Product Owner (Core Funding Products), Ref 17/124

£60,000 pa

Birmingham or London

About Us

The Big Lottery Fund (the Fund) distributes around £650 million of National Lottery Funding across the UK each year supporting health, educational, environmental, and charitable projects. We are fortunate to be able to support around 12,000 projects each year with grants ranging from as little as £500 to multi million pound programmes. We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK and we put people at the heart of everything we do.

The Fund is committed to putting people in the lead – it is our official vision and our top priority. To that end we are taking significant steps to embrace the user-centred, iterative culture of service design and digital development, putting those values and practices at the heart of how we work. As a sign of how seriously we are pursuing this vision, we are creating a new service design team.

Our mix of skills and ways of working have recently been substantially influenced by the Government Digital Service’s Service Design Manual, and by user-centred working practices seen across the world. We are big fans of working in the open, where possible, and you can see some of our current digital work on our public GitHub repository at .

About the role

The Big Lottery Fund historically had a large number of different grant-making programmes with many names, and many different application forms and internal processes to handle those programmes. We refer to these grant-making programmes as ‘funding products’. Each funding product is a mixture of grant-making policies, working practices, marketing materials, design assets and technology, all of which need to come together to allow the Fund to make grants in a way that’s great for our applicants, and compliant with our obligations as a public body.

We have taken a strategic decision to consolidate down to just three core funding products, which may then have a few variants each (think of Coca Cola as a core product, and then Diet Coke, Coke Zero & others as related variants). Each of these three core funding products can only be a success if they have a clear product owner, which is why this recruitment process is taking place.

These roles are fundamentally about enabling us to become a more responsive funder and ensuring that one or more of our core funding products therefore meets our users’ needs. In order to do this our funding products must be accessible, easy to engage with and the overall level of customer service must be excellent from end-to-end.

You will bring a variety of skills that, when combined, enable you to develop and ultimately own the vision for at least one key funding product. Each project you work with will involve you coordinating and collaborating with colleagues with skills that vary from UX research and design, through to grant-making, legal and finance. A great user experience could be ruined by a poor policy choice, and so we are looking for candidates capable of thinking clearly about the whole product, not just one aspect of it.

Key Responsibilities

  • Own the vision for either one or two of our core funding products, ensuring that the Fund’s ‘People in the Lead’ ambition is embedded in terms of development and delivery
  • Enable the Big Lottery Fund to deliver on our product strategy using a service design approach
  • Collaborate with colleagues to do the extensive service design, re-design and delivery work required to prototype, test and continuously improve our new funding products
  • Lead multi-disciplinary teams that will be the principle drivers of funding product improvements
  • Develop and deliver methods for spreading service design skills and experience more widely across the Fund, doing service design with colleagues, rather than to them
  • Analyse the strengths and weaknesses of current products, to inform future product design and delivery improvements
  • Understand user needs in the broadest sense (i.e. UK-wide and in terms of Equalities) as well as our product development goals and then support colleagues to apply this insight to everyday funding practice
  • Understand the existing supporting system of a service and design targeted improvements to that system to accommodate the new service – both digital and offline
  • Identify and design funding service patterns and standards that could scale across our Core Funding Products
  • Lead on internal development and training in order to improve our service design capability
  • Promote our service design approach and learning from this internally and externally
  • Required experience
  • You’ll need experience in:
  • Being responsible for the design or redesign of at least one customer facing product or service that has been iterated to a point of real success and customer satisfaction (Note – this does not need to have been within the grant-making sector)
  • Collaborating with designers, user researchers and technologists to successfully deliver products or services together
  • Negotiating and explaining product or service design decisions clearly and simply, and representing a service to a variety of stakeholders / audiences
  • Working within agile, iterative projects
  • Interpreting user research and relevant data to help inform decisionsSkillsYou will need to have product design skills, including:
  • A real understanding and empathy for our users
  • Knowledge of user-centred design approaches
  • An ability to analyse and interpret data in order to make better decisions
  • Developing success metrics You will need to have leadership and management skills, including:
  • An instinctive desire to frequently voice and champion the needs of the user, when in conversations with colleagues
  • Knowledge of how to use agile methods to ensure that projects iterate rapidly and in order to lower overall project risk
  • The ability to write clearly, especially when communicating with colleagues
  • The ability to confidently and competently engage with colleagues and stakeholders to generate and sustain commitment to goals, leading by example in a, positive and straightforward manner
  • The ability to manage colleagues with very diverse skills from design, to technology, to research, to copywriting, to communications, to grant-making.
  • An understanding of how to identify and address team or individual capability requirements and gaps in order to deliver objectives
  • Showing through your own work and attitude why the Fund has adopted a People in the Lead strategic framework


You will need to have relationship-building skills, including:


  • An aptitude at building successful, productive working relationships and networks inside and outside the Fund.
  • Communicating clearly with colleagues and stakeholders, in a variety of settings


Qualities and characteristics


Beyond these specific skills, we’re looking for various qualities and attitudes in our candidates. These include:


  • A desire for ongoing personal development, and a keen willingness to seek out and receive constructive feedback from colleagues
  • An ability to remain confident and calm under pressure, and able to help colleagues successfully navigate times of change
  • A strong ‘self-starter’, who actively identifies challenges and embraces them, rather than having to be told exactly what to work on
  • Familiar with systems thinking (or similar approaches), and how complex problems need to be tackled with nuanced, multi-faceted approaches




We are an equal opportunities employer. We positively welcome applications from disabled people who are under-represented in our workforce.