The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea - Multiple IT & Digital Roles


The Royal Borough is one of the smallest in the country. It’s also one of the most densely populated and diverse. Everyone working there is focused on delivering the best service for their residents, businesses and communities. Nowhere more so than in their Digital, Data & Technology Service, where the organisation has big ambitions to transform how they deliver truly life-changing services.


At the same time as designing and creating bespoke and branded advertising/PR collateral we took the time to undertake some initial market testing reviewing potential candidates, discussing with them the upcoming opportunities and gaining some early interest and engagement. This included extensive mapping of the market searching key sectors and appropriate target organisations identifying where key active and passive job seeking talent may reside.

In following this course of activity, we were able to reach a diverse and fully inclusive market, including those from outside of local government.

To support our search methodologies, and because RBKC wanted to make “noise” in the market, we worked with our creative team devising a geo-targeted media attraction plan incorporating traditional sector/vertical job boards plus a series of messages delivered via MPU banners across relevant news and job pages on the Guardian and CWJobs. Crucially, both channels used tools that attempted to identify and engage with a passive audience; an approach we supported with a two month long social media and Google paid-for advertising campaign.

Given the volume of roles – as an entirely brand-new DD&T team was being created, involving the different levels of seniority and specialisms – we agreed with RBKC that there would be four different recruitment tranches rolled out, it was important to drive traffic to a single source of information where with minimum effort, visitors could find details on the roles, the rewards and benefits on offer, as well as an introduction to the wider goals and aims of the new team.

The solution was a dedicated campaign microsite.

The IT marketplace has always been a difficult one to attract talent, and after the effects of the pandemic and the Great Resignation, that situation has not got any easier. That said, we used multiple brand messages across our advertising collateral to keep the approach fresh, all of which was A-B tested throughout so that we could concentrate more resources on those banners that had the most resonance with the target audience(s). Our social platform also used AI to learn over the duration of the campaign which platforms and online behaviours of their users were likely to result in more click throughs to the destination microsite.


As a result, the four tranches of jobs generated a response rate of more than 2,500 application clicks across the different media channels, with a significantly higher CTR than the industry benchmark. Over 78% of the positions were filled which in a difficult sector has been a great return.

Over 50% of our candidate pools came from minority groups, and 85% of the fulfilments came as a result of our searches. 

I wanted to express my thanks and appreciation for the results you and the team have delivered since engaging with Osborne Thomas to help in establishing the Sovereign Digital Data & Technology Service.  We approached you at a time when the market was at its most competitive, seeking over 30 highly sought-after roles , and insisted this was launched across prime holiday season – not an easy ask.

You and the team help to meticulously plan the campaign, challenged, and helped us revisit the approach, provided market intelligence and insights, created a superb microsite, provided support, managed the project plan and weekly status updates alongside screening, candidate engagement and a range of other services . To date I believe we have recruited and are onboarding the successful applicants for over 60 % of those roles. A fabulous result in a very tough marketplace.

Interim Chief Digital & Information Officer – Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Head of HR & OD – Barnsley - £74,165 - £81,563

Context; following a review of their HR function service provision Barnsley approached us to seek out a highly skilled and experienced HR & OD practitioner to fulfil a key role leading up to elements of key transformation across the Authority. Ideally, they wanted someone from outside of sector who would bring new knowledge and a challenging mindset.

Methodology; because of our knowledge and experience of the market i.e., strong skillsets and real talent being scarce at this level we advised a pure search solution. Through our networks and groups, and our direct searches via LinkedIn and other social media channels we were able to reach out to a newer and fresher talent base than simply just referring to our databases and relying on known contacts.

Outcome; in presenting our strong and diverse longlist of candidates, 4 candidates were taken through to shortlist, all of whom we assessed through profiling with the support of one of our Business Psychologists; our viewpoint being that their behaviours within the working environment would be the key to recruiting the best candidate. That candidate came from higher education.

Head of Data, Insight & Analytics – Lambeth - £62,335 - £76,979

Context; we were approached by Lambeth to undertake the fulfilment of their Head of Data, Insight & Analytics. A relatively new discipline within local government and one that has become increasingly important since the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew we had a tough assignment on our hands.

Methodology; Lambeth were significantly investing in and transforming their Performance and Business Improvement Directorate, so we had a great story to take to the market and promote to prospective candidates. Through identifying and engaging with, and the securing of candidates directly through our professional services database and our networks and contacts, we quickly secured a lengthy and robust longlist from which to select our shortlist.

Outcome; our long and shortlists were diverse in background, with candidates coming from other local authorities, large third sector organisations, central government bodies and organisations and the private sector. Our candidate pool was 40% BAME and 20% female, and the role was filled successfully.

Director of Resident Safety – Camden – salary up to £120,000

Context; the role came about in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy, and Camden’s own response to their significant and high-rise housing stock.

Methodology; a pure search exercise including the mapping, targeting and engagement of those suitably qualified, skilled, and experienced working across the public sector, reviewing our own databases, networks and contacts, and social media activity. Several sifting techniques were utilised including the matching of key criteria supplied within the role profile, in-depth candidate interviews, combined review of the longlist and agreement upon shortlist, assessment tools including profiling, the provision of additional technical assessment, and final interview Member panel.

Outcome; two strong candidates were taken forward to final interview Member panel with the successfully appointed candidate coming from a Partnership of Housing Associations across the South of England.

Project Manager (Growth & Regeneration) – Manchester - £54,600

Context; Manchester had been out twice to advertise for this role and failed; lack of the necessary skillsets and experience in the market were coming to the forefront resulting in them not able to put even a longlist together. Now an urgent role requirement they not only needed a speedy solution, but they also had preference for a diverse candidate pool.

Methodology; a pure search (unnecessary and further advertising would have been wasteful) we specifically targeted appropriately qualified individuals through the use of LinkedIn/other social networks and groups and our Boolean algorithm techniques whereby creating specific sets of key words we were able to filter the most relevant candidate profiles via Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social platforms including specialist minority groups such as Black History Month, ngdp-BAME, Breakthrough UK, Women into Leadership, etc.

Outcome; with a longlist of 11, were able to shortlist 4 (including 2 females and 1 from a BAME background), 3 of whom came from outside of local government. Ultimately a female was the successful candidate.

Director of Place – Rutland - £80,000 + market supplement

Context; with challenges within their Place Directorate Rutland initially approached us to fulfil their Director of Place on an interim basis, their view being that this would give them time to consider what the permanent role needed to look like.

Methodology; whilst our first port of call tends to be reviewing our interim database of 35,000+ professionals which we did we equally reached out to the market by posting messages through our LinkedIn licences and conducting Boolean searches to seek out potentially new talent.

Outcome; within a matter of days, we were able to secure a strong pool of 4 candidates which Rutland were able to interview; their preferred female candidate was offered, and she accepted. And after a period of six months, she decided to accept the role on a permanent basis.