Principal – Online Safety Supervision – Search Engines

  • Individual Contributor
  • People Management
  • Various, UK

Website ofcom Ofcom

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About the Team

This role sits within Ofcom’s Supervision Team, which forms part of the wider Online Safety Group. The Supervision Team will provide close, structured engagement with certain services in scope of the Online Safety regime, alongside an approach to promote compliance across the many thousands of services that need to operate within these new roles. The team will lead and deliver our supervision strategy and strategic aims in collaboration and coordination with other specialist teams in Ofcom.

Purpose of the Role

We are looking to recruit an individual to lead Ofcom’s engagement with search engines. This role will be focussed on understanding, assessing and improving the user safety processes adopted by search engines.

Key Responsibilities

  • Manage a team which supervises the highest impact and highest risk search engines: leading, coaching, motivating and developing colleagues and building individual and team capabilities
  • Set the strategy and workplan for supervision of the Search portfolio, coordinating and prioritising the work by balancing Ofcom’s strategic aims with proportionate requests of the services in scope
  • Lead the analysis and assessment of in-scope services’ business models, strategies, trust and safety processes and cultures to assess the risk vof harm to users and identify opportunities for improvement
  • Get to the heart of complex issues, demonstrating command of detail and an understanding of the bigger picture
  •  Develop productive relationships with senior management in supervised services, setting clear expectations and influencing and persuading services to take steps to deliver better outcomes for users
  • Work closely with the Enforcement team, understanding their processes and the considerations for when compliance issues need to be escalated
  • Oversee and quality control the delivery of high-quality documents or correspondence
  • Work as part of the Supervision Management Team to provide team-wide leadership, including by growing the team and attracting talent to the organisation
  • Contribute to the ongoing development of the team and Ofcom as an excellent place to work

As the Online Safety regime is focused on assessing tech companies’ systems and processes, rather than adjudicating on individual pieces of content, we do not anticipate that colleagues working in the Supervision team will be routinely exposed to harmful or distressing online content. At the same time, due to the nature of the harms covered by the Online Safety regime, some exposure to distressing content or themes may be unavoidable from time to time. We will offer support to colleagues to manage any such exposure, but candidates should be aware of this aspect of the role, alongside the need to ensure that the right support is in place for their team.

Skills, Knowledge and Experience

We are looking for candidates with experience of working for or with search platforms, managing others and setting direction, along with excellent judgement and stakeholder management experience.


  • Good grasp of the Online Safety landscape and new technology development that may lead to new harms or risks for vulnerable users or credible regulatory or supervision experience, familiar with the aims and application of systems and process regulation
  • Experience of working with or for search platforms’ trust and safety or integrity functions, including in content policy, operations and process, investigations, and/or incident management, and product function
  • Strong understanding of how search engines work to keep their users safe from harmful content
  • Basic understanding of generative AI models, the safety issues they present, and ways of mitigating them
  • Experience of coaching or managing others, setting direction, and collaborating with others
  • Experience of leading projects and collaborating with other teams
  • Ability to weigh up complex arguments and make proportionate, evidence-based decisions
  • Ability to develop clear action plans for moving forward with the outcomes of the regime in mind
  • Excellent stakeholder management skills, with proven ability to influence and persuade. Must be comfortable with handling challenging conversations
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills with the ability to explain complex arguments in a straightforward manner to a variety of audiences.


  • An understanding of online content standards and internet policy in the UK and beyond, including commercial dynamics, business models and technologies that are transforming industries, in particular, in relation to search services broadly
  • Experience of applying new rules, guidance, or policy in regulated sectors
  • Experience of assessing companies’ systems, processes, governance, and compliance with key regulatory requirements

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