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Principal Advisor - Head of Home Affairs

The Behavioural Insights Team

The Behavioural Insights Team

London, UK
Posted on Friday, November 10, 2023

Are you looking for a new challenge and want to join a successful and rapidly growing organisation? Do you have a passion for exploring new ways to change people’s lives at a national scale through government policy? If so, we want to hear from you.

This role is in our Home Affairs, Social Cohesion and Education team, specifically leading the Home Affairs and Security portfolio of projects. Key questions your work may answer are:

  • What are the most effective ways for the police to tackle neighbourhood crime?
  • How can we help protect people from online scams and fraud?
  • What interventions would promote a more empowered culture in the Armed Forces? 
  • How should the government prevent violence against women and girls?
  • How can the police improve their recruitment processes?
Note that we are recruiting for another management role in this team

We are also recruiting for a Senior Advisor to join our team. Please apply for the role you feel best suits your experience. In addition to differences in the job description, please note that a Senior Advisor is typically responsible for leading a team of 1–3 junior colleagues, whereas the Principal Advisor oversees a larger team of 6-9 colleagues. We may still consider your application for both roles, should your skills and experience be suitable.


What does a Principal Advisor do?

This role is at Principal Advisor level which means you will be involved in things like:

  • Developing and delivering the Home Affairs team strategy – working with the team’s Director and other Principal Advisors to ensure alignment with the larger business goals and to support integrated delivery between policy areas. 
  • Business development to help secure a steadier, longer-term pipeline of high-value BI projects. The role will come with a significant business development target. 
  • Winning and delivering complex BI projects, and thought leadership pieces to promote a sophisticated behavioural account of the Home Affairs challenges in the UK and around the world, and the most impactful and feasible policy solutions.
  • Developing relationships and securing work that aligns with that strategy and provides a solid financial base for the team. Our current partners include the Home Office, the Metropolitan Police, the Youth Endowment Fund and the Ministry of Defence.
  • Organising your team, resourcing it effectively and motivating the team to do their best work and build a positive and collaborative culture. 
  • Line managing senior and junior team members, and investing in the skills and personal development of all members of the team. 
  • Contributing to the senior management of BIT, supporting the overall company strategy and taking on at least one corporate priority, for example managing the staff survey.
  • Being an ambassador for BIT in all of your work and interactions, including via regular interactions with senior decision-makers, for example with Ministers, Heads of Departments and CEOs, and practitioners.

If you want to answer these questions, why not apply for this role?

What makes a great Principal Advisor at BIT?

We are looking for people who understand what we do, share our values and are keen to learn and develop their expertise. We are looking for candidates with the skills listed below. We expect to provide training and development support in some of the areas.

  • Experience and/or an interest in Home Affairs. A good understanding of what drives people’s behaviour relating to policing, crime or criminal justice in the UK and/or internationally.
  • Public policy design. You can see both sides of an argument, for example, on High Speed 2 (HS2) or Universal Basic Income, and you think about what makes some policies effective and others impractical.
  • Behavioural science. You can explain the implications of theoretical concepts such as defaults, loss aversion and social norms.
  • An understanding of ‘causality’ and statistical reasoning. You know that just because sales of sunglasses and ice creams increase at the same time, one does not cause the other. You can also describe how to run a test to prove this.
  • Managing projects and clients. You can manage your own time, and where appropriate that of your colleagues, to produce high-quality work within a reasonable time frame.
  • Supporting and developing others. You can nurture talent and energise people to perform at their best. You care about the success, development and well-being of others and can have meaningful (and sometimes difficult!) conversations.
  • Scoping projects and winning work. You are able to lead business development by spotting opportunities with new and existing partners and then develop the relationships required to form positive ongoing partnerships.
  • Managing and developing yourself at work. You demonstrate high self-awareness and regularly self-reflect. You are aware of the impact that your actions and words have on those around you. You are resilient and accept responsibility for decisions whether they achieve the desired outcome or not.

Who are we and what can we offer you?

The Behavioural Insights Team is the world leader in applying behavioural science to public policy challenges in order to strengthen communities and improve lives.

We design and rigorously test new ideas across a range of areas such as health, crime and education, to establish what works and what doesn’t. We have helped Tuberculosis patients take their medicine; reduced police susceptibility to cyberattacks; and helped organisations close their gender pay gap.

We are looking for a passionate and imaginative individual who shares our thirst for evidence-based solutions to join our dynamic and growing team.

BIT really is a great place to work:

  • We encourage flexible working and have a culture that enables this; for example, flexible start and finish times and an IT set-up that allows for easy working-from-home options.
  • We have regular team lunches with inspirational guest speakers.  
  • We have lively internal communities of practice, with researchers from across the globe supporting each other on a daily basis. We also have a range of more formal development opportunities for researchers to develop their methods expertise.
  • We have a flexible benefits programme which currently includes things like gym memberships, cycle-to-work schemes, childcare vouchers and the ability to buy extra annual leave at the start of the year.
  • We offer a generous pension scheme with 7% employer contribution, as well as enhanced parental leave pay.
  • We’re a social bunch and have a variety of interest groups including Film Club, Sports Club, BIT Kids for our parents & 5-a-side team to name a few.
  • We have a great office, which has an amazing coffee machine and fridges stocked full of soft drinks!

How to apply

We use a great platform called Applied to reduce bias in the recruitment process. You will need to answer a few work-based questions which will be anonymously marked by members of our team. Our selection is based on performance in these questions. 

Candidates with the top-scoring answers will be invited to a structured interview where you get to meet some of the team. At the interview stage, you will be asked questions that reflect the role and also to complete a work-based task, so you have the chance to demonstrate your skills. We always give all applicants feedback, no matter what stage your application reaches.

Start your BIT journey here and apply now!

Key dates:

  • Role closes: Monday 27th November  at 12:00pm GMT (midday)
  • Interviews and task completion: w/c 4th December 2023
  • If necessary, second round interviews following this – please note, due to the Christmas break, this recruitment process may run in to the new year.

Please note that all dates are subject to change but we’ll do our best not to change them!

Please note:

You will need to have the right to work in the UK in order to be able to undertake this role. We will ask all applicants short-listed for an interview to provide evidence of their right to work during the recruitment process. If you do not have the right to work for BIT but are the most suitable person for the role we will explore with you whether sponsorship may be an option. However, this may not be possible for all roles.

Some of the personal data you provide to Applied when you apply for a role with The Behavioural Insights Team will be passed on to The Behavioural Insights Team for the purposes of (a) reviewing your application; (b) inviting you for an interview; and/or (c) offering you a job and getting you set up as an employee/contractor. For full details on how BIT collects and uses your personal data please view our Global Recruitment Privacy Notice 

If your application is not successful, any personal data provided to us by Applied (including any personal data relating to equal opportunities monitoring as set out above) will be retained by The Behavioural Insights Team for no longer than 6 months after the application deadline has passed (other than in exceptional circumstances where we may need to retain your personal data for longer), at which point your personal data will be securely deleted. We only keep your information for that period in order to allow us to comply with relevant legal obligations.