Manager, Data and Digital Team

Social Finance

  • Full Time

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The Opportunity

We are looking for a data manager passionate about how data and emergent technology if applied right can improve services and lives. As a data manager, your work will be varied from leading projects/products to developing our data and digital strategy to coaching and mentoring colleagues.

Our projects/products are chosen for their potential for impact. A colleague recently said “I joined for the combination of mad ambition and serious strategy.” Recent examples of projects include:

Exclusions Data Analysis – we recently analysed local authority social care and education data (bringing together 700 datasets) and did user research with decision makers to find new ways to help reduce exclusions. We showed that girls were actually being ‘excluded’ at a higher rate than boys and that their exclusions were hidden by official definitions. Our findings featured in The Guardian. We’re now working on ways to help all local authorities replicate that analysis and have started to develop a new intervention to address the needs of the high-risk students which the analysis identified.

Edge of Care Commissioning Tool: Our team developed an analytical model to support children’s social care commissioners identify children at risk of entering care and what support to provide. The model identified children most at risk of entering care as well as eligibility for specialist services. The tool helped 15+ local authorities build the case for investing in preventative services which kept 350 children with their parents instead of being removed into local authority care.

Greater Manchester Data Platform – our team are helping Greater Manchester to work out: what use cases exist for a common data platform across a range of public services; what technical, ethical, political, and change management barriers would need to be overcome to realise those; what a roadmap to creating it might entail. Currently in discovery, and we hope to work on the build as well.

The work is extremely broad – ranging across predictive risk modelling; classic business intelligence; developing data standards; data engineering; advice on the ethics of data collaborations; and training partners’ data scientists.

This breadth is intentional. Rather than trying to develop our own leadership in a single area, we are trying to achieve social change and we take on this wide variety of challenges because these challenges are what lie between us and our goals. You will need to be excited by that breadth – and by the frequent need for teams to blend technical with policy and service delivery expertise to identify the right solution.

This will require you to work with a range of partners across central government (e.g., Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department of Education, etc), local government (e.g., Leeds City Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, etc) and sector bodies (e.g., Information Commissioners Office, Welsh Centre of Public Digital Services, London Office of Technology and Innovation, etc).

Ultimately, social impact should be your driver rather than the use of cutting-edge data science approaches as we are often constrained by the data, technology, and in-house capability of our partners. This provides you with the opportunity to think of creative ways to work around those constraints and consider that to be part of the fun.

About You

We expect that your skills and experience will make you comfortable to:

  • Deliver Impact – lead projects/products that enable our partners to more effectively use data and technology to improve decision-making and explain our approach and insights to stakeholders and partners.
  • Lead quantitative analysis, using at least one of Python, R or SQL – work with messy datasets to help solve strategic and operational problems for the public sector, charities, and impact-focussed businesses.
  • Understand product development cycles – you will be able to lead the development of data projects and products from blank piece of paper to final solutions whether that is a report, an open-source solution, or a fully hosted web-app.
  • Communicate insights to non-data and tech people – you will need to be comfortable speaking with a range of people and roles, helping them to understand data and technology and taking important decisions from re-designing services or choosing a coding language.
  • Support our partners – you will love building our partners’ capacity to undertake similar work themselves whether its pairing with their team, launching an apprenticeship programme for data science or open-sourcing solutions so that they’re easy for others to use and build on.
  • Lead a project – noting the requirement for excellent time management, balancing multi-projects at the same time, and working as part of a team.
  • Manage Ambiguity – you will need to be comfortable with changing approaches as you and the team develop a better understanding of the problem and what might solve it.
  • Refine and implement our strategy – work with the senior team to shape our strategy and roadmap for projects and products from health and social care, children services, international development and more.
  • Support colleagues – help them to structure their work and check that the outputs are production/publication ready.
  • Manage in an Agile way – manage ambiguity, know what everyone is working on, and ultimately enable the team to deliver social impact.
  • Consider ethics – think about and explore the ethical implications of data, technology, and society – thinking about how design decisions exacerbate or counter problems such as structural racism and algorithmic bias, or the tendency towards state surveillance of disadvantaged populations.The following is desirable, but not essential:
    • Leading or contributing to open-source projects – increasingly a key part of our impact strategy.
    • Navigating projects with complex legal and ethical considerations.
    • Working with the public and social sector – inc. experience with the Government Digital Service standards, government, ICO and NHS best-practise guidance on data ethics, sharing, and analysis.
    • Working in multi-disciplinary teams – working with user researchers, designers, developers, business analysts and others.

Our Commitment to You

Social Finance offers a range of training and development support, using both in-house expertise and external partners to develop and deliver our training programmes. Alongside the Project Managers you work with day to day, your Line Manager will support you in your career planning and personal development. All new staff have a buddy in place to help them learn about life at Social Finance.

The fixed salary for this position is £55,000 per annum. We offer a generous holiday allowance plus bank holidays and corporate leave between Christmas and New Year when the office is closed. We also offer a contributory stakeholder pension scheme, plus an uplift in salary to spend on other benefits, season ticket loans, bike to work schemes and Give as you Earn via salary sacrifice.

Encouraging community and wellbeing is important to us. We have a health and wellbeing plan to encourage better working practices for individuals. Social Finance is a disability confident committed employer as well as a founding signature of the UK social investment sector’s Diversity Forum manifesto.

About Social Finance

We are an ambitious not for profit group organisation aiming to achieve lasting social change that enables people to lead fulfilling lives. We collaborate with governments, funders, community organisations and the wider social sector to create breakthrough solutions to challenging social problems in the UK and internationally.

Founded in 2007, our team shares a passion for social impact and includes over 100 employees with a blend of experiences from the public, commercial and voluntary sectors. Our people bring a unique set of skills in digital, data, research, operations, policy, facilitation and financial analysis that is highly valued by our partners in social change. We are based in Vauxhall, London with sister organisations in the US, Israel, India and the Netherlands, as part of the Social Finance Global Network. We are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Our Data and Digital Team

In 2015 we started building a team focussed on bringing the power of data science and digital service design to the subset of public and social sector problems which have huge social impact, but which are not attractive to commercial players.

Since then, we’ve worked with over 40 councils on data and digital projects, as well as NHS Trusts and a range of charities, government departments, and businesses who are looking to have a greater social impact. Our unusual history means that our teams blend an understanding of policy and service delivery with hard technical skills. Our not-for-profit status and strong links with major foundations mean that we can often attract grant funding for exploratory work, for high impact but high-risk projects, and for sector-wide initiatives such as establishment of data standards or pattern libraries.

Our data and digital projects are trying to solve a range of big questions including:

What is the appropriate role for data in decision making about people who are homeless, children at risk of abuse and neglect, or prison leavers?

How can we design apps which empower and support vulnerable people themselves – avoiding the risk of simply giving more power to the professionals who work with them?

Unlike think tanks however, we’re actively designing, building and implementing the services which change what is possible and so our engagement in the debate is as practitioners making novel decisions – not as commentators.

Diversity and Inclusion

We need a diverse organisation to be effective. Our work requires us to bring together people with a broad range of skills and life experiences to ensure our impact across a range of social issues and systems. We are committed to having an inclusive culture and working environment in which everyone feels at home and is supported to achieve their potential. We know there is further to go and are implementing a Diversity and Inclusion strategy with a group of external experts to hold us to account.

We actively encourage applications from under-represented and minoritised groups, including those with lived experience of the social issues we are working to address. We are an equal opportunities employer.

We support a range of flexible working options and welcome UK based applications from outside of London/the South East so far as they can meet the in-person meeting requirements for the role. We can also accommodate secondments and part-time working.

How to Apply

Social Finance are using Applied a new application platform developed by the Behavioural Insights Team, to record your application. Applied is focused on using behavioural and data science to improve hiring decisions and minimise unconscious bias in the recruitment process. You will be asked to respond to four situational based questions which will allow you to express your ability.

Your answer to each question will be viewed in isolation. Please therefore ensure there is enough detail in that single response, without any references to your other responses.

NB: Whilst we are asking for your CV, please note that we will not be viewing your CV during the initial sift process. The selection panel will not have access to your CV, so it is therefore essential that you respond to each question fully.

To begin your application, please click here.

Should you require any reasonable adjustments to allow you to attend an interview, please highlight this when you are invited.

Closing date for applications is 1pm on Wednesday 23rd June 2021

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