Senior Planning and Forecasting Manager

Durham, United Kingdom
£41,526 to £49,553
31 Mar 2021
End of advertisement period
23 Apr 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

Strategic Planning Office

Grade 8: - £41,526 to £49,553
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 23-Apr-2021, 6:59:00 AM 

Job Family: Business Process and People Service

OUR CHARACTERISTICS: We are a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, in a unique and historic setting.    

OUR VALUES: We are inspiring, challenging, innovative, responsible and enabling.

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Business, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives. 

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

It is expected that all staff within the University:

  • Contribute to our learning culture by engaging in mentoring, training and coaching.
  • Positively contribute to fostering a collegial environment; as well as demonstrating commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Have due regard to Health and Safety requirements appropriate to grade and role.

Family key attributes

Roles in this family provide a comprehensive service and deliver the efficient administration and governance of the University.

Overall family purpose

  • Deliver direct and indirect services to stakeholders.
  • Provide advice and answer queries as part of an enquiry-desk/help-desk function.
  • Respond to and manage requests for information and resources.
  • Deliver services to meet regulatory requirements and procedures. 
  • Plan and deliver a joined-up approach to University business and people services.
  • Align business processes and services to meet operational and strategic policy objectives.  
  • Deliver business processes to ensure effective management, governance and the economic viability of the University. 
  • Encourage, collaborate and participate in the development of productive cross-institution relationships and working.
  • Provide excellent professional services that meet strategic and operational goals and business needs.
  • Carry out monitoring, analysis, development and planning to design new services and service updates for continuous improvement whilst meeting changes in regulations.
  • Engage with specialist professionals, consultants, and suppliers to exchange knowledge and facilitate partnership working.
  • Work collaboratively and network across the University with staff in other families to ensure a smooth, timely and high-quality delivery of service.
  • Align and deliver programmes and activities to meet operational and strategic objectives to enhance the stakeholder experience.
  • Engage and encourage participation with external professionals, schools, alumni and donors.

Link to key strategic plan

  • An economically sustainable approach to delivering Professional Services across the University;
  • A joined-up approach to University professional services, regardless of location or line management;
  • A culture and practice of continuous improvement; 
  • Design services that meet business need;
  • A stakeholder-focused orientation, offering satisfying careers to all staff;
  • Support and facilitate programmes that offer intellectual challenge, cohesiveness and a strong sense of progression;
  • Ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce is treated equally, fairly and with respect, and that all staff are demonstrably valued and actively engaged.

The Department and role purpose   

The Strategic Planning Office supports the development and review of institutional strategy, providing critical insights into academic performance and enabling associated change. The work of the team covers the following areas:

Strategy Development

  • Enabling the ongoing development and review of institutional level strategy
  • Providing insight into the University’s global positioning and options for strengthening academic performance

Business Intelligence

  • Providing a wide range of data analyses about the performance of the University and its departments against strategic goals so as to inform performance enhancement, planning and strategic development
  • Leading the development of Business Intelligence reporting so as to enhance use, accessibility, engagement, understanding and impact across the University

Planning & Forecasting

  • Planning and optimising the size and profile of student cohorts in each department and Faculty
  • Developing and delivering timely and robust forecasts of student load and tuition income, research income and other income sources
  • Developing and delivering scenario planning and modelling in respect of critical uncertainties

Programmes & Pricing

  • Managing the development of new education programmes (providing market intelligence, supporting the development of business cases, and managing a robust new pipeline of programmes aligned with strategic priorities)
  • Managing the annual programme fee setting process

Risk & Opportunity

  • Undertaking horizon scanning and advising the University Executive Committee on external developments and trends which present major strategic opportunities and risks
  • Ensuring integrated risk governance across the University, managing the University’s Strategic Risk Register and reporting this the University Executive Committee and University Council

Periodic Review

  • Managing the University’s Periodic Review process, encompassing the strategic review of all departments and core operational units

The office is led by the Director of Strategic Planning, John Pritchard, and reports directly to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost.

The purpose of the role is to manage and develop the Planning & Forecasting functions described above. You will also be expected to work collaboratively across the other areas of Strategic Planning, ensuring effective integration of work.

You will directly line manage one or more Senior Strategic Planning Officers but will also draw flexibly on capacity from across the team. You will have the opportunity to work with a wide range of staff at all levels across the University, including members of the University Executive Committee (UEC) and Heads of Department and Professional Support Services.

Core responsibilities:

  • Provide expert professional and managerial expertise managing and developing the delivery and impact of planning and forecasting at the University.
  • Manage and develop service, infrastructure and people performance
  • Provide feedback on team and individual performance and identify development needs, conducting regular staff ADR and performance reviews.
  • Recruit, induct, train and develop new team members.
  • Help to shape the skills and expertise of future team members and design work structures to meet operational and strategic goals.
  • Handle the vast majority of HR issues within your team, referring more complex HR issues to appropriate support services/senior management.
  • Liaise and engage with key stakeholders and internal and external contractors to influence opinion, delivery and reputation of services.
  • Contribute to the scoping and resource planning across a range of activities at operational and strategic level.
  • Lead on the design, implementation and monitoring of policy and quality standards, procedures and systems to ensure effective working and continuous improvement.
  • Promote and develop a deep understanding of organisational policy and external developments, learning from effective planning and forecasting practices elsewhere.
  • Devolve responsibilities to team members to ensure continuity of service provision and encourage skills development.
  • Ensure all stakeholder-facing staff provide an accessible, friendly and professional service by shaping processes for inducting and developing staff.
  • Implement processes to manage the integrity and security of all commercially and professionally sensitive and personal data.
  • Lead internal business meetings, working groups and sub-committees at operational service level to influence governance, organisational policy and standards for the service.
  • Analyse stakeholder feedback, implementing and reviewing service provision.

Role responsibilities:

  • Manage the University’s student number planning process, negotiating and setting deliverable targets which will deliver the University’s strategic goals.(17A)
  • Deliver robust, agile and timely forecasts of student numbers, student load, tuition income, research income and other income and activity as required, developing the range, detail and methodologies of forecasting to meet the needs of stakeholders across the University (33B/34A, 17A)
  • Develop and deliver scenario planning, building agile modelling capabilities in the Strategic Planning Office, working collaboratively with Finance colleagues and developing simple tools that support scenario planning by stakeholders across the University (33B)
  • Work with team members and stakeholders to build and maintain excellent working relationships.
  • Produce effective communications reporting purposes, designing and structuring information and analysis, applying creative and innovative principles to influence, engage and build effective understanding of plans, forecasts and scenarios.
  • Deliver professional expertise with investigative and service methodologies, make recommendations and identify priorities to achieve business outcomes and objectives.
  • Maintain an oversight of the service and performance metrics to provide reports for higher level managers and committees.
  • Represent the service and University at events and contribute to the delivery of presentations at conferences.
  • Develop external relations, identify and develop opportunities for communities of practice, employers, alumni and donors via extra-curricular activities and increased levels of participation.
  • Identify, appraise and manage key risks which might affect strategic planning or arise from the use of forecasts in financial plans [29B, 25A]
  • Any other reasonable duties.

Recruiting to this post 

In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification.  

In some cases, the recruiting panel may also consider the desirable criteria, so we recommend you evidence all criteria in your application.  

Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage.

How to apply 

We prefer to receive applications online. Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/privacy/pnjobapplicants/ which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

What you are required to submit

  1. A CV; 
  2. A covering letter setting out your interest in and suitability for the role given the role requirements outlined above (this should be no more than 500 words).
  3. A simple table setting out how you meet the essential and desirable criteria in the person specification.  

Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage.

Contact details 

For further information please contact Dr Paul Bennett: p.g.bennett@durham.ac.uk 

At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system.  Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails

Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required

Essential Criteria

  • Educated to degree level (or equivalent experience).
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to convey key messages about complex issues and data to diverse stakeholders
  • Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office and a high level of technical expertise in the use of analytical software.
  • Advanced skills in data analysis, interpretation and reporting
  • Ability to undertake forecasting and scenario modelling under conditions of future uncertainty
  • Ability to contribute to planning at operational and strategic levels.
  • Understanding of the key drivers of financial sustainability in an organisation.
  • Professional practitioner with specialist knowledge and expertise used to influence events and activities within an organisation. 
  • Experience of providing specialist evidence, advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues, including more senior colleagues, often at short-notice.
  • Ability to develop strong and productive working relationships, both internally and externally.
  • Ability to identify areas for organisational or process improvement, including capacity to work collaboratively with colleagues to take forward changes and new ways of working.
  • Committed to ongoing professional development. 

Desirable Criteria

  • Knowledge and experience of the Higher Education sector, especially key policy, funding and competitive drivers
  • Experience of delivering training or staff briefings
  • Project management expertise

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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