The Home Office Digital profession: open, fair and growing

Join the Home Office in Croydon - a growing community with a real mission to increase Civil Service technology capability and excellence in delivery.

Hiya, I’m Will, Head of Role for Software Engineering in Digital Data and Technology (DDaT). I’ve been in this role for three years and have watched the awesome DDaT team evolve the Home Office flavour of the DDaT Profession.

I would like to share my thoughts about how the Home Office DDaT profession is evolving, providing an environment that is fair and open for all, and how we ensure we offer equal pay for work of equal value.

The profession isn’t just techy; it’s the key to advancing our engineering community in a way that is fair, while encouraging new talent along in the UK. I hope this post shows some of the challenges and how we use the profession to work to towards our objectives.

Using the profession to be fair

A fundamental principle of the Civil Service is that everyone should receive fair and equal treatment. In DDaT, we have to work hard to achieve this across a large community. In my profession space we have 150+ (and increasing by 10 a month) civil servants using a massive variation of technology in some very specific roles. So, spotting the patterns and commonality to set a benchmark can be a challenge. We also recognise that we need to reward technical excellence in our pay offer, using the flexibility we have in starting salary and allowances, and we make sure that this is assessed fairly in light of all these variations.

The DDaT professions I look after (Software and DevOps) provide the reference point to do this effectively, giving a common set of generic skills and levels to think about (using SFIA skills like programming and development management) whilst allowing flexibility in how they are put into practice.

We also build all the community engagement, professional development and quality expectations you would expect into the profession roles and…hey presto – we have something we can all share across the ‘sweetshop of technology’ and to use as a basis for transparency and fairness! Have a look at what one of our Principals – Sumitra – had to say about how we are respectful and fair in practice.

And increasing our community through openness

But it doesn’t stop there. We are on a mission to bring enthusiastic new talent into the team, at all levels. We know that technologists like to be part of something, and we offer a great opportunity for people to help contribute to building the engineering organisation we need. Spoiler alert: it’s going to be big, fascinating work – and dynamic!

We are using a whole load of emerging talent routes to do this: check out the Digital Development Programme, which is currently accepting applicants. These are referenced to our Associate Developer role, with specific flavours to support our different schemes and to ensure we’re fair in recruiting to them. Also look out for Future Apprenticeship cohorts.

We have also been really open in the way we wanted to build out; we could have advertised internally or across government for many roles, but we chose to make all our job opportunities public. This means that we are continually showing the roles we have available as well as testing internal, government and external applicants in the same way – meaning a promotion is assessed alongside a new joiner to the Civil Service. We’ve used this open and fair approach to recruit more than 100 engineers in the last year!

We won’t stop evolving

It’s fair to say most of this structure, talent, recruitment and attraction work has been developed or had a major revision in the last three years, which shows that we have come a long way in a short time. But it’s not there yet, and we are continuing to add schemes to support new engineering talent, formalise how we support our staff to get into senior leadership roles (if you would like, you don’t have to!) and improve representation against all characteristics through targeted attraction. And we also have to fully capture our style of DevOps and SRE, so not much!

If you want to join a growing community with a real mission to increase Civil Service technology capability and excellence in delivery, then please see our current roles on offer. We mentioned pay, and the profession can achieve £80k+ for experienced principal roles (technical or leadership) with great benefits like employer pension contributions of at least 26.6% – so don’t give up before having a chat with us. Remuneration also isn’t everything: you’ll have the chance to join a profession that’s delivering technology for the public good in an innovative, impactful and fair way for users and engineers alike.

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