Head of Divisional Business Management, Colleges and Student Experience Division

Durham, United Kingdom
£52,560 - £59,135 per annum
02 Aug 2021
End of advertisement period
31 Aug 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

PVC Colleges & Student Experience Office

Grade 9: - £52,560 - £59,135 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contract Duration: NA
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 31-Aug-2021, 6:59:00 AM

The closing date for applications is 30 August 2021 at midnight.

Interviews are currently anticipated to take place on 24 September 2021.

When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas.

The Department and role purpose

The Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) exists to support the Pro-Vice-Chancellor in the delivery of his/her responsibilities, encompassing both the management of the Colleges and Student Experience Division and the delivery of the pan-University Wider Student Experience strategy. It is structured as follows:

PVC Colleges Office Org Chart

The PVC’s office leads and manages the Colleges and Student Experience Division, which also includes the 15 Maintained Colleges, 2 Recognised Colleges, Experience Durham, the Student Support and Wellbeing Directorate, and the Wider Student Experience Operations Directorate. The Divisional workforce totals over 1000 staff.

Requirement Overview

We are seeking a highly-motivated, proactive and dynamic senior manager with the skills and experience to oversee, coordinate and cohere (whilst not always directly owning) multiple projects, workstreams and processes within the Division and the University. Comfortable with uncertainty, complexity and challenge, you will have excellent communication and influencing skills, and be a diplomatic and empathetic leader with the interpersonal skills required to build consensus and facilitate effective team-working across multiple stakeholders and interlocutors in order to achieve the divisional business objectives.  This role is the de facto Chief of Staff for the Division and reports directly to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

Role responsibilities:

  • Lead the day-to-day monitoring, cohering and coordinating of all business across the spectrum of activity within the Division and across organisational boundaries.
  • Exercise the authority of the Pro-Vice Chancellor to hold senior colleagues (Head of Colleges and Divisional Directors) to account for delivery of objectives and outcomes.
  • Work with the University Portfolio Office and Project managers to manage the programme of change and capital Wider Student Experience projects for which the Pro-Vice Chancellor  is the University Executive Committee sponsor. 
  • Lead the management of the Divisional annual planning round, working with the Pro-Vice Chancellor to set outcomes, processes, Key Performance Indicators and the budget envelope.
  • Lead the building of business critical relationships with external agencies and service providers, identifying and developing opportunities to increase influence in keeping with strategic objectives.
  • Deputise for strategic managers and take responsibility for the feasibility analysis, development, planning and implementation of new service areas and activities.
  • Set service metrics and expected levels of efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery.
  • Analyse and interpret complex data sources, to provide business intelligence and business forecasts informing decision making.
  • Deliver professional development learning activities.
  • Perform any other reasonable duties.

Core Responsibilities:

  • Provide professional and expert leadership at a significant operational level and contribute to strategic planning to meet organisational objectives.
  • Build and lead an influential network of contacts both internally and externally to influence the development of service provision.
  • Provide leadership to project teams to shape and determine specifications and key deliverables, problem solve and guide implementation.
  • Provide leadership and influence the governance of Divisional activities, processes and transactions to meet regulatory and professional service and policy standards.
  • Lead internal and external business meetings, working groups and committees at operational and strategic service level to influence governance, organisational policy and standards for the Division.
  • Budget responsibility for allocating and managing expenditure within the Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor.
  • Provide expert guidance, advice and problem-solving skills to stakeholders.
  • Identify and develop innovative approaches and make recommendations for how these can be implemented within and beyond the Division.
  • Significant input into the planning and development of future skills and expertise within the Division to meet organisational goals.
  • Responsible for the indirect management and leadership of people across the Division, setting operational and strategic objectives for discrete areas.
  • Implement change management projects across the Division in collaboration with peers and specialists to ensure a smooth and effective transition.
  • Lead the creation, review, design, implementation and monitoring of policy and Division-level standards.
  • Contribute to wider quality and regulatory audit process for stakeholder systems and services and develop processes to provide assurance and accountability.
  • Influence and contribute to operational and strategic scoping and resource planning across a range of activities, developing and presenting complex business plans and strategy documents where required.
  • Set operational objectives for the scoping, initiation, planning and implementation of significant projects in and relating to the Division.
  • Lead and manage a small team, providing feedback on team and individual performance and identifying development needs thorugh conductins regular staff ADR and performance reviews.
  • Recruit, induct, train and develop new team members.
  • Help to shape the skills and expertise of team members and design work structures to meet operational and strategic goals.
  • Handle the vast majority of welfare issues within a team, referring more complex welfare issues to appropriate support services/senior management.
  • Devolve key responsibilities to experienced team members to ensure succession and encourage skills development.

Specific role requirements

  • No planned out of hours work or on-call duties. The applicant may be invited to various University events in the evenings and at weekends and would be expected to attend some.

Working Arrangements

At Durham we recognise that our staff and students are our greatest asset and we want to support the health and wellbeing of all. Hybrid working supports this ethos and provides many benefits to our colleagues, including empowering people, where their role allows, to work in a manner which is more suitable for them, whilst encouraging our commitment to environmental sustainability.

Depending on the needs of the business and the job role, Durham University is piloting hybrid working for all Professional Services colleagues in the academic year 2021/2022, which may include the opportunity to work both on and off campus and to flex working hours. If appointed to the post, your line-manager will discuss the specific arrangements with you.  Any hybrid arrangements are non-contractual and may change within the pilot and when the pilot ends.

Reward and Benefits

To support the delivery of the University's People Strategy to attract, retain and reward the very best, we offer a fantastic range of rewards and benefits to our staff, including:

  • 30 days annual leave, plus 4 customary days and 8 bank holidays (pro-rata for part time) and the option to purchase additional leave;
  • Automatic enrolment into a pension scheme;
  • Corporate and local discounts;
  • Wellbeing resources and discounted health benefits;
  • Health discounts on sports and activities at Maiden Castle Health and Activity Centre;
  • Reward and Recognition Schemes;
  • Personal and career development;
  • And SO much more, with further information available here

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 set out below

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.

Information if you have a disability

The University welcomes applications from disabled people. We are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, adjustments will be made to support people within their role.

If you are unable to complete your application via our recruitment system, please get in touch with us on e.recruitment@durham.ac.uk.

What you are required to submit

  1. A CV;
  2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential against the personal specification and the role responsibilities.  
  3. Names of 3 referees (to be contacted only if offer the role post interview)

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

For further information please contact;  Executive Assistant to PVC Colleges and Student Experience: Debbie.steer@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.

As a University we foster a collegiate community of extraordinary people aligned to the University’s values.  Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do. At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive, and in doing so, recruit the world’s best candidates from all backgrounds and identities. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.

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.


  • Excellent oral and written communication skills (specifically preparation of papers and briefings to board level).
  • Highly developed interpersonal skills. 
  • The ability to develop strong and highly effective working relationships, both internally and externally to the institution.
  • Experience of leading complex, institution-wide change management within large-scale organisations.
  • Experience of manging in a complex, constantly changing, multiple stakeholder environment including the ability to prioritise and coordinate tasks.
  • Experience of contribution to business and financial planning at strategic and operational levels.
  • Experience of diplomatic consensus building through consultation and influence across a diverse and challenging stakeholder community.
  • Demonstrate a track record of proactively identifying innovative ways of working and continuous improvement of an organisations business processes.
  • Educated to degree level (or equivalent experience).


  • Experience of working within HE and student facing roles in HE.
  • Specific experience of managing or coordinating major capital and/or business change projects.
  • Project or change management qualification (P3M, Prince 2).

Realising Your Potential Approach 

The Realising Your Potential Approach clarifies the behaviours expected to be demonstrated by all staff across Professional Services in the University regardless of their role. Along with the core responsibilities, role responsibilities and the person specification, the Realising Your Potential Approach behavioural indicators are used to inform the recruitment and selection process. Further information on the Realising Your Potential Approach is available here.

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, 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.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.