Role Description – Executive Director of UK Operations


We are seeking an experienced leader of operational teams who has worked at executive level and can provide strong, motivational leadership to DofE’s UK operations teams. This crucial Executive role will support our established team of eight Country and Region Directors across the four nations to extend access to DofE programmes to as many young people as possible, including those who are at risk and maginalised, through effective partnership development, target-setting and high quality account management. This role is accountable for the design of the DofE programme and quality assurance through our licencing process and safeguarding young people, so experience of service delivery to young people and the associated assurance framework that comes with it would be valuable. As DofE is effectively a social franchise, previous experience of delivering a range of operational delivery models, ideally including a franchise, would be useful. This role will also be the senior Director responsible for liaising with the DofE International Award Foundation, our Licensor, and a wide range of strategic partners and umbrella bodies so diplomacy and the ability to influence effectively and build strategic relationships will be key.

Location:  Windsor / home-based (the postholder will be expected to travel to Windsor/central London at least twice per week once the restrictions created by the Covid-19 pandemic are relaxed)

Salary:  £90,000- £95,000

Purpose of the role

  • Provide clear leadership and strategic direction for all DofE operational activity across the UK, ensuring it aligns with DofE’s mission, vision, strategic objectives and achieves annual participation targets
  • Ensure the delivery of a high quality and accessible DofE experience, ensuring DofE can reach all young people who wish to do their DofE and assuring quality through effective licensing, quality assurance and account management.
  • Act as a champion and advocate for DofE across the UK, building and maintaining effective stakeholder relationships and strategic partnerships in order to maximise DofE’s reach, impact and income.
  • As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, act as a trusted adviser and business partner to the CEO and play a full role in the strategic leadership of the DofE.

Scale and scope of the role

  • Reports to the CEO and is a member of the Executive Leadership Team
  • People responsibility: c160
  • Annual income target: c£12m

Key Accountabilities and success measures:

 Leadership and management

  • Provide motivational leadership to your teams, the wider organisation and our volunteers in line with DofE’s values, ensuring that staff are supported to meet high standards and recognised for their achievements.
  • Model the DofE desired culture in order to attract, retain and motivate ambitious and talented staff and volunteers from diverse backgrounds and communities.
  • Contribute fully to the overall leadership and strategic direction of the DofE as a member of the DofE’s Executive Leadership team.

 Quality assurance and safeguarding

  • Accountable for DofE’s overall licensing policy and processes and quality assurance framework ensuring that all DofE’s delivery partners are operating under a valid licence and meet our quality and regulatory standards.
  • Accountable for DofE’s safeguarding and child protection policy and processes; ensuring that all DofE licencees understand their responsibility for keeping young people safe and have the appropriate training to deliver a safe and high quality DofE experience for participants.

Extending DofE’s reach and impact

  • Accountable for setting and delivering against annual participation targets in line with the organisation’s strategic growth ambitions, ensuring that DofE can reach as many young people as possible with the Award.
  • Accountable for increasing the number of young people who face disadvantage or barriers to participation that can access and complete a DofE programme in line with DofE targets.
  • Accountable for developing strategic partnerships with external organisations to support DofE’s reach, generate income and maximise our impact on young people.

Financial management and business development

  • Oversee robust financial management, ensuring that financial arrangements and controls are adhered to, that budgets and forecasts are accurate and timely and income targets are met.
  • Identify, analyse and deliver business efficiencies, ensuring that processes are optimised, risks mitigated, revenue maximized and that DofE achieves value for money across its operations.
  • Identify opportunities for business development and income generation in support of the DofE’s strategic goals.

Influence and partnership development

  • Act as a passionate and authentic ambassador for the DofE across the UK, engaging with key stakeholders and our DofE volunteer network to promote the work of the DofE, increase participation, and help us achieve our ambition to reach a greater number of disadvantaged young people.
  • Alongside the CEO, build and maintain effective working relationships with the youth, education and outdoor sectors at national level across the UK in order to enhance the DofE’s reach, impact and financial sustainability and contribute to improving the lives of young people across the UK.
  • Accountable for managing the relationship between DofE UK and our licensing body and strategic partner, the DofE International Award Foundation.

The post holder will also:

  • Provide effective supervision, performance management and appraisal and professional and personal development opportunities for their staff.
  • Be a role model as an enthusiastic, authentic ambassador for the DofE and engage positively with stakeholders providing a high level of customer service.
  • Uphold the values of DofE working, collaboratively with colleagues across DofE.
  • Demonstrate DofE’s commitment to building a diverse and inclusive organization.
  • Follow DofE’s Safeguarding and Data Protection policies and procedures at all times.
  • Ensure that all health and safety procedures are followed at all times.
  • Any other duties that may be reasonably required.

Person specification


  • Experience of working at Director level, operating as part of an Executive management team, setting and delivering against strategy and operational plans, and reporting directly to a Board / Trustee Board.
  • Proven ability to develop, empower and lead high performing teams; including volunteers.
  • Record of leading and delivering operational excellence and implementing robust quality assurance processes.
  • Demonstrable record of achievement in developing influential relationships with key opinion leaders, commissioners and decision-makers.
  • Track record in developing impactful strategic partnerships and revenue generating opportunities.
  • Experience of tailoring operational delivery and operating models in order to engage diverse beneficiary groups.

Skills & Knowledge

  • Ability to translate organisational strategy into effective operational delivery.
  • High degree of commercial acumen and a strategic mindset with the ability to identify opportunities and embrace new initiatives.
  • Understanding of the legal, political and cultural context as it affects young people in the UK today and the ability to engage effectively with government and the statutory education, youth and outdoor education sectors.
  • Strong financial planning and management skills.
  • Outstanding communication and influencing skills with the ability to inspire the confidence of operational staff, volunteers and supporters and external stakeholders across the UK.
  • The ability to build effective relationships with a wide range of stakeholders and an understanding of the dynamics of dispersed organisations whose services are delivered by volunteers.
  • Understanding of the requirements for safeguarding and quality assurance in organisations serving young people.
  • Able to see the bigger picture and make informed decisions in the interests of the organisation as a whole.


  • High degree of personal integrity and authenticity, a ‘can do’, positive attitude, always willing to go the extra mile.
  • Has high standards and expects excellence, deals kindly but firmly and decisively with poor performance and poor attitudes and behaviours.
  • Organised, efficient and delivers what they say.
  • Collegiate, with highly developed interpersonal skills, works collaboratively with others to achieve organisational goals.
  • Strongly customer-centred and committed to continuously improving the quality of operational delivery.
  • Passionate about developing and empowering young people.
  • Results focused and impact-driven.
  • Inclusive and committed to diversity and acting as an ally.
  • Adaptable and resilient, with the ability to change direction when needed.