User Services Senior Officer

Posted to IASSIST on: 2013-12-13

Employer: U.K. Data Archive (at University of Essex)

Employer URL:


The person appointed will play a key role in the development and delivery of the Data and User Services function of the ADS providing support for stakeholders of the Administrative Data Research Network on queries relating to data acquisition, linking, access, processing, and reporting. S/he will be involved in assisting users in locating, accessing and using appropriate administrative and linked datasets, ensuring access conditions are met, and providing advice on dataset content and analysis. S/he will be involved in providing guidance to data owners in government to increase their confidence in providing access to potentially sensitive data resources for research purposes. S/he will be involved in development of value-added materials for administrative data resources, giving presentations on data services in a variety of venues, and improving ADRN access services generally. S/he would be involved in developing and administering strict government guidelines on accessing potentially disclosive data in a secure environment; contributing to the development of standards for user training, project and safe setting accreditation, and statistical disclosure control outputs. The ADS is the coordinating arm of the ADRN, a highly innovative new national infrastructure for the secure linking and analysis of administrative data.

Duties and key objectives:

  • Advising users as to dataset content and usability, and helping users identify potential problems and solutions regarding the use of data for their particular research interest. This will involve delving into not only the documentation, but the data themselves and learning about their structure and content.

  • Providing frontline service for user enquiries, using documentation and data to answer complicated and detailed queries and where appropriate liaising with data producers and ADRC staff to ensure data access proposals are of appropriate quality.

  • Ensuring that sometimes complicated dataset access conditions specified by data depositors are enforced and administeredproperly.

  • Provide support and advice to US Manager and US team in all areas, providing guidance and support to junior staff answering basic service and data queries.

  • Providing a service to data access committee secretariats, and data owners, providing usage and application information and support.

  • Manage and participate in projects as appropriate; occasional representation of ADS User Services at management and other meetings.

  • Assist section managers in the recruitment process, e.g. chairing and participating in interview panels, as appropriate.

  • Assist managers in ensuring that section staff has basic security awareness, understand the need for accurate records management and adhere to ADS, UKDS and UKDA procedures.

  • Undertake a minimum of one information exchange activity (e.g. conference or training [presentation; blog or other publication) annually.

  • Providing presentations on the service at a variety of venues, including user workshops, organisational seminars, international conferences etc.

  • Strategic contributions to the service development, policies and procedures, supporting service managers and directors.

  • Working with other Service and Network staff to develop value-added products involving Network datasets. This may include products such as web-based help services, specific to certain data series; products to assist in the use of data in teaching etc.

  • Develop and maintain user guidance on a variety of topics in conjunction with other ADRN staff, including statistical disclosure control (SDC) and researcher accreditation training.

  • Provide a friendly, informed and efficient first point of contact for ADRN users.

  • Provide support to users and data owners by answering queries on potentially complex questions relating to data access and use, covering procedural, ethical and legislative issues.

  • Assess areas where user development, support and training materials may be appropriate, feeding these back to senior staff and contributing to the development of materials.

  • Work closely with other members of ADS, UKDS and the ADRN to deliver a seamless, efficient service.

  • Contribute to report writing, website content and other written service communication.

  • Work closely with the 4 national Administrative Data Research Centres in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and the UK Data Service to coordinate services.

  • Contribute to information exchange within the section and between other sections and service partners.

  • Manage peer-to-peer research support network among Service users, including development of online tools such as syntax libraries, wikis and forums.

  • Work with Trusted Third Parties for data linkage services and to document their procedures.

  • Undertaking other arising dataset-related tasks within the Data Access team as required.

  • Any other duties required by the Director or his/her nominee.

  • Postgraduate degree or equivalent experience in a relevant data using discipline

  • Experience handling large data sources

  • Experience in data management practices

  • Experience of providing a user service

  • Knowledge of researchers’ data needs and working habits

  • Experience supporting data users

  • Knowledge of data owners’ needs and challenges

  • Familiarity with civil service practice and procedures in relation to data

  • Experience handling sensitive data

  • Knowledge of technical and procedural requirements for data security

  • Knowledge of legislative environment surrounding access to personal data

  • Knowledge of UK ( and international) data access infrastructures

  • Experience of data linking

  • Experience of managing data access projects

  • Experience in developing social networking tools

  • Existing personal network among stakeholders

  • Stata programming skills

  • Programming skills in other statistical packages such as SPSS, SAS, R etc.

  • Strong numeracy skills

  • Experience of applying quantitative research methods using survey or administrative (transactional) data

  • Familiarity with administrative and transaction data

  • Excellent communication skills both written and spoken, for conveying information to a wide range of stakeholders with differing levels of expertise and understanding, including members of the public.

  • Excellent negotiation skills

  • Excellent problem solving abilities

  • Ability to use initiative to address complex issues

  • Ability to address complex, sensitive issues in a tactful and effective manner.

  • Ability to work collaboratively

  • Flexibility and the ability to adapt quickly to change

  • Can meet the requirements of UK ‘right to work’ legislation.

  • Can fulfil the staff vetting procedure for Government contracts (see general information for more details)

Archived on: 2014-01-31