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Senior Advisor – Policy & Planning

Senior Advisor – Policy & Planning

  • Full Time
  • London


Contract:  Permanent

Working Hours:  Full-Time

Location:  London, UK

Salary: circa £57,000 per annum

Job Description

Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed unparalleled expertise in responding to emergencies and helping uprooted communities to rebuild. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.

The International Rescue Committee UK is part of the IRC global network, which has its headquarters in New York and London. The IRC is on the ground in more than 40 countries, providing emergency relief, relocating refugees and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster. Through over 20 regional offices in cities across the United States, the IRC also helps refugees resettle in the US and become self-sufficient.

The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The IRC is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable.


Our European headquarters, IRC-UK, were established in London in 1997 to support the organisation’s global activities and particularly to diversify its donor base and be able to better advocate with European policy-makers on behalf of the people we serve. Since its establishment IRC-UK has grown rapidly and is now acknowledged for its high quality project management, technical expertise in governance and rights and economic recovery, and innovative thinking on early recovery and gender based violence.

The IRC also has offices in Berlin, Brussels and Geneva. The UK office as the largest office in Europe for IRC, oversees IRC’s work in Europe, under the Senior Vice President, Europe who is also the IRC-UK Executive Director.

IRC-UK comprises approximately 100 staff across five departments.

The Purpose of the Role

There has been considerable growth for IRC in Europe, not least in response to the growing role of the organisation as a thought leader on refugee issues, as well as a deliberate strategy to diversify our influence across Europe. The position holder will need to flex between areas of work on humanitarian thought leadership, funding diversification and growth strategies, and partnership building between IRC and other key organizations.

As Senior Advisor, Policy & Planning you will work closely with the SVP Europe to support the IRC in achieving its goals across the Europe network, as well as ensuring the IRC Europe Strategy is relevant and an effective tool for the organisation.

You will also be expected to represent the SVP Europe at key discussions and exercise superb judgment, interpersonal skills, and absorb information quickly.

Scope and Authority

Reporting directly to the Senior Vice President, Europe and Executive Director IRC-UK, the Senior Advisor will work very closely with the SVP on a range of strategic initiatives that impact the wider organisation as well as be an effective partner to IRC senior leaders and to external stakeholders.

Working with the SVP Europe, the Senior Advisor will-:

·         Coordinate and integrate the work of the Senior Vice President’s Office with the rest of the IRC, ensuring effective engagement with all departments.

·         Use sound judgment to advise the SVP Europe on complex and sensitive policy issues and questions.

·         Assist the SVP Europe to deliver on the IRC Europe Strategy.

Key Working Relationships

·         Colleagues across IRC Europe as well as Leadership Board and Senior Leaders’ Group who represent IRC global leadership.

·         IRC Country Offices and Technical Units as required.

·         Key partners such as Stichting Vluchteling

Policy and Influence:

·       Coordinate and/or oversees the development of policies, procedures, speeches and strategies relating to complex policy issues for the SVP’s office.

·       Conduct research and analysis to support the strategic aims of the IRC in Europe.

·       Draft strategy documents, reports, speeches, briefing notes, and talking points at the request of the SVP Europe.

·       Work to expand and develop key relationships with high level advocacy targets on behalf of the SVP Europe.

·       Act as the policy link to the SVP Europe’s office for Policy& Advocacy colleagues, ‘Senior Leaders’ and field staff.

Strategy and Planning:

·         Lead on the review and consensus building around necessary updates to the Europe Strategy in support of IRC Strategy 2020 and the wider IRC organisation.

·         Through coordination with Europe office heads and the UK Senior Management Team, keep an active overview of the work of departments to ensure effective and coordinated support to and response from the SVP Europe.

·         Work with the SVP Europe to set short and medium term priorities for strategic engagement with internal and external stakeholders.

·         Identify challenges in the short and longer term, to successfully implementing the Europe strategy and works with relevant stakeholders to develop proposed solutions.

·         Manages strategic projects from inception to completion as assigned by the SVP Europe.

·         Ensures that opportunities for influence in Europe involving the IRC President and/or SVP Europe are maximized including, but not limited to, meetings with decision makers, public speaking events, board meetings and field visits.

Planning and Coordination

·         Provides timely and effective communication of instructions and decisions of the SVP Europe to stakeholders at all levels.

·         Build and maintain strong relationship with leaders across the Europe network, and ensure that their views are represented.

·         Tracks and documents key strategic internal and external meetings, ensuring that key action points are communicated and follow up occurs.

·         Works with internal and external stakeholders to commission and/or develop briefings.

·         Works with internal stakeholders to commission and/or develop itineraries and agendas to ensure the IRC President and SVP engagements in Europe are effective.

·         Fosters teamwork and communications among the Leadership Board, Senior Leaders Group and the IRC Europe leaders.

·         Represents the views of the SVP Europe at key internal meetings such as the Senior Leaders’ Group.

·         Maintains sensitivity and diplomacy with senior colleagues.


·         Represent IRC and the SVP Europe at relevant senior meetings and conferences and present the work of the organization where necessary.

·         Play an active leadership role in the global IRC network, with a particular emphasis on maintaining effective partnerships and collaboration between IRC-UK and IRC-NY, as well as the network of partners and IRC offices in Europe.

·         Ensure good working relationships and support the integration of activities with the Brussels, and Geneva offices, and with Stichting Vluchteling, and IRC Deutschland.


Skills Knowledge and Qualifications

Degree in a field relevant to policy making, strategy, international development/humanitarian affairs, public administration.
Politically astute with the ability to analyze and summarize large amounts of information quickly.
Strong interpersonal, relationship management and influencing skills; ability to manage without authority; ability to work with a variety of stakeholders with different agendas
Rigorous and critical thinker, able to ask probing clear questions and drive toward solutions quickly.
Ability to anticipate and assess situations accurately and recommend/implement effective courses of action required.
Ability to coordinate multiple meeting tasks and a myriad of complex details on a concurrent basis.
Ability to handle stress, function effectively under pressure and meet time parameters.
Predisposition toward simple and practical solutions, through consensus building.

Significant demonstrable years progressive experience or proven background in planning and project management, NGO knowledge preferred.
Experience in communicating effectively with internal and external stakeholders with tact and diplomacy, both orally and in writing, including working with all staff levels and diverse personalities.
Strong attention to detail and ability to present at a senior level and work in a fast  paced environment.
Proven track record in successful change management and knowledge of organizational development approaches and practices.
Management consulting or equivalent experience, preferably with pre-existing knowledge or experience in humanitarian/development/nonprofit sector
Demonstrable experience in organizational reporting, research, analysis, and strategy development.

Ideally the candidate should have a post graduate qualification, but applications will be considered by exceptional individuals with a Bachelors degree only.
Humanitarian or development field experience.
Knowledge and understanding of working in the INGO sector.
Understanding of key donors such as, DFID and ECHO, other European country donors and ability to interface at senior level
The ability to work (read and write) in French and/or German.
Working Environment

This position requires occasional flexibility to attend evening and weekend meetings when needed. Extensive travel is not expected (beyond 10-15% of full time).

Candidates must have the right to work in the UK.

IRC-UK strives to be an equal opportunities employer. IRC-UK is committed to equality of opportunity and to non-discrimination for  all  job  applicants  and  employees,  and  we  seek to ensure  we  achieve diversity  in  our  workforce  regardless  of  gender,  race,  religious  beliefs, nationality, ethnic/national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability.

To apply for this job please visit rescue.csod.com.