Head of Evidence – Maternity Cover

Job description

  • Accountable to: Director
  • Salary: £48-60k pa (or Grade 6/7)  
  • Duration: 7 months (September 2019 – March 2020)
  • Location: London preferred but open to a variety of working arrangements

To Apply

Send a CV and covering letter to jobs@whatworkswellbeing.org by Sunday 23rd June.

To find out more about the role please contact deborah.hardoon@whatworkswellbeing.org


The What Works Centre for Wellbeing is an independent collaborative organisation set up in 2015 to understand what governments, business, communities and individuals can do to improve wellbeing.

Our vision is of a future where the wellbeing of people and communities improves year on year and wellbeing inequalities are reduced.

Our mission is to develop and share robust, accessible and useful evidence that governments, businesses, communities and people can use to improve wellbeing across the UK.

Our approach is independent, evidence based, collaborative, practical, open and iterative.


As a What Works Centre, evidence is at the heart of the centre’s work. The Head of Evidence plays a central role in leading and developing the centre’s evidence portfolio and working with the centre’s implementation and communications teams, ensuring that the research from the centre is robust, useful and accessible.

The Head of Evidence leads the evidence team, through line management of the Evaluation Lead and Wellbeing Analyst, taking responsibility for maintaining relationships with the centre’s existing academic teams, academic funders and quality assurance panel, as well as developing and strengthening new relationships in the field of wellbeing research.

Over the period of this maternity cover, the Head of Evidence will be responsible for managing existing programmes and relationships, as well as ongoing implementation and communications activities.  In addition, the successful applicant will help to establish several new evidence projects that are scheduled to commence during this period, for which the What Works Centre for Wellbeing will be a major partner working with Universities who will be leading the projects. These projects will run for the following 2 years, where they will form the core of the centre’s evidence portfolio.

Main responsibilities

  1. Centre’s academic evidence programme delivery and development
  • Overseeing the collation and presentation of the Centre’s existing evidence outputs
  • Ensure the successful completion of the current evidence programme, to End October 2019, ensuring all deliverables from the four different academic teams are of high quality.
  • Lead the centre’s contribution to several new evidence programmes to commence between 1st October and early 2020. This will involve representing the centre’s perspective and experience to shape the research projects and through facilitating the relationship between researchers and the centre’s policy and practice audience, to ensure that the research is designed with impact in mind.This will include:
    • The centre’s methods and measures programme, which will address technical and cross cutting issues of wellbeing measurement which will move the science of wellbeing research and practice forwards.
    • Six thematic projects which interrogate existing data on wellbeing to address policy relevant questions
  1. Centre methodology and evidence strategy
  • Continued development of the centre’s research standards and methods guides. These ensure that the research from the centre is credible and robust, and ensures the appropriate interpretation of different evidence types.
  • Shape the Centre’s evidence strategy, with the Director and Programmes lead, to support the goals of the Centre in growing the evidence base for wellbeing policies and projects from innovation, evaluations, trials and data analysis.
  1. Bringing Research into policy and practice
  • Lead the centre’s engagement with academic and analyst communities, researchers, research funders,  government analysts including ONS and UKRI.
  • Run the All Party Parliamentary Group Secretariat for Wellbeing Economics and oversee secretariate to the government Social Impact Taskforce and relationship with government analytical professions
  1. As a senior member of the Centre, play an active role in shaping the organisation and its future including
  • Management of a small team and budget; Line Management of Evaluation Lead and Wellbeing Analyst
  • Work with the Business Development Lead and Implementation to team to explore other opportunities for the centre’s evidence to have impact

Essential Criteria

  1. Analytical Skills – Strong intellectual capability with strong analytical skills and the ability to develop insights and provide evidence based findings  including:
  • Bachelor’s degree in social science, economics, statistics or relevant field, or equivalent experience.
  • At least 7 years direct professional experience in a relevant field of research or analysis, with increasing responsibility, including experience of line management and programme management.
  • Proven experience in a range of research methods and approaches, with a particular interest in wellbeing and social policy.
  1. Communication and Stakeholder engagement
  • Ability to clearly communicate succinctly and engage an audience through clear writing and presentations. This includes developing key messages for multiple audiences and stakeholders, standing ground when needed, using appropriate styles, methods and timing including digital channels.
  • Experience of the approaches required to translate academic evidence into tangible public-policy outcomes and practical change.
  • Excellent communication skills, to engage constructively with a variety of stakeholders, particularly funders, government partners and academics on complex content issues as well as practical delivery questions.
  1. Collaboration, and Programme Management
  • Demonstrated experience of supporting a complex programme to time and budget and managing multiple projects simultaneously
  • Excellent management and organizational skills, accuracy and attention to detail;
  • Able to work collaboratively and establish relationships with a wide range of stakeholders and partners to deliver outcomes;
  1. People Management and Leadership
  • Line management experience
  • Experience of leading a team and being a senior member of an organisation working as a team to achieve shared organisational objectives
  • Legally authorised to work in the United Kingdom without company sponsorship now or in the future.

Desirable criteria

  • Masters degree or PhD in relevant subject
  • Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Experience
  • Knowledge of the academic, and practical application of wellbeing research and data; Publications and/or practitioner experience in wellbeing
  • A thorough appreciation of the public service, political and business context relevant to wellbeing; Experience working with UK government and/or charity sectors

The Appointment

We will consider flexible working arrangements and the post can either be London based or involve remote working as part of a virtual team. The postholder must be willing to travel to London regularly at least once a week.

Secondments and flexible work arrangements are encouraged.  Applicants are asked to indicate their preferred pattern of working.