Senior Data Assurance Officer

£38,261 - £51,044 + benefits
11 Nov 2021
06 Dec 2021
Contract Type
0-25% Travel

Bristol based with regular travel and overnight stays

Pay Band 8: £38,261 - £39,838
Pay Band 9: £48,402 - £51,044

Plus generous civil service defined benefit pension

This is a dual banded role at pay band 8/9. We anticipate appointing at pay band 8, with the appointee able to progress to pay band 9 after a period of training and subject to demonstrating the necessary skills and experience to perform at that higher level. We may appoint directly to pay band 9 if these are demonstrated through the selection process.

We are the independent regulator of higher education in England. 

We aim to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers. We also care about supporting and developing our staff, working together to achieve more than each of us can do alone.   

We’re proud of our people, our culture and the benefits we offer. At the OfS we want to create a welcoming and engaging working environment which is free from discrimination. We particularly welcome applications from people with a disability or impairment, those who identify as lesbian, bisexual, gay or transgender, and those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background, as these groups are under-represented within our workforce. 

We’re looking for skilled, committed people who care about students and their experience of higher education. Join us and you’ll be part of an energetic, forward-looking organisation with high ambitions and big opportunities for our people.

Job Summary

The Senior Data Assurance Officer will, as part of the Data Assurance Team, provide assurance over higher education data through carrying out data audits and other types of reviews. The Data Assurance Team works closely with higher education providers identified as having a high risk of data error to review both their data and the processes in place to compile it. This involves critically evaluating both, while building effective working relationships with contacts at the higher education providers the team is working with. To succeed in this role you will be comfortable working with data and technical data specifications. You’ll also be a strong communicator and able to successfully communicate your findings to the providers you are working with.

Along with carrying out data audits and reviews you will also be involved in an annual exercise to verify data at the point of submission of the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and Individual Learner Record (ILR) returns. This process aims to support providers in returning data that is fit for purpose through raising queries where data appear anomalous, considering providers responses and highlighting any errors identified so that providers can correct these.

The Senior Data Assurance Officer role sits in the Data Assurance Team within the Data, Foresight and Analysis (DFA) directorate. The directorate provides data and analytical support for the Office for Students. It supports a range of data collection, analysis and research activities that underpin the regulatory functions of the OfS.

The work of the Data Assurance Team is used to advise the Compliance and Student Protection directorate about the extent to which providers are meeting conditions of registration which require providers to supply accurate information in a timely manner to the OfS and to the designated data bodies (F3 and F4).

In this role, the post holder may support other activity or projects from time to time.

Job Description

Reporting to the head of data assurance you will deliver assigned data assurance activities, including data audits and other reviews of data.

To succeed in this role you will need to be able to build an excellent understanding of the requirements of various data returns submitted by higher education providers. You will be comfortable with reviewing data in detail against these requirements, using evidence from providers to inform robust opinions about the quality of the data. You will communicate your findings both verbally and through high quality written reports.

Excellent communication skills are essential to the role and you will be able to communicate complex technical concepts clearly. You will also be confident in delivering difficult messages, while maintaining constructive relationships with the providers you are working with.


Contribute to the effective delivery of the annual data assurance plan

  • Deliver assigned data assurance activities.
  • Produce high quality, evidence-based reporting to minimise the risk of providers challenging the outcomes of assurance work.
  • Gain and maintain an excellent knowledge of areas of activity.
  • Report findings appropriately to ensure complex or particularly sensitive issues are escalated to be resolved effectively.
  • Maintain adequate documentation of processes and individual engagements.

Contribute to the identification of assurance work 

  • Identify appropriate approaches to assurance to ensure they are effective.
  • Contribute to identification of new areas of assurance work in collaboration with the Head of Data Assurance, the data assurance team and OfS colleagues, as appropriate.

Support OfS directors and colleagues in making judgements over the quality of data

  • Contribute to overall judgements about the level of assurance that can be gained over individual providers and items of data across the sector. In particular, based on your assurance work:
  • Offer information to OfS colleagues to assist with effective judgements about compliance with conditions of registration including F3 and F4.
  • Offer information to OfS colleagues about the extent to which data can support current and emerging regulatory interventions.
  • Identify opportunities for providers to manipulate data to their advantage and potential means to mitigate this.

Support the OfS and the designated data body to collect high quality data

  • Support annual HESA and ILR verification process to minimise the need for post collection data amendments.
  • Identify and report any systematic issues with data collections through data assurance work, and suggest appropriate mitigations.


  • Develop effective relationships with OfS colleagues to ensure delivery of the data assurance team plan.
  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with the designated data body to ensure efficient and effective working.
  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with providers undergoing assurance work.
  • Minimise and resolve any conflicts professionally and effectively.

About you

Essential key skills

  • Experience of working with data and the ability to gain a good understanding of HE data.
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to communicate complex technical concepts clearly and concisely.
  • The ability to exercise judgement in forming opinions about the quality of data and the effectiveness of systems and processes at providers.

The Office for Students currently uses enablers to evaluate your strengths and ask that your application describes what you’ve done and how you’ve done it. The enablers for this role are:

Knowledge and learning

  • Experience of working with MS Office software, including Excel.
  • Experience of working with data.
  • Logical thinking and the ability to understand connections between different data fields.
  • The ability to understand data definitions and be able to develop audit approaches to test compliance.


  • Ability to work with high levels of autonomy.
  • Ability to plan and manage own workload including being reactive to changing priorities
  • Identification of risk.


  • Ability to write clearly and precisely on technical matters using plain language that conform to OfS house style.
  • Ability to communicate complex technical issues verbally.

Relationship management

  • Ability to build and maintain professional relationships.

Professional Qualifications

A degree in highly numerical subject is desirable but not essential if the capability to work with complex data is demonstrated.

The role involves regular travel to the providers selected for assurance work, including overnight stays.

Working for us

The OfS regulates the higher education sector on behalf of all students. We value diversity and the wealth of perspectives, experience and ideas that it brings to our work, and we strive to embed equality of opportunity in everything we do.

We recruit based on fair and open competition and welcome applications from candidates regardless of age, disability, race and ethnicity, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation and socio-economic background. To attract the widest possible field of qualified applicants, flexible working, for example job share and part time working, apply to this role.

Closing date for applications: 6 December 2021

Interviews: Week beginning 3 January 2022

As part of the assessment process, selected candidates will be asked to take a verbal reasoning and a data related test.

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