Programme Planner

Job Description

Are you a high energy, proactive individual with the skills and experience to help deliver a multimillion-pound project with a large number of internal and external stakeholders?

Never has there been a more exciting time to join the Office for National Statistics. Its “Better Statistics, Better Decisions” strategy is driving a transformational change throughout the organisation and the Office has already taken huge strides forward to becoming a modern, technically focused, data driven organisation. As part of that, ONS will deliver the first digital Census in 2021 and be a leading producer of online surveys across government and beyond.

Delivery of the Census and Data Collection Transformation is vital to the success of ‘Better Statistics, Better Decisions’ and to realise £5bn of benefits through the impact on social policy and the economy that improved statistics, data and analysis will make.

Our mission is to deliver a successful 2021 Census, researching how to make it the last of its kind and transforming the work of ONS in how we collect, process and analyse data. Population and Public Policy (PPP) statistics are vital for shaping policy and decision-making. They underpin national and local decisions on migration, provision of education, housing and healthcare; fair distribution of funding to local areas; allow accurate national and local information on the diversity of the population and let public bodies know whether they are meeting their Equalities duties and take action where necessary. It ensures that our population estimates are as accurate as possible. Trust, Value and Quality will drive the successful transformation for Census, Data Collection, Public Policy Analysis and ONS.

Job description
This role sits within the delivery team of Census and Data Collection Transformation Programme (CDCTP). You will provide specialist hands-on planning support to the Programme Management Office, Programme and Project Managers, playing an active role in planning management to promote the programme and project management methods and standards in line with ONS standards.

The role of the Programme Planner is to work with stakeholders to ensure all aspects of the programme are defined. The planner provides clarity on key milestones to define what, when and how activities will be organised to ensure the outcomes of the programme can be achieved, with the resources available. They lead on all aspects of programme planning, which will include the development, updating and monitoring of plans and schedules, milestones, inter-dependencies and outputs. They work with the project and programme teams to track and monitor progress against the plans throughout the life of the programme.

Typical Role Responsibilities:
• Communicate high level plans to key stakeholders, using creative visualisation approaches to meet audience requirements
• Work with stakeholders to, identify and develop level 1 and level 0 programme milestones
• Develop and obtain agreement on acceptance criteria and dependencies against programme milestones with milestone owners and enablers
• Challenge plans to ensure they are realistic and achievable
• Lead on planning activity to ensure alignment to programme benefits
• Support capability building and the use of best practice in planning and reporting. Provide expert advice for team members and project community
• Stakeholder Management – Ensure that stakeholder responsibilities and needs are understood and addressed in reporting arrangements. Develop peer networks across the department
• Monitor and analyse information, provide insightful reporting of progress
• Provide expert advice on planning processes throughout the lifecycle of the programme

Person specification

Essential Skills
It is essential that you:
• Can take charge of situations and decisions with the ability to communicate confidently and give direction.
• have a track record of prioritising and delivering quality outputs, striving for excellence, in a fast-paced and time-sensitive environment.
• are able to establish sound processes and operate within professional standards promoting best practice and consistent approaches.
• have excellent interpersonal, communication and relationship management skills with a proven record of establishing, building and maintaining strong, collaborative and productive relationships across functional and organisational boundaries.

Essential Experience
• have an understanding and application of a range of frameworks, methodologies, tools and techniques to track progress against delivery and communicate progress to team and stakeholders (including creative visualisation of plans)
• have led and influenced stakeholders on all aspects of project/programme planning, including the development, updating and monitoring of plans and schedules, milestones, interdependencies, outputs.
• Knowledge and experience of using planning software, particularly MS Project

Experience is more important to us than specific qualifications.
We would expect to see evidence of Continuing Professional Development within the Project Delivery profession, but formal qualifications are desirable not essential.

  • Desirable qualifications include any of the following;
    • PRINCE2 Practitioner
    • Agile Project Management Practitioner
    • APM Project Management Qualification
    • APM Practitioner Qualification

We’ll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Leadership
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Working Together
  • Technical skills

We’ll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Planning
  • Frameworks and Methodologies
  • Benefits

As well as a competitive salary, you’ll enjoy:
• Generous holiday allowance – 25 days annual leave, rising to 30 days after 5 years’ service in addition to public holidays;
• Good work-life balance – working options include flexible working arrangements Monday to Friday between 7am and 7pm;
• Strong ethos of equality and diversity;
• Up to 3 days paid leave per year for voluntary opportunities;
• Maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks full pay followed by 13 weeks of statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid, and statutory paternity leave of 2 weeks plus an additional week of departmental paternity leave all at full pay;
• Highly competitive contributory Civil Service Pension;
• Career development and progression – Career pathway options such as apprenticeships and recognised qualifications for a variety of professions are available;
• Free onsite car parking in Newport and Fareham;
• Cycle to work scheme

Things you need to know
Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

Selection process details
This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.
Assessment at application stage will be based on your CV and personal statement. Your CV should be tailored to demonstrate any skills, knowledge and experience that are relevant to the content of the role.

Your personal statement should be no longer than 1250 words. You should use this space to provide evidence for each essential criteria within the person specification. As the criteria are scored, we would recommend that you give clear examples for each including the impact of your actions. Success Profiles Behaviour examples are not required at this stage.

In cases where there is a high number of applications the sift pass mark may be adjusted and candidates will be invited to interview in merit order, i.e. those scoring the highest.

Should you be invited to interview, you will be assessed using various assessment techniques aligned to the new Civil Service Success Profiles, where you’ll be assessed against all the behaviours outlined in the advert and will include assessment will be based on the following competencies from the Civil Service Government Project Delivery Framework:
• Planning – Practitioner
• Frameworks and Methodologies – Working

A presentation will be required at interview. Further information will be provided to successful candidates prior to interview.

In certain circumstances, interviews may be conducted by Video Conference.

A reserve list may be held for a period up to 12 months from which further appointments may be made.

Sift: 1 October 2019
Interviews: 10 October 2019

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements
Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.

Working for the Civil Service
The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information
Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants
Job contact :
Name : Nicky Ford – Programme Management Office Communication, Risk and Planning Lead
Email :
Recruitment team :
Email :

Further information
If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact Paul Cudmore, Office for National Statistics, Government Buildings, Cardiff Road, Newport NP10 8XG. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission at

Terms and Conditions