Department for Transport
The Department’s vision is for a transport system that is an engine for economic growth, but one that is also greener and safer and improves quality of life in our communities. The Department provides leadership across the transport sector to achieve its objectives, working with regional, local and private sector partners to deliver many of the services.
The Department’s most ambitious project is the delivery of a new high speed rail network that could transform the way Britain works as profoundly as the coming of the original railways. The Department also wants our roads to become safer, less congested and less polluted, supporting the introduction of the latest technologies, encouraging the use of electric and other ultra-low emission vehicles, to make transport cleaner and greener.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is working to deliver the following priorities:
• Coalition’s commitments on high speed rail. Carry out the preparation needed to start work on a high speed rail line early in the next Parliament connecting London with Heathrow, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, as the first step towards a national high speed rail network for the whole of Britain.
• Secure our railways for the future. Secure the sustainability of the railway and create capacity for improvement of services, by addressing the high cost of the UK railway compared with other railways and comparable industries; continue to invest in Crossrail and Tube upgrades in the capital.
• Encourage sustainable local travel. Encourage sustainable local travel and economic growth by making public transport (including light rail) and cycling and walking more attractive and effective, promoting lower carbon transport and tackling local road congestion.
• Tackle carbon and congestion on our roads. Deliver the biggest upgrade of our road network and promote the more effective use of strategic roads by addressing the causes of congestion. Support the early market for ultra-low emission vehicles.
• Promote sustainable aviation. Create a sustainable framework for aviation in the UK, improve passenger experience at airports and maintain high standards of safety and security for passengers and freight.
The role of analysts in DfT
As a Department focused on evidence based policy, economics and other analysis play a pivotal role in decision making. Policy options and choices are underpinned by careful synthesis of available facts and forward-looking analysis, and spending and policy decisions are based on a thorough assessment of their costs and benefits – both quantitative and qualitative – alongside other key considerations.
In the coming years the Department faces many challenges that will require rigorous and creative use of analysis to help shape and make strategic choices. For example, we will need to continue to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to contribute to the UK’s economic welfare and productivity. And we may need to consider new approaches to raising and allocating funding for transport initiatives.
The DfT analyst community – economists, statisticians, social researchers, operational researchers, transport modellers and scientists and engineers – works closely across organisational boundaries to maintain and enhance capability, share insights and best practices, and co-ordinate research and analysis. There are informal and formal mechanisms for networking internally and externally. DfT as a whole, and the analytical professions within DfT, are committed to continuous development and high leadership standards.
The Department employs around 70 economists who work on a wide range of fascinating and challenging policy areas. We positively encourage diversity to build on the best possible talent; are very committed to exhibiting and helping people develop their leadership skills and behaviours; and we foster a friendly, co-operative, team-working culture.
The Department’s economists are very well integrated into the policy making process with most economists located in teams embedded in their policy Directorates. This structure allows analysis and evidence to play a crucial role in developing evidence based policy right from the start, as well as providing our analysts with the important policy context.
The Department is part of a pool of 4 Departments whereby Assistant Economists in the DfT and Departments for Communities and Local Government, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Energy and Climate Change are given the opportunity to:
• regularly move between these departments to gain wider experience; and
• regularly meet to share information and exchange ideas.
The development of our fast stream economists is given high priority as they are offered formal training courses; on the job training and coaching, opportunities to shadow other teams and offices, as well as taking secondments to other Departments or elsewhere.
In addition, a series of seminars is organised each year, taking place every 4-5 weeks, covering a broad range of topics of analytical and broader interest. This allows topical issues to be debated and new ideas to be generated in a friendly and participative arena.
Significant encouragement and support is provided to economists in DfT for maintaining and enhancing their professional and core skills, in line with the Continuous Professional Development requirements of the Government Economics Service and the Professional Skills in Government agenda.
The starting salary for Assistant Economists is £27,000 with potential for a salary supplement for a relevant MSc.
Further details about the Department and its work can be found at www.dft.gov.uk. For more information about being a DfT economist, please contact Melanie Harris (tel.: 020 7944 5306 email: Melanie.Harris@dft.gsi.gov.uk)
Back to What we doupdated 11 November 2013