Job Brief JD and Person Spec Director of the Executive Office final by 6EV600



                       Job Brief: Director of the Executive Office


   1. UNISON is Britain’s leading trade union, with over 1.3 million members
      working in the public services, energy services, private voluntary and
      community sectors. We employee 1200 staff, approximately 370 at our
      national centre in Euston central London and the remainder in our 12 regions
      across the UK including Northern Ireland.

   2. UNISON is facing unparalleled political and industrial challenges, but many of
      the changes which we have initiated stand us in good stead to meet these
      challenges. We have for example developed clear objectives and priorities,
      introduced formal project management processes, developed our ICT,
      changed our service group structures and most importantly of all have
      focused firmly on recruitment and organising at branch and regional level
      through the introduction of new local and area organisers.

   3. The Executive Office is located at the centre of the union supporting the
      General Secretariat and the NEC in the effective management of the union,
      ensuring that UNISON meets its objectives. There are 17 members of staff in
      the directorate and the post holder and is responsible for the following areas
      of work.

              Providing strategic advice to the General Secretary and the General
               Secretariat helping to provide shape and direction to their work
              The planning and delivery of UNISON’s conferences
              Programme and Project Management
              National Executive Council organisation and administration
              Complaints submitted by members and third parties
              Data Protection
              Ballots to authorise industrial action
              Elections
              UNISON’s telephone advice and information service
              Provide advice on constitutional and rule book matters.

   4. UNISON is in a period of transition, it has recently appointed five Assistant
      General Secretaries. The Director of the Executive Office plays a critical role
      in shaping and focusing their discussions and those of the national lay
      leadership. This involves close liaison with the General Secretary and his
      colleagues to integrate the agendas, and activities of the General Secretariat
      and UNISON’s National Executive Council. They carry out the same function

   for UNISON’s Senior Management Group and the various forums which
   UNISON has created to consult and brief its senior managers i.e. the biannual
   national and regional manager’s forums.

5. The post holder attends the secretariat meetings and reports directly to
   UNISON’s General Secretary. They utilise the resources of the executive
   office to support the leadership of UNISON, this includes assistance with
   forward planning, elections and conference administration progress chasing,
   leadership support and development, and the design and implementation of
   the organisation’s objectives. Their role in these activities is informed by a
   comprehensive understanding of UNISON, and shrewd political judgement
   equipping them to deal with difficult and challenging circumstances as they

6. They have oversight of the budgets for UNISON 14 annual conferences,
   those of the Programme and Project Office, and the Member Liaison Unit.
   They directly manage the budget and expenditure of UNISON’s National
   Executive Council. This responsibility involves ensuring that UNISON is taking
   all appropriate measures to achieve the best possible value for money.

7. The Director of the Executive Office makes a significant contribution to
   developing the leadership capacity of the National Executive Council,
   identifying the knowledge and skills development they require and designing
   appropriate support and development for individual members. They also play
   a major role in shaping the agenda of UNISON’s annual leadership school.

8. They have the skills, authority and contacts needed to successfully network
   across the whole of the labour movement, enabling UNISON to position itself
   effectively with both the Labour Party and the Trade Union Congress. This
   includes identifying suitable organisations for closer working; activities to
   support effective inter union relationships and the planning and co-ordination
   of major joint union and labour movement campaigns. In particular they will
   have excellent presentation, public speaking, and influencing skills, a strategic
   understanding and commitment to partnership working within the organisation
   and a strong affiliation to a public service ethos.

9. They oversee disciplinary investigations, hearings and appeals, have lead
   responsibility for advising on UNISON Rules and all related constitutional

10. They have managerial responsibility for the following: 7 staff working in the
    member liaison unit which provides an advice and information line to UNISON
    members throughout the country and deals with the UNISON’s industrial

   action ballots and all of its elections; 6 staff who organise UNISON
   conferences, 4 staff who provide project management support to departments
   and regions and the NEC Support Officer.

11. One of the first acts of the new post holder will be to undertake a review of the
    Executive Office to ensure that the different functions are effectively aligned
    and able to support the leadership of the organisation through the challenges
    it faces in the coming period.


                         Director of the Executive Office

                                   UNISON Centre


Grade              1
Location          UNISON Centre
Reports to        The General Secretary
Responsible for   All staff in the Executive Office


This post is the National Director of the Executive Office and reports directly to the
General Secretary of UNISON. The post-holder is responsible for shaping and
focusing the work of UNISON’s leadership teams, and for the effective provision of;
industrial action ballots, the telephone advice and information line for UNISON
members, project management support to UNISON Centre departments and
regions, and UNISON conferences.

Key Responsibilities

    Supporting the General Secretary with the work of UNISON’s leadership
     teams. Has lead responsibility the production and implementation of
     UNISON’s objectives.

    Developing the leadership capacity of the National Executive Council,
     identifying development needs and designing programmes such as the
     national leadership school to meet these.

    Networking across the labour movement to help maintain effective inter-union
     working, and effective working relationships with the labour party, identifying
     and enabling future mergers.

    Management of UNISON’s Industrial action ballots and strategy.

    An overview of all internal disciplinary investigations, hearings and appeals.

    Responsibility for 17 staff employed across four functions (Member Liaison,
     Conference Arrangements, The Programme and Project Office, and NEC
     Support ) providing services to other parts of the organisation.

 Manages staff, resources, functions and activities within the Executive Office.

 Ensures UNISON complies with legislation on Industrial Action ballots.

 Provides lead support at National Executive Council Meetings.

 Manages UNISON’s NEC Budget, and has an oversight of budgets for the
  other functions which form the Executive Office.

 Ensures that the services provided by the Executive Office are of a high
  standard and continue to meet the business needs of the organisation.

 Develops effective communications with staff and managers on areas of

 Lead officer for constitutional and rule book matters including advice to the
  General Secretariat and NEC

 Undertakes other duties as required by a grade descriptor and or job profile
  for this post.

                             Director of the Executive Office



UNISON is an equal opportunities employer, committed to providing equal
opportunities regardless of race or ethnic origin, gender identity, family situation,
sexual orientation, disability, religion or age. This person specification is designed to
help members of Interviewing Panels judge the qualities of interviewees in a
systematic and consistent way and in accordance with UNISON’s equal
opportunities policy. It is given to all job applicants for information.

Assessment code

A – application form

Pl – panel interview

ST - selection tests (1-3)

Heading         Selection criteria                              Assessment

1. Thinking        Experience of undertaking strategic         A     PI     ST3
skills              planning, organisational development
                    and management of change, including
                    ability to evaluate and improve
                    organisational performance


                   Ability to help shape the political         A     PI
                    direction of UNISON and its senior
                    management teams

                   Evidence of promoting equality at a         A     PI     ST2
                    managerial and strategic level.

                   Commitment to and understanding of               PI   ST1
                    UNISON’s aims and values and trade

                   Ability to work in partnership with senior
                    lay activists to achieve national and
                    regional objectives

2. Inter-          Excellent presentation, facilitation and              ST1
personal &          public speaking skills
on skills

                   Experience of dealing with the media         A        ST2
                    and developing a media strategy.

                   Ability to communicate effectively with      A   PI   ST1
                    managers, staff and lay members at all
                    levels including complex report writing
                    and presentation skills

                   Ability to represent the union externally        PI   ST2
                    at a senior level to a range of

                   Able to demonstrate emotional                         ST2
                    resilience, self awareness and self
3. Initiative      Experience of developing, managing,          A   PI
and                 monitoring, controlling and evaluating
independenc         strategic services, systems, and/or
e                   structures

                   Ability to act as key advisor to senior          PI   ST
                    managers and senior lay committees as

4. Staff           Management experience at senior level        A   PI


                 Experience of managing multi-functional    A   PI
                  units or teams including managing
                  strategic projects and co-ordinating the
                  work of others

                 Experience of effectively managing             PI   ST3
                  systems and resources

                 Ability to contribute effectively to the       PI
                  Senior Management Group

                 Experience of selecting, motivating,       A   PI
                  developing and managing staff and their

                 Experience of developing work              A   PI   ST3
                  programmes including setting
                  standards, monitoring and evaluation

                 Experience of managing and prioritising    A   PI
                  work under pressure (both self and

5. Resource      Experience of securing, monitoring,        A   PI
Management        controlling and reporting on complex
                  departmental/regional budgets

                 Ability to ensure value for money and      A   PI
                  effective use of resources

                 ICT skills – draft own                     A        ST1
                  reports/correspondence/keep e-diary

6. General         Ability to operate flexibly under the             PI     ST
Knowledge           direction of the NEC, General Secretary
                    and Senior Management Group

                   Detailed knowledge of the political,        A     PI     ST2
                    economic, social and legal environment
                    in which the Union operates.

                   Detailed understanding of employment        A     PI     ST
                    and trade union law.

Please visit for an application pack or alternatively send an A4 self-
addressed envelope (no stamp required but please ensure correct postage on covering
envelope) quote Ref:EXO/01 and return to: HRM Unit, UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road,
London, NW1 2AY

Completed application forms must be received by no later than 12 NOON, 12 July 2012.

Interviews are scheduled for 31 July & 1 August 2012.


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