Senior Service Designer

Fixed Term Appointment (Existing Civil Servants may apply on loan)
24 months
Full time (37 hours per week), Job share, Flexible working, Part time, Condensed hours
Grade 7 / Band A
Up to £58,000 (National)-based on capability- The base salary of this grade is £49,700(National). Offers made above this will be made up with a specialist pay allowance. For more info visit our things you need to know page

30 September 2021

Who we are

At the Government Digital Service (GDS), our mission is to build a simple, joined-up and personalised experience of government for everyone. Using our unique position at the centre of government, we develop services that work for the user, however complex the underlying systems may be. We believe that ensuring things work for end users is the only way to realise the efficiencies that come with digital transformation.

Our focus is on delivering five missions in the following areas:

  1. GOV.UK as the single and trusted online destination for government information and services

  2. Joined-up services that solve whole problems and span multiple departments

  3. A simple digital identity solution that works for everyone

  4. Common tools and expert services

  5. Joined-up data across departments

You can read more about these missions and our vision for the transformation of government in our 2021-2024 strategy

What you'll do

As a Senior Service Designer, your job will be to work with skilled multidisciplinary teams to design, prototype and build excellent public services. You’ll create multi-channel, cross-government services that are user-centred, equitable, sustainable and accessible. 

You’ll help identify and fix some of the toughest problems in public infrastructure and you will be focussing on design of services at scale. You’ll help the government transform the way it delivers services, so that they’re more efficient, simpler, faster and easier to use.

If you’d like to work with us to simplify services and want to be part of a fantastic service design in government community, where we share ideas and challenges with 1000s of designers across the public sector. This is a chance to work on services that matter, at a huge scale, with people who value design. 

To learn more about what Senior Service Designers do in government, please review the DDaT Capability Framework.

As a Senior Service Designer you’ll:

  • design in a user-centred way, understand user needs and advocate for people

  • work towards justice, equity and inclusion in the teams you work with and the services you help deliver

  • work towards environmental sustainability of government and its services

  • lead the design of services in one or more teams, and support the wider organisational objectives and strategic priorities

  • work with other specialists to design and create organisational, policy and financial structures that support service delivery of good services

  • use reflective and critical thinking; challenging assumptions and asking questions; to support government to do better and deliver better services

  • use evidence from research and data to inform design and management decisions, and use evidence to engage with senior stakeholders

  • analyse failure within services and identify root causes for that failure; find opportunities for reducing complexity and reducing cost 

  • design collaboratively and in the open, engaging stakeholders in the design process in a variety of ways, including workshops, design sprints and other co-design methods

  • visualise and map services, sketch and prototype ideas

  • guide, support and mentor other designers and colleagues

  • educate colleagues in user-centred design and service design when necessary

  • contribute to, help maintain and grow the government design community in Cabinet Office and across government; share patterns and approaches with others

  • evaluate and review the design of other government services, represent government design at external conferences

Who you are

We’re interested in people who:

  • experience of advocating for people and user needs in all aspects of design work; experience of user-centered design and service design  

  • an understanding of how to design inclusive, equitable, accessible and sustainable public services

  • experience in designing services for multiple user groups with a range of stakeholders

  • experience of engaging with stakeholders and colleagues from other disciplines in a variety of ways, as well as the ability to work autonomously away from their team

  • experience of negotiating design decisions with senior stakeholders

  • experience of making effective decisions using user research and data, in order to improve a service, reduce complexity and generate new ideas

  • experience of supporting other designers 

  • experience of explaining design ideas and concepts in a way that other people understand, including visualising, sketching and prototyping 

  • experience of reflecting critically and asking difficult questions; thinking holistically about the big picture while working out details and being able to appreciate and articulate the broader implications of a thing 

If you are brought forward to interview, you will be required to complete a task.


How to apply

You’ll need to send us a CV and cover letter. Your application will not be considered if you do not provide a cover letter. Your CV should show us your work history and previous experience. It should be well structured, succinct and written in clear language. Your cover letter should give examples of how your skills and experience match those needed for this role.

Additional Information

Please ensure that you also include a link to your portfolio. If you need help with how to write your portfolio please read our blog on this: 

This is a ongoing recruitment campaign, so please ensure to apply as soon as possible!

GDS is based in Bristol, London and Manchester, and this role is part of our focussed growth in Manchester during 2021/22. You will be part of a growing community in Manchester, working with colleagues across all three sites. GDS supports flexible working, including a balance between office and home-based working. Normally this will mean 2 days a week in the office, or more if that works better for you and the role.

How you'll be assessed

In the Civil Service, we use our Success Profiles. For each role we advertise we consider what you will need to demonstrate to be successful. This gives us the best possible chance of finding the right person for the job, drives up performance and improves diversity and inclusivity. We will be looking at your experience, career history and achievements that are relevant to the specific job role. We may assess your ability, strength, experience, technical/specialist skills and behaviours.

For this role the following behaviours are the most relevant:

delivering at pace
communicating and influencing
working together
making effective decisions
seeing the big picture

Things you need to know

You can find out about the application process and practical details like our office locations on the things you need to know page.

Equal Opportunities 

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity in our organisation. You can find out more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion and read our equal opportunities statement on our Diversity and Inclusion page.

This opportunity is closed to applications.