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Civil Service

New ‘GRID’ data tool to build a more inclusive Civil Service

GRID recruitment platform
Putting recruitment on the map: the new GRID can capture data to improve Civil Service representation

This month, Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case and Chief Operating Officer, Alex Chisholm launched A Modern Civil Service. In our series to celebrate the vision, Government Business Services showcases a data analyser to improve recruitment and find the cream of candidates.

The Civil Service is one of the UK’s biggest employers, and in 2020, the organisation hired 67,000 new recruits. 

Now to help put digital data at the heart of decision-making, the Government Recruitment Service has unleashed its latest recruitment platform, the Government Recruitment Information Database - aka GRID. 

Its purpose? GRID will capture valuable non-personalised data from the Civil Service recruitment cycle. For example, it will help track; numbers of applicants from ethnic minorities, female staff, disabled, LGBT+ people or older workers to give us better representation from all backgrounds, different voices and from regions across the UK.  

Flag up trends

In a nutshell, GRID will shape data to flag up trends, and perhaps more significantly, any gaps in recruitment. help to create a fairer recruitment process, improve social mobility and make the Government Recruitment Service become more accountable. Crucially, it has won the support of Senior Civil Servants.

Home Office Permanent Secretary Matthew Rycroft
Permanent Secretary Matthew Rycroft

At Civil Service Live 2021 Matthew Rycroft (Home Office Permanent Secretary and Civil Service Race, Faith & Belief Champion) praised GRID during the Race, Representation, Recruitment and Retention’ session.

Matthew said: “GRID is such a powerful tool because we have data from Civil Service recruitment, and the power of that data then gives you the platform that you need to make the changes that the government reform proposals are crying out for.”

Ultimately GRID allows the Civil Service to deliver on its people priorities. 

Jack Richardson, Deputy Director of the Government Recruitment Service (GRS)

In 2020 I co-published a blog, Presenting the 'Golden Thread'!, with Peter Cunningham and Brian Stanislas. This blog introduced our vision of the future, highlighting the ‘Golden Thread’, a new GRS initiative to develop a recruitment evaluation and analysis service.

Since then we have forged strong links with Cabinet Office Diversity & Inclusion Strategy teams, completed the GRID Alpha project, and supported by wider Government Business Services (GBS), have begun to launch our GRID services to transform the Civil Service recruitment landscape.

After three years of preparatory work, we’re proud to share the details of our new GRID platform along with our wider vision.

Peter Cunningham - GRID Service Owner, Government Business Services

Since October  2020, we’ve worked hard in collaboration with both the government digital profession and analysis function, to turn our ideas into reality. They include;

  • Introducing a recruitment attraction dashboard to monitor the performance of advertising;
  • Working with occupational psychology experts, developing a process to maximise diversity when using online assessments;
  • Partnering with the Home Office to pioneer better use of ‘near miss’ candidates placed onto a waiting list after an interview;
  • Delivering analysis in support of fair recruitment for veterans and civil service apprentices;

The initiatives were powered by our ‘Golden Thread’ approach, and we have now completed the Alpha build of our new recruitment analysis platform, GRID.

Inspired by transformation strategies such as the Civil Service Modernisation & Reform Agenda; we’re now working as part of the GBS Shared Service Strategy so that central Civil Service data can be used to proactively inform users in making better recruitment decisions. 

Predicting problem areas

To achieve this, we’re working with wider Civil Service, including behavioural insight specialists, to develop self-service dashboards. Where historic dashboards would show simple reporting, our new platform will utilise analysis modelling techniques to predict problem areas and present recommendations. 

For example, you might advertise a job in Glasgow for a digital professional, however, after a week, the campaign has drawn few job applicants. GRID would detect poor performance and would issue a notification to the hiring manager making them aware that action is needed. GRID would also look for comparable historic recruitment to suggest corrective actions which could be taken.

As our dashboards notify users when action is required, they’re free to focus on other priority areas. This avoids information overload for colleagues and ensures that action is focused on resolving known recruitment challenges.

Brian Stanislas MBE and Peter Cunningham
Brian Stanislas MBE and Peter Cunningham

Brian Stanislas - Product Manager, Government Business Services

Over the summer, the second generation GRID platform will undergo its final development and begin as a Beta service later in the year.

We are collaborating with the Cabinet Office Digital colleagues to build the platform, with internal design decisions steered by the Civil Service instead of buying an off the shelf product. As a result, we have delivered our digital system at a saving to the taxpayer with no compromise to our service offer.

The new platform will introduce advanced digital data sharing. This can be used to integrate with partner suppliers to add new capability to our platform. For example, we integrate with providers of online assessments enabling access to data to better monitor their impact. 

We will also share data with wider government systems. We already send job advert data to the Civil Service Careers Website Job Opportunities Location Map to provide a better service for job seekers.

As part of our ongoing development strategy, we are working with wider Civil Service partners to trial different recruitment approaches. Areas of active exploration include:

  • Workforce Strategy Planning - using our data to inform how our recruitment should be design based on past experience
  • Performance Benchmarking - Establishing a framework to measure recruitment success and identify what processes can be used as best practice
  • Better services for the citizen - Supporting alignment of feedback from social media and surveys responses to internal data so that we can build better services for the citizen

A Modern Civil Service

A Modern Civil Service is skilled, innovative and ambitious. Working with our partners, we are proud to pioneer innovative recruitment approaches, on a par with leading private sector companies. Our mission? To seize the full potential of data and technology’ and make a truly Innovative Civil Service.

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  1. Comment by Arron posted on

    Sounds like a great project but I'm not sure its the smartest acronym, especially as this platform exists as a way to promote, in part, LGBT+ equality. I'm sure there are much smarter brains out there but even the Joint Recruitment Database (JRD) would avoid any potentially painful connotations.

  2. Comment by Ms Sarah Palmer-Pearce posted on

    It would be great if on the tool or CS Job site you could search by words i.e. International, when looking for areas of business you are interested in working in.

  3. Comment by Brian Stanislas MBE posted on

    Ayse thank you for your very kind words …

    However, it is really Peter Cunningham who is the true data analytic powerhouse leader of the GRID …

    My role is more to complement the work Peter excels at by bringing a strategic and stakeholder management cross Civil Service awareness into the mix. This is in addition to a passion to find innovative solutions to problems (a trait common to both Peter and myself).

    All of this ultimately results in the ‘diversity of thought’ which is the ‘Golden Thread’ of GRID.

  4. Comment by Ayse Hagiwara posted on

    Congratulations on getting this live Brian, I know you've worked so hard to get this done and it makes such a big difference to applicants. Well done.