Head of Operations

Save the Children UK

Contract Type: Permanent Contract

Full / Part Time: Full time (flexible working options available)

Salary Range: 46,750 – 55,000 pa

The job of a Save the Children’s UK Head of Operations is varied and strategic

  • Do you have significant senior management experience in business administration and operational leadership with a proven track record of delivering significant organisational change and transformation?
  • Are you effective in coordinating, building effective teams and establishing strong working relationships with the ability to implement best practice people management processes across an organisation?
  • Do you have strong financial management experience with a proven ability to deliver clear strategic financial reporting and a good knowledge of contract and award management processes?
  • Are you motivated by our vision of creating a world where every child doesn’t just survive, but thrives, and can go on to change the world?

If the answers to these questions are yes, we would love to hear from you!

About Us

The number of children requiring humanitarian assistance is rising as the climate crisis, entrenched conflict, and fragility, forced migration and infectious diseases all lead to an increase in the frequency, duration, and severity of catastrophic events. With needs continuing to grow and rapidly outpacing available resources, humanitarians around the world are once more forced to do more with less. Recognising the changing humanitarian risk landscape, the need to stay relevant, and to step up for greater impact, Save the Children has adopted a bold vision for the future of its humanitarian work and as part of this, there is an important role for SCUK to play in identifying and supporting next-generation collaborative initiatives that will ultimately deliver impact for disaster-affected children and their families.

The Humanitarian Leadership Academy (HLA) as part of SCUK’s humanitarian department provides high-quality humanitarian capacity strengthening for the movement, as well as the wider sector, as part of our shifting the power agenda. The HLA’s mission, as a team within the humanitarian department, is to enable people around the world to prepare for and respond to crises in their own countries, by providing quality learning opportunities. The HLA’s approach spans from focused needs-based learning in countries hit by crises to the huge international reach of our learning platform, Kaya. They are a global team that has a full suite of in-house skills to provide and develop the offer; technical and learning experts, platform specialists, a digital and design studio, communications support and more. The HLA enables SCUK to offer the most effective and impactful humanitarian capacity strengthening resource for both the Save the Children movement, the wider humanitarian sector and beyond.

Job purpose:

The HLA aims to substantially grow its business through the development of a profitable business model around its sector-leading Kaya learning platform complemented by substantial growth in restricted, unrestricted and social investment income streams. To achieve this, it needs to make a step change in the efficiency and effectiveness of its operational systems and processes.

The purpose of the Head of Operations role is to deliver operational excellence, high performance and commercial clarity across all of the HLA’s functions. You will play a pivotal part in developing the HLA as a high functioning commercial and charitable organisation as it substantially scales in the coming years.

Key accountabilities:

As line manager overseeing operations

  • Oversee the alignment of the HLA’s Core Strategy, Plans, Budgets, and KPIs to ensure the organization retains a sharp focus on effective delivery of the Academy’s mission and is well-positioned, strategically, to pursue internal and external interests
  • Lead on strategic change initiatives for the HLA’s operating model and operations
  • Lead on effective arrangements for internal and external reporting, tracking monthly progress against financial modelling, plans, budgets, and key HLA performance indicators and consolidation of input into Board papers as required
  • Implement processes and procedures to support and coordinate relationships with the new partnerships including ensuring that arrangements are in place to adhere to the HLA’s principles and maximise the successful pursuit of resource mobilisation opportunities across the network.
  • Analyse productivity data to optimise staffing and delivery capacity and designing new processes to improve quality or increase productivity or profitability
  • Accountable for the successful delivery and financial and contract management of the HLA, its donor programmes and commercial operations including governance, legal and award management.
  • Overall responsibility for the planning, optimal deployment, effective management and, as appropriate, the development of the HLA’s financial and human resources
  • Responsible for the implementation of a High Performing Team Strategy designed to mobilise, invest in, enable, and empower the HLA’s staff around the world, to ensure that the HLA is effectively coordinated and collaborative
  • Overall responsibility for the Governance of the Trading subsidiary including the preparation, arrangement and submission of key board papers and governance documents
  • Overall responsibility for global risk management to identify and address issues that pose a risk to the HLA, its brand and reputation.
  • Accountable for ensuring that the team conducts its business in a way that complies with SCUK policies and procedures, legal and regulatory obligations, and that risks and associated mitigations are properly managed with balance and judgement
  • Lead on all assurance activities, including internal and external audit, as required.
  • Accountable for relevant strategic projects that are a priority for the HLA, leveraging resource from across the entire unit to deliver on HLA’s goals and priorities that are imperative to the HLA’s success.
  • Responsible for team budget management

As a member of the HLA’s Management Team

  • Represent the HLA in public forums and contribute through wider thought leadership on strategic areas of this body of work, to include but not limited to advocating for the professionalisation of learning in the sector.
  • Lead and manage a team of people, ensuring the development of an inclusive and supportive environment, strong and effective ways of working, continue to embed a team culture and develop strong ways of working across the new team and ensure clear and accountable governance mechanisms are in place.
  • Develop and build strong relationships with stakeholders, including decision makers’ influencers and partners, within the Save the Children movement and internal and external to the wider humanitarian sector.
  • As a member of the Management Team within the HLA, ensure that there is a sense of collective responsibility to draw upon the resources and expertise across all teams to drive forward sustainable, yet ambitious growth across the unit and that supports the localisation agenda.

Person Profile

The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of transforming the day-to-day operations of a growing organisation. You will have exceptional business administration skills and the ability to manage complex change and implement high quality processes and procedures.

You will also have excellent communication & negotiation skills; strong IT literacy to lead across functions and enable a team to work effectively together. We’re looking for a self-starter who can work independently to tight deadlines and can manage complex and highly confidential information.

Experience and Skills

  • Significant senior management experience in business administration and operational leadership
  • Strong financial management experience with a proven ability to deliver clear strategic financial reporting and direction.
  • A proven track record of delivering significant organisational change and transformation
  • Excellent risk management and mitigation skills with knowledge of compliance requirements in the charitable and/or commercial sectors.
  • A track record of introducing and managing effective organisational performance monitoring, management, and corrective action


  • Strong knowledge and ability to implement best practice people management processes across an organisation.
  • Ability to build and work as part of a high performing team and strong cross-team and matrix management approaches
  • Strong representational and communication skills, able to articulate a vision, strategy, or idea clearly and concisely


  • Good knowledge of contract and award management processes
  • Highly effective in coordinating, building effective teams and establishing strong working relationships.

Ways of Working:

Remote First – The majority of our roles can be performed remotely, however you may work from the office as often as you wish. Whilst you will be predominantly working from home, we may at times require you to come to your contracted office (up to 2-4 days per month or 6-8 days per quarter). Note: This will be agreed with your Line Manager and team. This is intended to be time spent on collaborating with colleagues and relationship building.

On-site – There are certain roles that cannot be performed remotely and so your role will be based in an office location and you may occasionally be able to work from home.

Flexible Working – We are happy to discuss flexible working options at interview**.**

Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion:

Save the Children UK believes in a world that is fair, inclusive and equitable where all children have the opportunity to change their world. We apply this to our workforce and we are committed to developing and supporting a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organisation where all employees have a sense of belonging and feel that they can be “Free to Be Me”. We are mot looking for just one type of person – we want to recruit people who can add fresh perspectives, innovative ideas or challenge that disrupts the risk of group think.

We are especially interested in people whose childhood experiences – of life on a low income, of migration, of being in a racialised community, of the care system, of being LGBT+ or in an LGBT+ family or living with (or with someone with) a disability – help us to see things we might otherwise miss. Whatever your story is we want to hear it because we know that different voices, ideas, perspectives and knowledge, working together will enable us to better the lives of children around the world. This is the reason why we are all here.

To see our full statement please visit this link: https://jobs.savethechildren.org.uk/our-policies/diversity/

How to apply



Closing date: 10/14/2022