Chief Operating Officer

Job Description

Job summary

This vital role will have a major impact on the delivery of the Secretariat’s
operations. As Head of IT section, the post holder is responsible for the proactive
strategic development and operational implementation of all aspects of the
Secretariat’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The Head of IT
Section will ensure that the right level of ICT resource, support and development is
in place to best equip the Secretariat to deliver its business activities, strategic
objectives and help to develop a culture which sees ICT as a key strategic enabling
Additionally, the role will ensure that ICT governance processes are maintained
including the smooth functioning of the ICT Steering Committee, and, that ICT
projects are managed in line with a common process and delivered as planned, to
budget and time scales.

Task description

The post-holder will:
 Develop and implement appropriate ICT strategy that can best support the
delivery of the Secretariat’s strategic objectives and business activities by
ascertaining relevant business needs and identifying ICT structure, resources and
solutions that could help support these needs.
 Manage the execution and development of all major ICT projects and activities
by using proven project management tools and skills.

Analyse the business requirements of all Divisions to determine their
technological needs
 Manage the deployment, development, monitoring, maintenance, upgrading and
support of organisational IT systems. This will include operating systems, servers,
PC’s, software, business applications, telephony and peripherals.
 Provide consolidated regular reporting on ICT performance indicators to senior
management, and be responsible for developing the organisations ICT governance
 Prepare an annual IT Work Plan within the broader IT Strategic Framework and
organisational Strategic Plan, and budgets for its implementation and ongoing
operational costs.
 Develop standard operating procedures allied to best practice, and ensure
written protocols and guidelines are provided for IT staff and all end-users
 Ensure written documentation is created and maintained, to include user and
system manuals, licence agreements and all documentation relating to
modifications and upgrades.
 Liaise regularly with executive and senior management as well as systems users
regarding ICT operations and development.
 Manage the continued availability of IT systems and services and ensure that the
IT aspects of business continuity and disaster recovery are adequately provided
and tested.
 Monitor and manage the IT and cyber security landscape to ensure that the
Secretariat is appropriately protected against cyber threats.
 Assist with IT related submissions on a variety of intra-Secretariat matters,
including briefs for the Secretary-General and other members of the senior
management group.
 Keep up-to-date with technological development and advise on how new
technological solutions and their implementation will meet business
requirements and strategic outcomes.
 Manage service providers and the related contractual relationships.
 Manage direct reports, with a particular emphasis on mentoring and development
to help support the best long-term development of the Secretariat’s ICT solutions
and operations.
 Adhere to the Gender Equality values of the Commonwealth as enshrined in the
Charter and Secretariat’s Gender Equality Policy.
 Perform any other duties that may be required from time to time.

Person Specification


 First degree in in Computer Science or related field and a postgraduate
degree in a relevant field
 ITIL (IT infrastructure library) certified


 Certified project manager e.g. PRINCE2 or equivalent certification
 MCSE certified


Minimum of ten years’ middle to senior management experience working in
an IT function, with at least 5 years experience of managing a
mutildisciplinary team of experts/specialists in IT systems and applications.
 Experience in report and strategy development and implementation.
 Significant experience in systems analysis, systems development and systems
 Solid technical expertise and understanding of relevant technology in all
areas of responsibility.
 Significant senior IT business management experience, managerial maturity
and commitment to influence thinking at all levels within the organisation to
deliver the effective IT systems.
 Significant direct experience in management of ICT in relation to network
operations, applications management and web based technology / new media
solutions e.g. social networking technologies.
 Experience in managing third party providers against agreed service level
agreements in a partner performance management framework.


Respect for Diversity

Works effectively with people from all backgrounds.
Treats all people with dignity and respect. Treats men and women equally.
Shows respect and understanding of diverse points of view and demonstrates
understanding in daily work and decision making.
Examine own biases and behaviours to avoid stereotypical responses and does not
discriminate against any individual or group.
Encourages others to evaluate systems, processes & behaviour to ensure respect for
diversity is demonstrated
Working with Others
Manages conflict and works towards mutual solutions
Identifies organisations with which to partner for specific solutions
Encourages others and provides them with the autonomy to pursue relationships
Uses personal influence to establish compromise and agreement when faced with
Demonstrates balance between directness and diplomacy in negotiations
Uses influence to persuade partners and third parties toward Commonwealth
Secretariat aims
Encourages and supports others in demonstrating cultural awareness when working
with others

Managing Resources

Manages programme and cross team activities against specific objectives/results
Manages available resources in order to meet objectives e.g. by effective and
efficient use of budget inter alia
Identifies the best method and resources when high level course of action has been
Analyses available resources and what activity they will enable
Takes responsibility for multi team/programme activities
Manages diverse motivations of a range of groups in large scale programmes

Decision Making

Determines what can be realistically achieved when deciding on strategic solutions
Is proactive and responsive in making decisions on complex, technical issues based
on appropriate information
Considers the relevant justifications for a particular course of action
Takes context into consideration when making decisions
Makes effective decisions when acting on behalf of a senior colleague, seeking advice
where appropriate
Bases actions and approaches on the root cause of an issue, rather than the symptoms


Takes ownership of assigned tasks, honours deadlines.
Ensures timely delivery of outputs within defined cost and quality standard
Takes responsibility for own shortcomings and compliances.
Supports subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for all delegated

Leadership & Development

Reinforces vision throughout organisation e.g. by acting accordingly inter alia
Identifies and develops leadership skills in others
Empowers others to take control of their own development and progression
Offers sound guidance and direction on complex and critical issues
Maximises the potential of others e.g. by creating suitable opportunities for
development inter alia