Assessing GSR Candidates


Please find our suite of GSR Assessment courses below. We run these courses in-house, please do get in touch if you would like more information.

Assessing GSR Candidates – 2 day GSR assessor training course

This two day training course is designed for individuals with no experience in competency based assessment who want to ensure they have the necessary training to be able to sit on GSR selection (recruitment or promotion) panels. As well as providing a detailed overview of the GSR assessment process and the key evaluation criteria, the course will also cover the core skills needed to assess. This course is very practical and provides delegates with the opportunity to practice assessing using a competency based interview, an oral briefing and a presentation exercise in order to assess GSR professional expertise. It will also include an understanding (what and how) of how to assess the key competencies from the Civil Service Competency Framework and how assessment centre decisions are made (the ‘wash-up’).

Those who attend the course will have access to our new GSR oral briefing exercise which has been specially commissioned by us and can be used for recruitment and promotion. In order to provide individual feedback, the course will only be run with up to six delegates per tutor.

Assessing GSR candidates – 1 day course

This 1 day training course provides GSR assessor training for individuals who are experienced competency based interviewers but have never assessed on a GSR assessment centre (or any assessment centre); or have sat on some assessment centres but have never utilised an oral briefing exercise. As well as providing an overview of the assessment processes within GSR, the main focus will be to familiarise delegates with assessment centre methodology and principles, and importantly, to allow the practice of key tools; in particular, an oral briefing and presentation exercise. The oral briefing exercise will be a new one and has been especially commissioned and designed to be used to select GSR candidates. Those attending the course will be licenced to use this oral briefing exercise. In order to provide individual feedback, the course will be run with up to six delegates per tutor.

A to Z of GSR assessment centre design – 0.5 day course

This 0.5 day course is designed for those tasked with putting together an assessment centre or recruitment campaign to select (recruit or promote) GSR candidates for SRO and PRO positions. It will cover the principles of assessment centre design and the range of tools that can be used as well as expose to the range of associated scoring material) and the wash-up procedure. The course is practical and at the end of the day candidates will have designed their own assessment centre to meet their particular needs, including selection of appropriate general competencies from the Civil Service Competency Framework as well as Professional Expertise. Please note that this is not an assessor training course (please see above for other courses designed to equip delegates with assessing skills).

Those who attend this course will have access to our new oral briefing exercise. We will aim to bring out a new oral briefing once each year and for a small fee we will grant former delegates the licence for access to them. 

DIY GSR Oral Briefing exercise - (1 day plus a 0.5 day follow-up one month later)

This very practical 1 day plus 0.5 day course is designed to help those responsible for recruiting social researchers to develop their own oral briefing exercise. Oral briefings are a necessary part of the assessment of Senior Research Officers. Attending this course allows departments to develop their own ‘bespoke’ exercise to assess the Government Social Research Professional Expertise competency as well as some other key competencies from the General Civil Service Framework. This is an innovative course and will be facilitated by a team who have been developing oral briefing exercises for various parts of government since 2005. Given the interactive nature of this course, the number of delegates will be kept small – around 4 to 6.

This is an interactive course in which delegates will work with each other, and the facilitators will guide you through the process from brainstorming of potential scenarios to completion of the exercise ready for trialling. On day one, delegates will initially develop ideas according to proven exercise development processes and criteria. They will then ‘populate’ their ideas from a rough exercise scenario into a GSR compliant exercise assessment ‘shell’, to be completed before day two, approximately one month later. On day two, delegates will be able to verify and road test their exercise with volunteer candidates, as well as obtaining expert feedback from the facilitators experienced in exercise design. Between day one and day two each delegate will have access to one hour of telephone / email advice from one of our facilitators to on their draft exercise. Delegates will also have to option to purchase additional support from our organisational psychologists, if required.

Preparing for GSR Interviews and Assessments

Duration: 2 Days
Price: £745 + VAT


This one day training course allows those preparing for promotion within Government Social Research to better understand how, and on what, they will be assessed when going forward to promotion boards. It is designed specifically for GSR by our Organisational Psychologist, who is perfectly placed to be delivering this highly specialised course.

The course will be broad, but will focus primarily on what you need to think about when preparing for GSR assessment centres. This course will be participative and you will get the chance to carry out and practice an interview, an oral briefing or a presentation exercise (depending on grade sought). We expect this course to be extremely popular, particularly for those moving up to Principal Research Officer. At just six delegates per tutor, it provides individual detailed feedback, hints and tips.

Understanding the Workings of British Government

Duration: 2 Days
Price: £720 + VAT
Location: Central London
Date: 2022-09-15


Aim: To help participants improve their understanding of the UK government and the relationships between officials, Ministers, Parliament and the public.

Welcome and Introduction

Government Framework Exercise

  • How it all fits together

The PM, Cabinet and Ministers

  • Powers and functions

Devolved Government in Scotland, Wales & N. Ireland



  • The parliamentary process
  • How it holds government to account

The Civil Service

  • Structures and principles
  • Working for Ministers


Enhancing Workplace Resilience in the Government Analytical Service

Duration: One Day
Price: £795 + VAT
Location: Central London
  • Excellent strategies for managing stress - especially the cognitive dissidence techniques. , , Dept. for International Development
  • Great course, lots to take away. Enjoyed the personal coaching, , Dept. for Work and Pensions
  • Really good course. It should be mandatory for all managers!  , , DEFRA
Date: 2021-12-07


The purpose of this structured resilience development programme will help you to become more resilient at work and will furnish you with techniques to enhance resilience in your staff. Resilience is about your capacity to adapt positively to pressure, setbacks, challenges and change and ideally emerge stronger, or at least not weaker.  What supports resilience is a particular pattern of attitudes, behaviours and skills that can be learned, all of which act to maintain wellbeing, act as a buffer against stress and can enhance objective performance. 

Our starting point will be to increase your level of self-awareness of your own resilience strengths and to prioritise your areas of development; then to expose you to a range of different approaches to building resilience and provide some practical tools, exercises and perspectives for how you might utilise those approaches in your daily life.  We aim to be supportive, to help build your confidence and your capacity to support others, while at the same time not shying away from facing and addressing key areas of development.  Finally, we will facilitate you in your goal setting in order to better enable you to integrate and use the content of this programme for your long term practical benefit.   

Overview of the resilience development programme

This is a three stage development programme consisting of the following;

  • completion of a detailed resilience questionnaire and one to one feedback;
  • completion of three short pre-workshop exercises to further build your awareness of resilience and,
  • a face to face resilience workshop with up to eight delegates. 
  • There is also an optional one to one coaching session available at additional charge to allow each delegate to review their progress and refine resilience goals.

Process for each delegate

  • Sign up for the programme
  • Complete the resilience questionnaire online in your own time – typically takes up to 30 minutes.
  • Pre-workshop homework activities – You will also be emailed three short pre-workshop exercises (and explanatory material) and asked to complete them before you come to the workshop.   
  • Receive a soft copy of the resilience questionnaire results.  We will arrange a specific time slot convenient for you to have a one to one telephone feedback session to discuss your questionnaire results. 
  • One to one telephone feedback of your resilience questionnaire.  The session, to last up to 45 mins, ideally to take place one to two weeks before the workshop.  The aim is to help you to better understand your resilience questionnaire results, including current areas of strength and development. 
  • Workshop day with up to 8 delegates (an arrival time of 10.15, but starting at 10.30am and finishing at 4.30 pm).   In this session we will review a range of approaches to building resilience, give you the opportunity to apply them to the current challenges you have in your life and set out your own resilience goals. 
  • The workshop will focus on three broad areas of building resilience which we will aim to put into the context of the government analytical service:
    • Thinking - how you view yourself and the future (covering such things as self-belief, cognitive biases / distortions, thinking with optimism).
    • Emotions – managing emotional expression, becoming more aware of your feeling and what is important to you, harnessing them to useful effect.
    • Attitude to change and challenge - some practical tools for responding effectively to change and challenging situations. 

Essential Skills for Government Social Researchers and Research Management

Duration: 2 Days
Price: £740 + VAT
Location: Online
  • One of the most useful and informative courses EVER! If all training was like this, then they would be truly value for money. It really has helped me to understand my role as a social researcher in government and given me confidence in doing my job well.  , ,
  • Sue was amazing! Excellent presenter and facilitator. She made us feel comfortable, encouraging us to engage in group discussion and asking helpful questions for us to reflect. , ,
  • Really found it useful that the exercises build from one project specification. Really thought through. , ,
  • Such a great coverage of topics. I have gained a thoroughly useful background understanding of different areas which will help me at work.  , ,
  • The event and materials were excellent. Sue was very good too. She was very well informed and I enjoyed her anecdotes - she made it more real. , ,


This two day course is for government social researchers who have been in service approximately six to twelve months. The course will enable you to work effectively with policy and delivery colleagues, to provide appropriate research to meet their information needs and to support them in using research to inform decision making.

Designed by a former Chief Government Social Researcher, the course is designed to develop skills in utilising social research within government, with a focus on the role of research in government, research planning, conducting and managing research, ethical issues, commissioning and research management.

The course draws on a wide range of experience and includes sessions with research customers, managers and contractors, and there is plenty of time for discussion and sharing experience.

Key Components

  • What is our USP?
  • The Policy Perspective  
  • Dealing with problems in research management
  • A research manager in government
  • From research question to specification
  • Procurement: a legislative framework
  • Evaluating tenders 
  • Negotiating in difficult situations 
  • Ethics in government social research 
  • External research Q&A panel
  • Networking with colleagues



For more information, to book or to register your interest in future course dates

Contact Us