London, Greater London

£30,000

Contract

Data and Democracy Project Officer

Job Description

About Open Rights Group

ORG supports the development of a healthy and fair society which allows individuals to live and flourish in the digital age. We do this by protecting and extending human rights and civil liberties which history tells us are often overlooked or eroded during periods of rapid change.

We have three main areas of work: online privacy, free speech online and government mass surveillance. We challenge threats to privacy by both the government through the surveillance of our personal communications and private companies, who use personal data to increase profits. We challenge threats to free speech through the criminalisation of online speech, online censorship and restrictive copyright laws.

ORG has 8 members of staff and offices in London, North of England and Edinburgh. We are a membership organisation with over 3,200 members.

How to Apply

To apply, please submit a CV and covering letter (no longer than 2 sides of A4), setting out how you are suited to the role, by the date and time above. Please ensure your email has the subject heading ‘Data and Democracy Project Officer’, and that all attachments are sent in PDF format.

Interviews for shortlisted candidates will be held in Central London in early February 2019.

Role Overview

The Data and Democracy Project Officer will be responsible for delivering our work on preserving democratic integrity in the digital age. This role has two main areas of focus: 1) electronic voting and 2) the use of data in political campaigns. The Data and Democracy Project Officer will work closely with ORG’s Scotland Director, the Policy Director and the Executive Director.

This role will be responsible for developing and implementing strategies to achieve increased trust in  the democratic process in the digital age.

Britain’s democracy is undergoing a stress test it has rarely experienced. The increased use of personal data in campaigning and the use of social media, combined with scandals of the collection and use of that data, and the methods used to campaign including micro-targeting and misinformation, is having a negative effect on democratic trust. Trust and integrity in the democratic process are core concerns and drivers for participation. Citizens want to know that their vote matters, that their vote will be counted as it is cast and that they aren’t being manipulated via misinformation in the canvassing of their vote.

Poor levels of engagement and participation from younger voters raises concerns about the future of democratic participation. This has often brought with it calls to introduce new methods of voting in elections such as electronic kiosk or online voting. Such new methods may have a role to play in modernising democracy but they present risk of further distrust as reports of manipulation of votes cast electronically (kiosk or online) are made public.

With digital campaigning methods becoming more prevalent, and digital spending by parties increasing, alongside the potential of online voting, the political process could conceivably take place entirely online without the same rules for spending and campaigning or scrutiny of the vote. Without clear rules that give meaningful information to the public, empower regulatory bodies to fulfil their mandates, and establish responsibilities for parties, platforms and campaign groups, trust in the democratic process risks being further damaged. The right rules and responsibilities in place could create greater trust and integrity in the process.

The Data and Democracy Project Officer will have two main areas of  focus:

  1. Electronic voting:

The Project Officer will work to engage with and update ORG’s current research on electronic voting at a crucial moment. The Project Officer will enable ORG to provide practical principles that a voting method would need to satisfy. The aim for these principles is to set them at a level that would allow citizens, volunteer electoral observers, to use them in a crowd-sourced assessment during the proposed trials. The desired outcome would be that the Welsh and Scottish Governments better understand the integrity of the voting system and the effect of public trust when these systems are used.

  1. Use of data in political campaigns

The Data and Democracy Project Officer will work to build public trust. By working with partners, politicians and experts to establish rules and principles for the use of personal data in political campaigning.

This will involve engaging policy makers to build consensus across political parties for new rules controlling the use of personal data in political campaigning.

The work would generate an evidence-base for the need for new rules to show the source of personal data used to target an individual. In addition, the work would explore whether audience targeted and method of targeting should also be included in a package of transparency rules to increase trust in the democratic process.

You will be an integral member of the ORG Team.

You are a positive person with a can do attitude, a minimum of 3 years of policy experience, a great ability to multitask, a strong communicator with a willingness to muck in on all tasks big and small, humility and a passion for ORG’s work.

Policy work:

  • Work with the Scotland Director and Executive Director to establish clear advocacy and policy objectives within the Data and Democracy area, and develop an advocacy programme which contributes to the delivery of our objectives.

  • Drafting reports, briefing papers, formal correspondence, presentations, and other documents in service of ORG’s strategic and project goals and policy work

  • Developing ORG’s relationships with allies across Government, legislative bodies, international organisations, and other NGOs

  • Arranging and attending external meetings with key stakeholders, and ensuring that any relevant information is imparted at the organisational level

  • Coordinating meeting follow up and ensuring agreed actions are captured and taken forward

  • Maintaining regular communication with private sector stakeholders relating to the project

  • Identifying potential new allies relating to  the project across the public, private and third sectors, and coordinating outreach across England, Scotland and Wales.

  • Planning domestic and foreign travel in service of ORG’s work

Events

  • Planning and hosting events with the membership of each of the parties to create internal momentum for change with an aim to engage heavily in the lead up to and during party conference season 2019 including engagement in conference fringes.

Research

  • Support the planning, development and implementation of electronic voting research with ORG staff and other stakeholders in Scotland and Wales.

  • Compile and analyse data related to this work;

  • Ensuring Open Rights Group’s policy work in the Data and Democracy Project  fits within the wider policy landscape and that the policy team remains up to date with relevant research and policy developments in this area;

Producing materials

  • Draft reports, briefing papers, formal correspondence, presentations, and other documents;

  • Produce public reports on the main political parties based on research and deliver it to each party in an effort to generate a dialogue about their operations in this area, using existing ORG members to contact their constituent MPs, MSPs, and AMs, to encourage them to take up the call for reform.

  • Coordinate team members’ input into public-facing documents, and obtain sign off for these documents from the relevant members of the team;

  • Liaise with other members of the team to identify effective ways to present and disseminate messages.

Engagement with key stakeholders

  • Develop ORG’s relationships with allies across Government, political parties, legislative bodies, international organisations, and NGOs;

  • Maintain communication with relevant private sector stakeholders across Open Rights Group work;

  • Identify potential new allies across the public, private and third sectors, and coordinate outreach to expand Open Rights Group’s networks.

  • Feed into Open Rights Group’s media engagement around data and democracy issues.

Project management:

  • Working within ORG’s monitoring and evaluation frameworks

  • Providing progress reports to the  Project Manager. Scotland Director

  • Coordinating project related campaigns with ORG’s Campaign Manager

  • Contributing to developing the strategy and documenting the operational plan for the Data and Democracy work with Project Manager.

  • Maintaining project budgets and c Contributing to reporting to funders with Project Manager

  • Maintain project budget with Project Manager and Chief Operations Officer.

  • Monitoring project effectiveness (including coordination of updates at internal meetings) and sharing findings with relevant sections of the organisation

This role will include  significant amounts of travel between London, Edinburgh and Cardiff as well as some international travel.

This is an office-based role and your presence is important during core office hours. You will also be available outside of office hours in the event of an emergency. This is a role that requires travel and work outside of core office hours from time to time.
 

Key Contacts

The Data and Democracy Project Officer will be directly managed by the Scotland Director They will work closely with colleagues across the broader team to maintain alignment of Open Rights Group’s organisational goals, and collaborate within the team to effectively disseminate Open Rights Group’s messages.

Length and Salary

The Data and Democracy Project Officer will be employed on a full-time 18 month contract. The annual salary is £30,000 per annum pro rata less any required deductions for income tax and national insurance. The position will be based in the London office. Applicants must be eligible to work in the UK. Open Rights Group is an equal opportunity employer.

Person Specification

CRITERIA

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills (essential)
  • Project management experience (essential)
  • A minimum of three years in  a policy focussed role (essential)
  • Research skills (essential)
  • Ability to work with and manage relationships partner organisations (essential)
  • A high degree of self-motivation (essential)
  • Ability speak to publicly, including with the media and at conferences and meetings (essential)
  • Excellent interpersonal and networking skills (essential)
  • Creativity and energy in approaching a workload consisting of large long-term projects (essential)
  • Meticulous time and file management abilities (essential)
  • Ability to work under pressure (essential)
  • Confident using MS Word, MS Excel, email, and the internet for research purposes (essential)
  • Familiarity with international and domestic policy matters relating digital and human rights (essential)
  • An interest in and aptitude for political and parliamentary engagement (essential)
  • Right to work in the UK (essential)
  • Experience or knowledge of political campaigning or online advertising (desirable)
  • Experience in data protection law (desirable)
  • Experience or knowledge of voting methods in elections and referenda at a technical level (desirable)
  • Ability to handle policy and / or technical information about data and software and make the implications understandable to policy makers (essential)