Home Office has high hopes for career break candidates

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Flexibility and the opportunity to work at the cutting-edge of technological innovation are up for grabs as the Home Office launches a 6-month programme for skilled organisers and communicators returning to work after a career break.

With responsibility for homeland security; public safety and borders; and immigration and citizenship, the Home Office is charged with keeping the country safe. The work can be fast-paced and challenging, with the reward of knowing you’re making a difference.

The Home Office Digital Data and Technology (DDaT) branch is looking for ten Delivery Managers to undertake a 6-month supported return-to-work programme.
The programme follows similar initiatives in other parts of the Home Office and wider government, part of a strategy to make Civil Service jobs accessible to a wide range of talented individuals. This is a great opportunity to utilise transferable skills.

“Experience or knowledge of the delivery of technology-based projects would be helpful but most importantly it’s about having great communication skills, good planning, organisation and budgeting,” says Sonia Douspis, the Resourcing Business partner for DDaT.

“The people we bring on board will be based in different parts of the digital unit, across the portfolios.” These include biometrics, immigration, borders technology and police and public protection. This is an exciting opportunity to work in unique areas, contributing towards keeping this country safe. “We will provide returners with unique experiences and opportunities, building their skills so they can thrive.”

Delivery Managers support teams by keeping them motivated, and ensure they have the tools and people they need to see projects through.
Returners could find themselves working with the teams designing and building solutions to help people prove their identity or apply for visas; or those working on IT systems that support policing and counter terrorism. They will be ensuring that such projects, which use cutting-edge technology, run smoothly.

The return-to-work programme positions are available on a flexible basis – whether that’s part-time, compressed hours, a job share or including an element of home working. “We are very aware that we are targeting returners and they may need some degree of flexibility,” says Sonia. Most roles will be based in Croydon or London, although there are options for other locations.
She adds that returners will be coming into a supportive and flexible environment, something she knows first-hand. “I joined the Home Office when my son was one and was very conscious of finding an employer who would be flexible enough for me to have a reasonable work/life balance,” she says.

“Little did I know the Home Office would go above and beyond my expectation in terms of flexible working. I am currently working condensed hours from 7.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and Friday morning. This pattern not only allows me to pick my son up from nursery but also to have my Friday afternoons off to spend some quality time with him (and save on the high nursery fees) and to squeeze in a gym session or two during the week.”

At the end of the 6-month programme the Home Office will run an open competition process for roles that would suit the returners. The aim of the pilot is to ensure they are prepared and motivated to join Home Office DDaT permanently. “We will appoint on merit but are confident that the returners will be armed with all the tools they need to be appointed to the permanent roles following the return-to-work programme,” says Sonia.

Hannah Davies, Talent and Development Officer in DDaT’s Enterprise Services, says she can’t imagine leaving the Civil Service, simply because of how supported she feels. “I have had two periods of maternity leave since 2009. When I returned to work, I was able to work 23 hours over four days and I continued this until 2018. This allowed my partner and me to work flexibly and to equally spend time with the family, which meant minimal childcare costs.”

Hannah has also been able to advance her career. “In March 2018 I was successful in a promotion and my new team have been equally supportive. Now that my girls are in full-time school, I have been able to increase my hours to 30 hours over five days which allows me to pick them up on all five days.”

The return-to-work programme will be advertised in February and March, with interviews in April. Successful candidates are likely to start in September once security checks have been conducted.

“It’s about finding the right people, supporting them coming back to work after time away and preparing them for permanent roles,” says Sonia.

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