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The Royal Statistical Society is a membership society dedicated to advancing the science and application of statistics, and promoting its use and awareness for public benefit. The RSS works on a wide range of policy agendas including:

  • Official statistics;
  • Evidence-based policy;
  • Education (to promote statistical / quantitative skills);
  • Higher education (maintaining and strengthening statistical departments, research and skills);
  • Open data;
  • Big data.

The Society has a longstanding history of contributing to policy developments and has recently become more proactive in this area. This post leads on the development of our proactive policy programme, as well as RSS’s research work - liaising with the Executive Director, the Director of Policy & Public Affairs, the Press & Public Affairs Manager, the Head of Education & Statistical Literacy and key volunteers in the Society.

The main focus of the work will be on policy developments relating to national and official statistics, academic affairs and education policy, but other policy issues will also be covered.

The Society has more than 9,000 members worldwide and we seek to ensure that the RSS’s policy work is as widely applicable as possible. We have also sought increasingly to address policy developments within the devolved nations of the UK.

Recent examples from our policy and research portfolio include:

More information about our key policy and research activities can be found here.

Job Description

Job purpose: To support the Society’s development of public policy positions - in particular, in relation to official statistics, evidence-based policymaking, statistics across the science and research base, and the promotion of statistical literacy through public policy. To lead on in-house research projects and oversee externally commissioned research. To liaise with the Press & Public Affairs Manager and the Web News Editor to ensure that relevant policy and research developments can be communicated both externally and to RSS’s members.

Policy development

  • In conjunction with key volunteers / committees / other staff, proactively develop the Society’s policy positions on agendas of key interest to RSS and its members;
  • To develop these policy positions through making best use of a variety of sources including volunteers, members, committees, self-directed research and external inputs;
  • To maintain a watching brief on upcoming policy developments and keep relevant volunteers and staff informed about developments;
  • To work closely with the Executive Director, Director of Policy & Public Affairs and the Press & Public Affairs Manager, as well as the Head of Education & Statistical Literacy, to devise policy influencing strategies;
  • To respond on behalf of the Society to opportunities created by developments such as government consultations and inquiries by Parliamentary committees (in Westminster, Edinburgh and elsewhere), as well as opportunities which arise in the media, etc.;
  • To write up the Society’s policy positions in whatever is the most suitable format - e.g. policy briefings; research notes, etc.;
  • To develop and maintain an electronic library of policy resources;
  • To brief the President, Executive Director and others from time to time when they may need background briefings on policy developments.

Research and writing

  • To conduct in-house research for the Society on areas of interest;
  • To manage external contractors, volunteers, student interns and any others conducting research for the Society;
  • From time to time, to engage in research consultancy where the Society has been commissioned by an external body to provide research services;
  • To provide background research for the President or Executive Director to support their speaking engagements or their writing of newspaper, magazine or other articles;
  • To work with the Executive Director and relevant others to develop a research programme for the Society.

External representation

  • Engage with stakeholders in government, the private sector, the voluntary sector, academia, the media and elsewhere to support and inform the Society’s policy and research agendas;
  • Support the Executive Director and the Society’s Vice-President for Academic Affairs on their engagement with other mathematical societies through the Council for Mathematical Sciences;
  • Liaise with the Director of Policy & Public Affairs and the Press & Public Affairs Manager and, on occasion, represent the Society at meetings of All Party Parliamentary Group on Statistics, for which the RSS provides a secretariat-style service;
  • Where appropriate, represent the Society at external events, in the media, through writing articles / blogs / etc;
  • From time to time, organise events such as policy roundtables to inform or showcase the Society’s perspectives and to position it as a thought leadership organisation;
  • Develop working partnerships with a wide range of other bodies. 

Support to Society committees

  • Provide support and secretariat-type services to relevant Society committees, including the National Statistics Advisory Group and the Academic Affairs Advisory Group;
  • Encourage volunteers to provide timely input and expertise and then co-ordinate their contributions.


  • Co-ordinate the RSS’s policy and public affairs work programme - convening regular internal group meetings between the Executive Director, the Director of Policy & Public Affairs, the Head of Education & Statistical Literacy and the Press & Public Affairs Manager;
  • Inputting into and developing funding bids for new pieces of research and policy-related work;
  • Delivering all work to a high standard of delivery - on time and on budget;
  • Management of project budgets;
  • Line management or supervisory functions for staff, interns or external contractors as may arise from time to time.

Person specification


  • Educated to at least degree level, with a strong academic background;
  • Established research skills, including quantitative research;
  • Ability to quickly grasp policy detail and understand policy formation in new areas;
  • Experience in the field of policy development and influence;
  • Excellent written communication skills;
  • Excellent oral communication skills;
  • A good understanding of the political and policy landscape and how to influence in order to create change;
  • Ability to work with committees, volunteers, and people with a wide range of perspectives, and to foster consensus around policy positions;
  • High degree of competence in using office IT.


  • A background in statistics or mathematical sciences;
  • Understanding of social research methods;
  • Experience in one or more of the following policy areas: official statistics; evidence-based policymaking; education; higher education policy.

Terms and conditions

  • Hours: 35 per week, full time;
  • Managed by: Director of Policy and Public Affairs;
  • Term: fixed term contract to cover the permanent post-holder’s one-year secondment elsewhere, from February 2018 to February 2019 (tbc);
  • Pension: RSS staff are opted-in to a defined contribution scheme after three months in post. Your contributions of up to 8% of salary will be double-matched by the Society (making a maximum contribution by the Society of 16%);
  • Holidays: 25 days per annum plus bank holidays, and an additional close down between the Christmas and New Year period;
  • Other benefits: Season ticket loan. Childcare vouchers are also currently provided, but please note that they will no longer be available to people not already receiving them due to the Government’s forthcoming introduction of a new Tax-Free Childcare scheme (more information here);
  • Location: The Society is based in Errol Street, EC1, near Old Street, the Barbican Centre and Liverpool Street station.

Closing date

Applications for this post closed 5:00pm on Monday 29th January 2018