Head of Operations

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The Organisation

Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.

We believe in the power and potential of every child. But this is often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination. And it’s girls who are most affected.

Working together with children, young people, our supporters and partners, we strive for a just world, tackling the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children.

We support children’s rights from birth until they reach adulthood. And we enable children to prepare for – and respond to – crises and adversity. We drive changes in practice and policy at local, national and global levels using our reach, experience and knowledge.

We have been building powerful partnerships for children for over 85 years, and are now active in more than 75 countries.


Job Title Head of Operations
Function Operations Supervises Procurement Manager

Senior ICT Coordinator

Administration Manager

Fleet Coordinator

Country Engineer

Reports to Country Director
Location Country Office Travel required 30 %
Effective Date June 2022 Grade Level 18
Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. We believe in the power and potential of every child. However,  this is often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination, and it is girls who are most affected.

Working together with children, young people, our supporters and partners in more than 70 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, Plan International’s purpose is to strive for a just world that advances children’s rights and equality of girls. We support children’s rights from birth until they reach adulthood. We enable children to prepare for – and respond to – crises and adversity. We drive changes in practice and policy at local, national and global levels using our reach, experience and knowledge.

The purpose of this role is to ensure that all departments, projects and programs receive the operational support services required for effective implementation of the Country’s Strategy, on time and to standard. The Head of Operations (HoO) develops, leads and manages a team of functional experts in specific operational areas of procurement & logistics, ICT, engineering, administration & office services and fleet management; working with the team to ensure optimum support to projects within the policies of Plan Inc., and the laws of Uganda. The HoO is also responsible for ensuring the safety and security of PIU’s teams, thorough assessment of risks, and development and implementation of PIU’s Safety and Security protocols.  Additionally, s/he provides oversight to PIU’s sponsorship activities and ensures sponsorship commitments, standards and global key performance indicators are met, and PIU has effective operation of relevant systems and controls.
The role involves considering the resourcing and logistical implications of both strategic and operational plans, and advising management on how to achieve optimal value for money; considerable forward-thinking and analytical thinking are required.
This position is responsible for managing a departmental budget of around €500,000 annually and can approve financial transactions of up to €100,000.
The key challenge for this position is around the diversity of operational support services that must be managed and the need to deliver high-quality services on time and to standard, in compliance with Global policy and Ugandan statutory requirements.  This requires the job holder to:

  • Have an outstanding ability to think strategically and conceptually, managing multiple moving parts simultaneously
  • Keep the team focused on timely, compliant, service delivery; improving systems, structures and processes as required to reliably deliver required service levels at a high-quality level.
  • Liaise effectively with colleagues to motivate effective service delivery via PIU’s matrix managed structure
  •  S/he is expected to provide the necessary information/data to efficiently and effectively take strategic decisions to deliver on the Country Strategy (CS).
Level of contact with children
This position has been classified as “mid contact”: occasional interaction with children
Key result areas:
KRA 1: Strategy, Planning & Budgeting
As a member of the Country Leadership Team, support the organisation in strategic and operational planning; develop vision, strategy and plans for the role of the Operations Department in supporting the achievement of PIU’s objectives:
Actively participate in CLT meetings to provide strategic inputs/advice and contribute to decisions on policy and strategic direction
Ensure regular engagement with Heads of Department (including PAMs) to understand strategic priorities for the provision of operational support; facilitate agreement concerning priorities, leading to the development of procurement plans and Service Level Agreements if appropriate
Oversee the development and implementation of up-to-date country-specific operational systems, policies, procedures, and guidelines that will ensure efficient delivery of service requirements and compliance with Plan’s global standards.  In particular:

  • PIU guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures for Procurement
  • Plan International Data Privacy and Protection policies
  • Ensuring that resources are provided and used in the most environmentally friendly and value for money manner
Ensure that an effective mechanism is in place for accurately determining and anticipating the resourcing needs of programmes; ensure that these are pulled together into a master procurement plan aligned with cash-flow forecasts for the whole organisation and also at a project-level
Participate in Project Initiation activities, organising and coordinating the Operations Team to provide all necessary support. Support audits and financial monitoring activities for operations.
KRA 2: Sponsorship
As a member of the CLT, provide vision and leadership for PIU’s sponsorship activities, ensuring effective integration of sponsorship projects with grants projects:
Through supervision of the Sponsorship Manager, ensure clarity concerning the funding available via sponsorship and the resultant targets for enrolment and assignment.
Support the CLT in making decisions concerning the design and location of sponsorship projects and how they may be best integrated with grants projects
Ensure that clear targets and Key Performance Indicators are provided and met by the Sponsorship Manager, the Programme Area Managers and Sponsorship Coordinators responsible for the implementation of sponsorship activities; ensure the timely and accurate flow of performance data.
Ensure that teams involved in sponsorship projects are provided with high-quality training and that regular learning reviews and information sharing take place
Ensure that all the sponsorship commitments required by the Global Hub and communications required by National Offices are met on time and to standard
KRA 3: Country Office & Programme Resourcing
Through supervision of the operations team and matrix management of Programme Area operations staff, ensure that PIU staff and key stakeholders are provided with timely, effective, environmentally sensitive, and value-for-money operational support services nationwide:
Oversee the full and compliant implementation of the global Supply Chain Manual and any other global manual or policies, procedures and systems; ensuring that PIU’s staff are provided with necessary goods and services in a cost-effective, efficient and timely manner
Ensure that the PIU fleet is managed in a cost-effective and environmentally sensitive way, in line with the Fleet Manual; ensure that global KPIs are achieved above 90%.
Provide overall oversight to ensure that the Information Technology (IT) department provides the required IT services and resources to all locations and staff
Ensure that appropriate office facilities are selected in all programme areas, oversee the negotiation of contracts that protect PIU’s interests; ensure that appropriate policy, procedures and staffing are in place to provide a conducive work environment for staff
Oversee the management of assets, including the procurement, tracking, maintenance and compliant disposal of equipment, furnishings, vehicles and other resources.
Ensure the provision of administrative support (office management, reception & hospitality, travel services, events management etc.); striking a balance between cost-effectiveness and the provision of appropriate service levels to staff and visitors
Support the Country Engineer in providing support where significant infrastructure development projects are required
KRA 4: Safety & Security
Lead safety and security planning and management in the country, ensuring that PIU effectively protects and preserves the security and safety of staff and fully implements Plan International’s Management Standards:
Ensure that regular safety and security assessments are conducted and valid information is gathered concerning every location where PIU staff work (travel destinations as well as offices and hotels/venues)
Participate in various development / humanitarian operational and security networks in Uganda including peer organizations, UN and other local, regional and international.
Ensure that all Plan offices (CO and PAs) have developed standard operating procedures (SOPs) and contingency plans consistent with global security policy; ensure all staff receive security orientation and training as per PI requirements
Chair the Security Review Team; lead the development, update, and communication of the Security Management Plan and any country-specific SOPs or directives
Oversee the development and implementation of health and safety standards in compliance with the host country’s laws and the global health and safety policy
KRA 5: Compliance & Management of Risks
Ensure that all activities overseen by the Operations Department comply with global, country and statutory policies and guidelines; lead the effective identification and management of risks, in particular, those associated with procurement, cyber security and sponsorship:
With support from the Risk Assurance Manager, conduct a comprehensive risk assessment of the key operations functions nationwide (including where responsible staff are matrix managed); develop the departmental risk management matrix
Keep up-to-date and ensure full understanding and implementation of relevant global and regional policies and procedures, as referenced in the Supply Chain Manual and Management Standards.
Coordinate with unit managers and Programme Area staff to ensure compliance with global policies, standards and procedures, and legal requirements; ensure that the provisions of the risk management matrix are implemented consistently
Ensure that the safeguarding provisions associated with Plan International’s sponsorship activities are fully understood by staff and rigorously adhered to
Liaise with the Risk Assurance Manager to plan and facilitate an appropriate programme of internal and external audit missions; ensure audit follow up and action lists are addressed in a timely manner
KRA 6: Functional Leadership
Lead the Operations team in a manner that empowers them to deliver high quality, timely, support to the wider organisation:
Develop and oversee implementation of an annual work plan and budget for the Operations Department; manage the finances of the department, ensuring good value for money and compliance with PIU’s policies and procedures
Regularly review the team staffing levels to ensure that required service levels can be realistically delivered; at the same time ensuring that staff are fully occupied and working efficiently
Communicate clear performance expectations to the team, providing training, coaching and other support as required; manage any poor performance firmly but fairly, in line with PIU’s policy
Coordinate effectively with others to ensure high performance within PIU’s matrix operating structure
Foster an inclusive environment by the implementation of policies that provide for diversity and equal opportunities and utilisation of a leadership style that will drive employee engagement
KRA 7: Safeguarding and Gender Equality & Inclusion
Ensure that Plan International’s global policies for Safeguarding Children and Young People and Gender Equality and Inclusion are fully embedded in accordance with the principles and requirements of the policy including relevant Implementation Standards and Guidelines as applicable to their area of responsibility. This includes, but is not limited to ensuring staff and associates are aware of and understand their responsibilities under these policies and Plan International’s Code of Conduct (CoC), their relevance to their area of work, and that concerns are reported and managed in accordance with the appropriate procedures.
Bachelor’s degree from a recognised university
Relevant professional qualifications in at least one of the technical specialists being managed (e.g. Supply Chain Management, ICT, Business Administration)
At least 15 years’ progressive experience working directly in the areas of operational support, and management, including at least five years in a senior management position in relatively large organisations with mainly external donor funding and of similar complexity to PIU.
Demonstrated understanding of donor rules and requirements.
Leadership Competencies
Myself as a Leader
Leads through influence rather than position, and role models our values, accelerating gender equality inside and outside PIU; leads change by developing new ideas and strategies.
Lasting Impact
Works with peers to shape an ambitious and coherent strategy, aligned with our purpose; able to make sense of significantly complex information; contributes effectively to decision-making across functions.
Open & Accountable
Works constructively with the wider Plan International Federation, our governance structures, partners and stakeholders; optimises the deployment of resources (people, finances, assets) to achieve the best progress and long term impact.
Work Well Together
Creates a positive team spirit, helping people work well together as a team; proactively resolves situations of conflict by generating solutions that will work for all involved; deliberately adjusts own behaviour to influence or persuade others.
Inclusive & Empowering
Delegates tasks and decisions, trusting and stretching others but ensuring they have the resources and support they need; adopt a coaching approach with the people they manage or advise.
Skills & Knowledge
Creates space for reflection and uses external evidence and internal evaluation to identify what and how we need to improve; creates a safe environment for others to challenge themselves or raise concerns; leads the team to implement changes as a result of what has been learned.
Critical Business Management Competencies
Experience in using project management principles, practices and tools to lead significant projects; ensuring the achievement of results on time, within scope, budget  and to standard
Strong ability to analyse and interpret an appropriate range of data and evidence, both internal and external, using sound judgement to make balanced decisions, based on insights gained, or projection of trends.
Experience in incorporating digital and technological solutions into plans and activities, to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of working practices, enhance communication and support innovation.
Ability to lead the strategic management of risk for a team or department, developing a strong culture of proactive risk management and ensuring all staff fully understand and work in line with the policies, procedures and standards relevant to their work.
Good track record of integrating change and continuous improvement into work plans, budgets, the design of systems and processes, staffing and training.
Excellent track record of managing people with an engaging leadership style; experience of recruiting, delegating, managing performance and promoting safety, health, security and wellbeing of staff
Critical Technical Competencies
Excellent knowledge and demonstrated experience in the management of supply chain, fleet management, and overall logistics including IT
Competency in environment protection and reduction of the environmental impact of operations activities
Good knowledge and experience in the management of safety and security for a large team in multiple locations
Proven track record of management of complex multi-donor large scale annual budgets and clear understanding of donors’ rules and regulations
Fluency in English, both spoken and written
Knowledge of Uganda, the geopolitical factors affecting child poverty in the country as well as the political, social and economic opportunities for development are an advantage

Location: Uganda,Kampala

Type of Role: Fixed Term

Reports to: Country Director

Grade: Level 18

Closing Date:19/08/2022

Equality, diversity and inclusion is at the very heart of everything that Plan International stands for.

We want Plan International to reflect the diversity of the communities we work with, offering equal opportunities to everyone regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

Plan International is based on a culture of inclusivity and we strive to create a workplace environment that ensures every team, in every office, in every country, is rich in diverse people, thoughts, and ideas.

We foster an organisational culture that embraces our commitment to racial justice, gender equality, girls’ rights and inclusion.

Plan International believes that in a world where children face so many threats of harm, it is our duty to ensure that we, as an organisation, do everything we can to keep children safe. This means that we have particular responsibilities to children that we come into contact with and we must not contribute in any way to harming or placing children at risk.

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