Company Secretary and Head of Corporate Support - Maternity Cover

Advance HE works globally to help higher education shape its future. We bring together HE-focused expertise from across our entire sector in teaching and learning; equality, diversity and inclusion; leadership and governance, to help universities to deliver a world-class experience for their students. We do this through the provision of specialist knowledge and resources, externally recognised benchmarking and recognition schemes, and a member-focused, collaborative approach.  

Job Description: 

Reporting to the Director of Finance and Resources, the Head of Corporate Support and Company Secretary will provide support to the Director and for their team specifically.  A key part of the role is to be responsible for ensuring that Advance HE complies with standard financial and legal practice and maintains high standard of corporate governance.

The Head of Corporate Support and Company Secretary will be a member of the Chief Executive Group.

The Head of Corporate Support and Company Secretary will ensure the successful delivery of the Operations Plan whilst actively promoting the values and culture of the organisation. 

Advance HE has office locations in York, London and Edinburgh and there will be a requirement to travel to these locations as part of the role.  There may also be a requirement to work away from home for short periods of time,

 The Company Secretary and Head of Corporate Support's primary responsibilities are: 

  • To manage the delivery of the operations plan, ensuring delivery of financial targets and performance against expenditure. 
  • To lead and oversee the proper conduct of meetings of the Board and its committees ensuring that correct procedures are followed.  This will include:
    • overseeing the timetabling of all meetings of the Board and its committees.
    • directing and undertaking the preparation of agendas, papers and minutes in consultation with the Chief Executive and/or chariman to ensure they comply with the required standars of good governance.
    • attending and minuting meetings of the Board and its committees and to give guidance on matters of procedure and conduct.
    • a knowledge and understanding of legal documents (Memorandum and Articles of Associateion) and their applicability during meetings, and to advise on as appropriate to ensure Advance HE's governance is adhered to at all times.
    • ensuring terms of reference and procedure rules are reviewed, updated and prperly discharged across Advance HE. 
    • facilitating the provision of timely information to Board and committee members so that they can maximise their ability to contribute to Board meetings and discussions and understand the work of Advance HE.
  • To ensure that all appointments to the Board and committees have been in accordance with statutory provisions and the Articles of Association.
  • To manage issues arising from any immediate or forthcoming vacancies and advising the Board on appropriate succession planning.
  • To implement those procedures which have been approved by the Board in accordance with the principle of transparency and open accountability; ensuring the Board’s decisions and instructions are properly communicated and carried out and ensuring professional servicing of the internal governance of AHE which includes the Directorate and other such meetings, cascading and following up key actions as appropriate.
  • To ensure professional and timely provision of Governance support engaging for key stakeholder groups.
  • To maintain a register of members’ interests.
  • To ensure the appropriate registers, minutes, papers and copies of the Memorandum and Articles of Association are available for public inspection.
  • To maintain all statutory files to a high standard.
  • To guide and support the Board and its committees in pre-empting and responding to any corporate governance issues.  This will include:
    • giving independent guidance on statutory and constitutional matters to the Board.
    • making available legal and/or professional advice to the Board and where necessary, individual Directors and trustees in relation to the discharge of their responsibilities.
    • leading the process of Board induction, updating and performance evaluation in consultation with the Chairmand and Chief Executive.
  • To ensure that all statutory returns, resolutions and forms are filed in a timely manner at Companies House, the Charity Commission and any other relevant external bodies.
  • To advise on and ensure compliance with statutory and other legal procedures and guidelines.
  • To lead on the production of the Trustees Annual Report for Statutory Accounts purposes.
  • To ensure that all licence renewals and applications are submitted as appropriate (e.g. Copyright and Newspaper Licensing).
  • To ensure up to date bank mandates are approved by the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee.
  • To lead AHE’s approach to strategic risk management, ensuring that the appropriate control mechanisms for risk management and review and in place at the strategic level and reported appropriately to the Board and Finance, Audit and Risk Committee.
  • To lead and manage the Corporate Support function ensuring the effective day to day running of the CEO, reception and facilities management over multiple office locations.  Continuously developing and reviewing corporate support to be as efficient and effective as possible to meet the organisations requirements.
  • To maintain the highest standards of probity, professionalism and integrity and to alert the Chief Executive or the Chair any matter which may bring the organisation’s honesty, goodwill, or name into disrepute, or may otherwise damage the reputation of the organisation.
  • To manage and support the performance and development of direct reports.
  • To lead, coordinate and manage organisation change through continuous improvement and development initiatives both internally and externally.
  • To contribute to setting, and then implement, the standards and expectations for ensuring high quality, outcome focussed, cost effective development and delivery of Corporate Support services.
  • To promote and champion cross functional working and work with managers to ensure the correct level of resource is in place.
  • To demonstrate, model and actively promote the values and culture of AHE.
  • To ensure the effective implementation and adherence to policies and procedures to meet its legal and moral obligations in respect of, but not limited to equality, diversity and inclusion; GDPR, health and safety; and Charity Commission requirements.
  • To deputise for the Director of Finance and Resources in their absence.
  • Any other duties commensurate with the level of the post.

Agreed objectives will be set and performance will be measured by results and how they are achieved.

Person specification

Knowledge and skills

  • A successful track record of leadership and management in complex environments, with experience of leading and managing a team and managing budgets
  • Thorough understanding of corporate governance and the laws that affect it
  • Strong working knowledge of corporate governance issues and best practice with the ability to apply these principles to a complex organisation
  • Membership of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) or currently undertaking the Chartered Secretary qualifying scheme
  • Experience working for CEO and Boards in a company secretarial role
  • Experience of delivering high quality, highly-regarded agile services, processes and systems to meet customer needs
  • Experience of minute taking, implementing the outcomes of meetings and decision points
  • Experience of producing, reviewing and communicating written reports
  • A strong commitment to excellent customer service
  • An understanding of the higher education sector
  • A successful track record of applying a creative, analytical, nuanced approach to identifying opportunities, and solving problems
  • Excellent communication, influencing and negotiating skills, underpinned by excellent listening skills
  • Experience of presenting to boards
  • A high attention to detail and a well-organised approach
  • Proficient in the use of computer, email, presentation, media and electronic systems

Personal characteristics 

  • A high degree of emotional intelligence
  • A collaborative and empowering personal style, helping to motivate and enthuse colleagues in meeting high standards and delivering client-focused outcomes whilst achieving deadlines.
  • A high degree of confidentiality.
  • Ability and willingness to provide constructive challenge and be assertive where required.
  • A solutions focussed approach.
  • Ability to work to strict deadlines and manage a wide range of duties and responsibilities efficiently.
  • Ability to influence and persuade others.
  • Able to work to under pressure to deadlines and conflicting priorities.
  • A passion for higher education and its pivotal societal role.
  • A commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • A dynamic personal approach embodying resilience, self-reliance, integrity, and adaption to new scenarios.
  • A personal commitment to providing an outstanding service.

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