Chief Economist

Job Reference QJUB
Closing Date Tuesday 09 Nov 2021


Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 4UA : London, WC1B 3HF

About the job


Ofwat (the Water Services Regulation Authority) is the economic regulator of the water and wastewater sector in England and Wales. Our role is to help it build trust and confidence with customers, the environment and wider society. Ofwat has an ambitious new strategy and as a regulator we are setting ourselves up to achieve and equal the ambition of this new strategy. It matters to us that things on the ground really change so that our impact on customers, the environment and the future of water is tangible and meaningful.

There are so many reasons why Ofwat is a great place to work! We have amazing offices, with an excellent agile working environment, a great team and are driven by our SAILOR values. We actively encourage autonomy, collaboration and innovation and there’s a real adult culture fostered by trust, flexibility and respect. As a learning organisation we actively embrace new ways of working and provide the freedom to our people to work smarter achieving a work life balance.

We strive to ensure our people feel connected and valued, where your voice matters. You will be provided with the space and support to shape your future while taking greater control of your own growth and development.

Our work is high-profile and fast-moving, within a dynamic and agile environment. The work that you’ll be involved in every day will be about helping us to deliver our strategy, helping to us to be the regulator we want to be and helping the sector to deliver outcomes that matter to customers and society. Our strategy sets out the role Ofwat will play. We will adapt, be confident, act with purpose and integrity and continuously improve so that we make the greatest contribution possible to improving life through water.

Job description

The Chief Economist plays an important role across Ofwat. Reporting to the Chief Executive you will ensure that high quality economic analysis is produced across Ofwat and be the head of profession for Ofwat’s economists.

The role is cross-cutting in nature and requires ability to collaborate across clusters and keep on top of a varied brief. The role requires you to have the ability to work with a broad range of professions and seeing the bigger picture.

The Chief Economist will play an important role in delivering our strategic goals and in development and deliver of the next price review, PR24, and support the teams focused on developing markets such as the Business Retail Market and Direct Procurement for Customers. The Chief Economist also leads mergers under the special water merger regime with the Competition and Markets Authority and the evaluation of Ofwat’s impact including, where necessary, impact assessments.

It is also expected that the chief economist may lead significant workstreams within other clusters to deliver major policy and regulatory work.
As the Chief Economist in a leading-edge economic regulator, you will develop your network and will participate in conferences, roundtables and discussions beyond Ofwat. Forums such as UK Regulatory Network (UKRN), the network of Chief Economists of competition and regulatory authorities or Government Economic Service (GES).

You will be an excellent ambassador for Ofwat in these forums, explaining our approach but also willing to listen, engage and take on board challenge and learning. You will be respected and sought out by others for the quality of your contribution to debates on regulation, competition and relevant aspects of public policy.

You are expected to be an experienced practitioner with deep knowledge of regulatory and competition economics. You don’t need to be an econometrician, but you are expected to be comfortable to oversee econometric analysis.

You will lead the economic profession and ensure that Ofwat economists get appropriate training and develop. You need to be committed to continuing with own development and learning to ensure that Ofwat remains at the cutting edge of economic regulation.

You will have the ability to inspire, engage and empower people, so that every individual makes the best contribution they can, learning as they go.

You will have an inclusive and open approach, that sees you proactively consulting others, seeking challenge, and keeping people updated on developments. You will also have sound judgement and be unafraid to take decisions when necessary. You will be confident, but self-aware and able to ask for help when you need it. You will be energetic, self-motivated and resilient.

You will be expected to carry out any other duties within the remit of the role, as directed by your People Leader



• To provide strong intellectual leadership and strategic input on economics and evaluation across Ofwat.
• To be responsible for working as an effective member of the Ofwat wider leadership team and for the development of Ofwat’s vision and
direction; demonstrating effective leadership and actively participating in cross working and multi-functional teams.
• To lead and manage projects and people, ensuring that all areas deliver services which are joined up and work together efficiently.


• To promote a positive image of Ofwat externally when in discussions with partner organisations, stakeholders and outside bodies.
• To influence effectively across Ofwat to promote high quality economics and maximise impact of economics within Ofwat at all levels of the
• To contribute to staff development. This includes coaching and professional development; ensuring that we apply the most up to date
thinking; and taking responsibility for the personal development of specified individuals.
• To continue to learn and develop your own skills.
• To act as an ambassador for Ofwat’s key values – the “SAILOR” values – of support, ambition, integrity, learning, ownership and respect.


• To develop, manage and maintain effective relationships with stakeholders, specifically peers in other Government departments, other
regulators in the water sector and organisations at local, regional and national level.
• To challenge and influence decisions and outcomes in accordance with Ofwat strategic priorities.

Essential Qualifications
• Educated to a degree or post-graduate level in an economics or equivalent professional experience

Essential Experience
• Experience in developing and applying economic and incentive regulation in regulatory or private sector setting
• Experience of applying competition economics in a regulatory or private sector setting
• Experience of managing several projects at the same time against tight deadlines
• Experience working alongside other professions
• Experience in developing and performance managing junior colleagues
• Ability to think strategically and understand strategic issues; to ensure deliverables meet strategic objectives and recommendations, taking
action to make changes that make a positive difference.
• Strong communication skills
• Ability to communicate complex concepts to a wide variety of stakeholders
• Experience of Stakeholder management including government and industry.

Essential Knowledge
• Understanding of economic and incentive-based regulation.
• Understanding of competition economics and policy
• Understanding the relevance and the impact of best practice in policy development and being able to apply this.


We’ll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Changing and Improving
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Leadership
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Working Together
  • Developing Self and Others
  • Delivering at Pace


Annual leave

On appointment the post holder will be entitled to 25 days annual leave plus 10½ days’ public and privilege holidays a year. Annual leave entitlement will be increased by one day for each year of continuous employment with Ofwat, up to a maximum leave allowance of 30 days.

Ofwat benefits

We also offer a range of additional benefits. These include:

– fantastic civil service pension
– access to our package of benefits via our ‘Edenred’ scheme. This is a voluntary benefits scheme where staff have access to exclusive discounts on a range of goods and services such as retail outlets, theatre tickets, holidays, insurance and gym membership;
– cycle-to-work scheme;
– season ticket loan for travel between home and office;
– flexible working arrangements;
– fees paid for membership of relevant professional bodies;
– regular professional development.
– health and wellbeing initiatives; and
– free eye tests and contribution towards lenses/spectacles for VDU users, if appropriate
– learning and development tailored to your role
– an environment with flexible working options
– a culture encouraging inclusion and diversity

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours and Experience.

Applications should be made on the civil service jobs website prior to the closing deadline.

If you are unable to make an electronic application, you may submit your application on paper. Please contact us to find out how at recruitment@ofwat.gov.uk

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals

Further information on nationality requirements

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

To apply

Please visit: https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?jcode=1747873



We strive to ensure our people feel connected and valued, where your voice matters.