Profile Behaviour (Cabinet Office) evidence' section
This is the most important part of your application. You will be asked to evidence how you meet the Success Profile behaviours and experience criteria identified as essential for the role. This is the new Government wide framework that uses a number of different “elements” (Experience, Strengths, Ability, Technical and Behaviours) to determine our recruitment selection methods. Further details can be found via this link: Success Profiles (Cabinet Office).
We strongly recommend that you read all information relating to the assessment process before starting your application. The panel will be looking for how well the evidence you have provided demonstrates that you meet the requirements for the role.
These are criteria identified by the Chief Social Research Officer as they are crucial to the Social Research Profession that these roles fall within. They will include particular skills, experience or knowledge relevant to the profession and roles. We also ask for a specific qualification relevant to the role. You will be required to provide evidence against four profession specific experience criteria (unless stated differently in the job advert). You should evidence how you meet the experience criteria listed in the advert by drawing on your past experience, knowledge and achievements to provide a summary, which demonstrate that you meet the criteria. This is an equally important part of the application form, and if you do not sufficiently evidence the experience criteria, it is unlikely that your application will pass the sift stage. The experience criteria are outlined in the Areas to Evidence section, numbers 1 to 4 of the job advert.
Success profile behaviours
The Success Profile Framework aims to assess candidates flexibly against a range of elements and using a variety of selection methods. This provides the best possible chance of finding the right person for the job, and improving diversity and inclusivity. The Framework outlines 9 behaviours which are deemed to be key for successful performance within the Civil Service. For each behaviour there is a description of what it means in practice and some examples of effective behaviours at all levels. In your application, you will be asked to provide evidence, in the form of real examples, of how you demonstrate the key behaviours identified as essential for the role for which you are applying. The required behaviours will be outlined in the vacancy advert.
For this exercise, there are 4 behaviours for which you will be asked to provide evidence (Areas to Evidence 5 to 8).The evidence is used to benchmark how you have behaved in the past, as this is likely to be a good indication of how you will perform in the future. Your evidence should be written in a way that helps panel members assess your suitability for the role. Read on for advice on how to choose and write your evidence for your application.
How do I provide my behaviour and experience evidence (personal statement)?
You will be asked in the application form to upload your evidence in a Word document or pdf. We would expect around 300 words per each individual behaviour and experience that needs to be evidenced. You should aim to provide as much evidence as you can for each individual area, so make best use of the word allowance. The max word limit is 2,400 for all areas of evidence in this document. It is recommended that you structure your evidence using each Behaviour and Experience Criteria as a header, with your evidence for that particular area outlined underneath. You should ensure that you clearly evidence all the necessary behaviours and experience
Failure to provide good evidence will result in you not getting through the sift process to interview. For further advice on evidencing your behaviours and experience, see Annex B: Providing your evidence.
Completing the 'role specific questions' section
Answer either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to these questions if shown. These questions will only appear if the role for which you are applying requires specific qualifications, skills or experience, without which you will not be able to fulfil the requirements of the role. If you aren’t able to confirm you meet the requirement(s) your application will not be progressed.
Completing the 'personal details' section
Complete the fields regarding your personal details such as your name, address etc. It is essential that you provide correct and up to date information, as the information is needed in order to progress your application.
Completing the 'minimum criteria' section
The purpose of these questions is to determine if you are eligible to apply for the vacancy, in accordance with Civil Service nationality requirements. The application form will require you to provide some personal details to enable us to process your application effectively. You will be asked as part of your eligibility, to confirm your nationality details and that you are legally allowed to work in the United Kingdom. This is a requirement for working within the Civil Service. If you do not meet the eligibility criteria as set out in the application form, your application will not be taken further. If it becomes apparent at a later stage in the process that you aren’t eligible to apply, you application may be withdrawn, or offer retracted.
Answer the questions via the drop down boxes with regards to the minimum eligibility criteria.
Completing the 'attach your CV' section
Complete this section by uploading your CV as an attachment. A CV allows you to demonstrate to the recruiting panel the required skills, experience and personal attributes you possess to do the job effectively. Whilst there is no set CV template that you must adhere to, you may wish to provide further information on your personal attributes and key achievements throughout your career history, together with any further information you may wish to provide on your education, training and professional memberships.
Please note, the CV will support your Personal Statement, but should not be provided instead of the Personal Statement. The CV should be used to add any additional information which you feel is relevant to the role.
If this has been requested in the vacancy advert, you can attach your additional document in this section in .doc, .docx, .pdf, .xls or .xlsx formats.
Completing the 'education' section
Please provide us with details of your education history. The institution refers to the school/college/university you have attended, and the subject will be what you studied there. It is essential that you provide correct and up to date information, as this may be taken into consideration at the sifting stage. If a particular qualification has been noted in the vacancy advert as essential or desirable for the post, you should ensure that you include the details of that qualification if you hold it.
You are able to add another instance of the boxes to input your information if there are too few to enter your qualifications.
Completing the 'learning and development' section
Please provide us with the details of any wider learning and development you have undertaken that may be relevant to the application. This could include any personal development you have undertaken which hasn’t led to a qualification, but is relevant to the post for which you are applying.
Completing the 'employment history' section
Complete the fields with regard to your current (or most recent) employment and then add any previous employment. To add the details of an additional employer or role, respond ‘Yes’ to the ‘Do you have previous employment?’ question. This will add another instance of the employer details section. It is essential that you provide correct and up to date information, as the information is needed in order to progress your application.
You will need to provide details of the name of your previous employers, position(s) held and reason(s) for leaving, for at least the last 3 years (unless you have not been in employment for this long; please provide as many details as you are able). If you have no employment experience, select ‘No’ to the ‘Are you currently serving as a civil servant?’ question, and then insert ‘No employment history’ in the ‘Employer Name’ box.
Completing the 'Disability Confident Scheme' section
The Disability Confident Scheme operated by the Welsh Government means that we welcome applications from people with impairments. The scheme guarantees an interview to disabled people who meet the minimum criteria for the post applied for. Select your responses with regards to the guaranteed interview scheme and provide us with the details of any requirements for assistance at interview, or any information you would like to make us aware of with regard to your requirements.
Completing the 'Welsh language' section
Select your level of Welsh language ability for the various skills areas listed, as well as your preferred language for assessment. Your level of ability will only be taken into account if Welsh is identified in the vacancy advert as being essential or desirable for the role. If Welsh is essential or desirable for the role, it may be necessary to assess your Welsh language skills at the sift or interview stage. Look out for any information regarding this in the vacancy advert, or future communication regarding the vacancy.
Completing the 'Any other information' section
Please confirm if you are in a close relationship with or are closely related to a current Welsh Government employee or a Welsh Assembly Member. Select 'yes' or 'no'. This will not prevent you from being considered for this post.
Completing the 'References' section
You will need to provide the names of two referees (one must be your current or most recent employer) that cover at least the previous three years of employment. If you have just left school or college and have no previous work experience, please make sure that at least one of your referees is one of your teachers, lecturers or your head teacher or personal tutor.
Source of application
Please provide information on how you found out about the vacancy; this is for Welsh Government monitoring purposes, to ensure we are using the most effective means of advertising our vacancies.
Completing the 'Equal opportunities monitoring' section
Complete the sections with regards to the equality data, such as gender, as required. If you prefer not to answer one or more questions, select ‘Prefer not to say’. All monitoring information is strictly confidential, for statistical purposes to ensure that policies are being applied fairly. For example, data can help us improve our recruitment processes to identify where we may be able to better support people with specific Protected Characteristics to reduce barriers or any disadvantages procedures present.
The monitoring information will only be shared with a restricted number of authorised personnel who monitor this data. Please be reassured, the information will not be seen by the selection panel.
Completing the 'Declaration' section
Please ensure you read the declaration statement. If you agree to the statements regarding Data Protection, Equal Opportunities and how your application will be processed, select the tick box to confirm your agreement.
Select ‘Submit’ ONLY if you are content that your application is complete and you do not wish to make any changes.
Stage 2: the sift process (short listing and online multiple-choice test)
Once the closing date has passed, the appointment panel will consider all applications received, and sift out those who have not provided sufficient evidence against the identified behaviours and experience criteria. If you have applied under the Guaranteed Interview Scheme, you are guaranteed an interview if you meet the minimum criteria agreed by the panel prior to the sift. The sift panel will rank applications in merit order, using an agreed, standardised scoring system. If you are unsuccessful in meeting the minimum criteria required to be invited to the next stage of the process, you will be notified by e-mail to your registered e-mail address.
Notification of the outcomes of the sift will be issued to all candidates. If you are offered an interview or other assessment format, you will be given a minimum of 5 working days’ notice of it taking place. You will receive confirmation of the arrangements for the interview, including the location, date and time. The normal 5 days’ notice is considered a minimum period and will be extended where any disability related adjustments need a longer time-scale to be put in place.
If you are unsuccessful in meeting the minimum criteria required to be invited to the next stage of the application, you will be notified by e-mail and given feedback to help you with future job applications.
GSR Knowledge Test (45 minutes)
If you are not already a member of the Government Social Research Profession you will be invited to take an online GSR Knowledge Test following confirmation that you have passed the sift. You will be required to pass this to be invited separately to the to the presentation and interview assessment.
You will receive a link to the test via email following confirmation of having passed the sift and will have one week in which to take the test.
The Knowledge Test assesses your competence and technical skills on key aspects of quantitative and qualitative methods, research design and data interpretation required to be a member of GSR. The test is comprised of multiple-choice questions.
Stage 3: the interview process
If you are successful in passing the sift stage and the online test you will also be invited to attend an interview. This will involve giving a presentation and questions based on the behaviours and experience criteria noted in the advert.
Purpose of the Interview (75 minutes)
The purpose of the interview is to:
- test your suitability for the requirements of the role
- give all candidates an opportunity to express their views and present their evidence
- score candidates based on the requirements identified for the role
- recommend which candidate should be offered the position and produce an order of merit based on scores achieved
- help you to decide if the role is right for you
At interview, the Panel will be trying to find out how you meet the behaviours and experience criteria identified for the role. You need to be prepared to give answers demonstrating how you meet them. The interview will be an opportunity for the recruitment panel to confirm, probe or further explore the evidence given in your application. The work that you have already done in completing your application will greatly assist you in preparing for the interview. You should ensure that you are familiar with the evidence provided in your application. Remember that the panel will be looking to see from the evidence in your application form and the interview, whether you are likely to be able to carry out the responsibilities of the specific post. The panel will not be allowed to ask you questions about your personal circumstances.
At present all assessments will take place online (unless a recruitment adjustment is agreed that may involve a different approach). Throughout the process, you will be assessed against 2 Technical criteria and 4 Behaviours from the Civil Service Success Profiles Framework:
- Anti-Racism and Social Model knowledge
- Eligibility for GSR
- Research Knowledge
- Managing Research
- Communicating and Influencing
- Working Together
Job specific 2 and 3 will be assessed through the presentation and one combined question in the interview.
There are two components to the assessment:
- Interview questions
Please note prompt cards can be used where a presentation is being made as part of the assessment.
At interview, the recruitment panel will usually comprise of four people: the Chair, whose responsibilities include ensuring that the process complies with open and fair competition guidance; and three other panel members
We will endeavour to ensure that your interview is conducted in your preferred language, English or Welsh (you will be asked your preference in the application form). If you select to have an interview conducted in Welsh, we will also need to test your ability in English, so part of the assessment will be conducted in English. You will be informed of the arrangements beforehand. In some cases where a full Welsh-speaking panel cannot be convened, simultaneous translation from Welsh to English may need to be provided for the benefit of any panel members who don’t speak Welsh. In such cases, you will be informed of the arrangements prior to the interview.
Behaviours based interviewing
The aim of a behaviours based interview is to find out how you have behaved and used certain skills to deal with challenges and problems in the past, on the premise that this is likely to be a predictor of how you will perform in the future. You are therefore asked to provide evidence in relation to specified behaviours and experience criteria which are defined beforehand in the job advert.
The questions at interview will be designed to allow you to provide evidence of the required behaviours and experience criteria, through the use of relevant examples. Please remember that though the panel will be looking for evidence of the behaviour/experience criteria, you will also need to ensure that you answer the question that they have asked you. It is important therefore to remember to listen to the question, and then select the most appropriate example that will enable you to both evidence the behaviour/experience criteria, and answer the question fully.
A presentation will also be used to test one of the required behaviours or experience criteria. You will be notified of the presentation topic and reminded of the expected duration of the presentation (5 minutes) in your invite to interview e-mail. The presentation will be assessed using the same scoring matrix as the interview questions, and will form part of your final score at interview.
The panel will assess your evidence against the pre-defined Welsh Government scoring matrix, which can be found in Annex B. The panel will agree beforehand the minimum qualifying criteria for the role, and ensure that these criteria are applied consistently for all candidates.
The panel will hope to see you at your best at the interview and will do all they can to give you the opportunity to show that you can meet the criteria. They will not be trying to trick you. When they see you they will already have seen the qualities you have from your application form. The panel will want to complete the picture of what you can do by learning more about you in a face-to-face situation. Interviews will generally follow the following structure:
Interviews will generally follow the following structure:
- The Chair will introduce the other panel members and explain the format of the interview (including which panel member will ask questions on each area being assessed) and will outline the timing of the interview (which will be the same for all candidates). You will be given the opportunity to ask any questions about the format of the interview. You will also be asked if there may be any extenuating circumstances which may affect your performance at interview i.e. a recent bereavement, car accident etc. This is to ensure that there is nothing which may inhibit your performance. In the event that something has occurred, you will be provided with the opportunity to reschedule your interview. However, if you do choose to go ahead with the interview, you will not be able to reschedule for another time if afterwards you feel you did not perform at your best.
- A 5 minute presentation will be the first element of the interview and you will be notified of the topic in advance. It will be limited to the specified 5 minutes with no visual aids, however the use of prompt cards are permitted.
- The interviewing panel will ensure that reasonable adjustments are taken into account for any disabled candidate who has identified specific requirements on their application form, in relation to any aspect of the interview process. It is important therefore that any specific requirements you may have are identified as soon as possible; there is a section in the application form to note these.
- Each member of the panel will then take it in turns to ask questions. It is the Chair's job to ensure these are focused on testing the behaviours and experience criteria for the post and the interview or assessment method runs to time.
- At the end of the interview, the Chair will give you the chance to ask any questions you may have about the post.
Stage 4: after the interview
The panel Chair will give you an indication at the end of the interview of when the outcome of your interview will be issued. All outcomes will be notified by e-mail. Candidates will only receive brief written feedback regarding their interview but we do hope it will be helpful if considering future applications.
What you should do if your application unsuccessful
Take time to reflect. Look at the feedback provided in your outcome e-mail and the points made. Remain positive and look at what you did achieve. You should be aware that, inevitably, you may receive different feedback from different panels for similar or even identical job applications. The overall agreed score rating will have been achieved by a consensus decision by all panel members.
Starting in your new post (for successful candidates)
Once you have been notified of your successful outcome, the Shared Service Centre will send you a new employee starter pack, which will include a conditional contract, security vetting documentation and any other documentation needed to start your employment. The starter pack will include instructions on how to ensure your employment can start as quickly as possible, including how to arrange to attend a Security Vetting Clinic, and what documentation needs to be returned to the Shared Service Centre before your starting date can be agreed. Your references will also be taken up at this point.
Grievance and complaints
Anyone who believes they have been treated unfairly, or has a grievance or complaint, about how the process was conducted should either write to:
Head of Resourcing
If you are unhappy with the outcome of the complaint raised with the Welsh Government and feel that the principles of appointment on merit through fair and open competition have not been met you have the right to pursue your grievance:
Civil Service Commission
35 Great Smith Street