The UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

The ICO believes in continuous learning. We empower our staff to innovate and develop. Throughout your career, you’ll be supported through a structured development programme, tailored to your role, to help you continue to learn and develop.  

Since I started, the organisation has grown so much and there are so many exciting opportunities. Staff development is obviously a priority and that makes me feel really valued as an employee. - Jess, Team Manager.

 Induction  

When you join the ICO we will provide you with a thorough induction to help you get off to a great start. You’ll get chance to meet colleagues from across the organisation and learn more about what we do and the impact that this has on the economy and wider society.  

“The induction process at the ICO has been wonderful. At first it can seem a little overwhelming with all the meeting invites, but the friendly and welcoming attitude of the facilitators puts you at ease immediately. The information provided is insightful and extremely useful and the sessions give you the opportunity to meet many engaging, helpful and open colleagues.” – ICO new starter 

 Ongoing development

 We will also support your ongoing development through a combination of: 

  • training programmes tailored to specific roles, professions and competencies; 
  • performance and development reviews; 
  • financial support and time off to study for professional qualifications and apprenticeships; 
  • bite sized personal development courses, e-learning and recorded webinars; 
  • support with continuing professional development and professional memberships; 
  • “Know About” sessions to build your understanding of developments across the organisation; and  
  • access to the Government Campus catalogue of learning ranging from working in government to specialist skills and leadership topics. 

Coaching and mentoring

All ICO staff can access either a coach or mentor from our internal coaching and mentoring pools. There are many similarities between mentoring and coaching and they both use similar skill sets. Both highly effective learning approaches can help to improve performance and confidence through guided conversation, listening and questioning.   

Coaching 

Coaching can help you to focus on specific areas such as any aspect of performance or contribution in a role, communication, improving confidence, developing assertiveness, delegation, problem solving and managing conflicts. A Coach does not need to be a “Subject expert”, they focus on helping you to achieve  your goals by finding the answers for yourself. Coaches use a coaching framework and questions to help you set goals that are important to you, explore your situation, consider possible options and agree a way forward.  A coach will not give you advice, rather they work with you to find your own solutions. Coaching is usually short term and focused on specific goals. A typical coaching assignment at the ICO would consist of up to six sessions, each between 1-2 hours long. 

“Coaching has assisted me in pushing boundaries and given me the confidence to take on new challenges and become a more valuable member of my department.” – ICO staff member 

Mentoring  

Working with a mentor can be helpful in understanding your career options, setting goals and planning actions to help you achieve these. A mentor will act as a sounding board, provide support, challenge, advice and guidance. Mentoring differs from coaching as most people choose a mentor who has previous experience in similar role or situation, whereas with coaching the coach does not need to have experienced the same situation to add value. A mentor will work with you by asking probing questions to help you decide on the way forward in achieving your goals. 

Any colleague with expertise to share can become a mentor at the ICO. Many of our mentors find that they benefit just as much as their mentees, developing new perspectives and skills in addition to the personal satisfaction that comes from helping others.  

 Leadership development programme

 Our leadership development programme is aimed at existing leaders and supports them to enhance their impact as leaders. The programme includes: 

  • skills workshops; 
  • leadership masterclasses; 
  • coaching; 
  • mentoring; 
  • networking with peers; and  
  • leadership and management apprenticeships. 

Our Aspiring Leaders Programme is aimed at those who want to progress to a leadership position. Aspiring leaders benefit from a modular development programme, supported by an individual coach or mentor.

Since the Aspiring Leaders Programme launched in 2021, 47% of participants have been successful in securing a new position. 

Apprenticeships

We're proud of our award winning careers pathways, including our funded apprenticeships, which allow us to recruit new talent and to develop our existing staff.  

We offer a wide portfolio of programmes across business administration, cyber security, data analysis, leadership and management, project management and public sector complianceWe expect to establish new programmes across different disciplines over the next few years.  

Case study 

Read about Joel's experience completing an apprenticeship at the ICO: 

"I worked to complete a higher apprenticeship in data analysis. This apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to work with various ICO datasets to develop a portfolio of work illustrating knowledge and practical skills I had obtained in areas such as:

  • data cleansing and transformation; 
  • data visualisation; and 
  • advanced modelling techniques utilising machine learning techniques and predictive modelling.  

I also gained knowledge of the core theoretical areas underpinning the field of data science.   

Throughout my apprenticeship I had a strong support structure made up of my line managers, as well as colleagues from digital and IT services and learning and development. These colleagues were key to enabling me to balance my work with developing new skills, meeting technical requirements and ensuring that all aspects of the apprenticeship were delivered effectively.   

Since undertaking my apprenticeship I have contributed to projects in various different parts of the ICO. I have been able to utilise these opportunities and experiences to successfully work through the ICO’s career banding framework and develop my CV."