Operations Director

Chinnor, Oxfordshire
From £39,424 to £42,094
16 May 2019
14 Jun 2019
Operations Director
Full Time
Contract Type

Person specification

This role will allow you the variety to combine strategic leadership, operational management and some hands-on activity.

As a leader with proven operational management experience, you will understand the importance of maintaining optimum levels of readiness for an organisation which has an emergency response capacity.  This means, the skills and confidence you have will help you drive and navigate MapAction through the changes it will need, to implement its new strategy.  An excellent communicator with great interpersonal skills, you can motivate staff and volunteers alike, to exceed expectations whilst maintaining and developing agreed standards and practices. MapAction’s exceptional volunteer membership will benefit from your support and guidance to build upon their tradition of outstanding humanitarian service. Having either a good understanding of information management in humanitarian contexts or extensive knowledge of practical applications of geospatial technologies will make you an excellent candidate for the role.

Main Responsibilities

You’ll be responsible for developing the organisation’s operational strategy and delivering all aspects of the organisation’s operational capability. Having responsibility for an exceptionally motivated team made up of both regular and stand-by staff and highly trained volunteers, you will ensure that all team members are appropriately trained and prepared to deliver both emergency response and training services. By working closely with MapAction’s Technical Team, you will ensure the technologies used are appropriate and effective. Job satisfaction will come from working with committed and passionate staff and volunteers alike, all working towards common humanitarian outcomes. You will nurture excellent partnerships with external organisations in the humanitarian and geospatial sectors. Whilst doing the above you will also translate and apply MapAction’s new strategy to ensure its service offer meets and exceeds future humanitarian needs.

Key Activities

Functional capability

  • Lead the development and implementation of operational strategies and plans in support of MapAction’s five-year strategic objectives.
  • Ensure the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework and maintain full operations oversight, ensuring user needs are met through this framework.
  • Ensure health, safety and security needs for field deployments are coordinated and be responsible for security management of deployments with the support of operations staff.
  • Ensure mobilisation and field work is coordinated and, when required, deploy into the field - leading the team in short emergency and planned operations.
  • Work closely with the Technical function and internal working groups to ensure MapAction makes optimum use of latest technologies where appropriate, including those outside the areas which MapAction currently focuses on.
  • Ensure that suitable tools, processes, procedures and training are in place to support field operations.

Volunteer and Transition Team recruitment, training and support

  • Recruit and maintain the volunteer and transition team, ensuring it is operationally ready at all times.
  • Through the Head of Training and internal working groups, ensure a competency-based training framework is established for the organisation.
  • Provide leadership input to training events.
  • Provide support to volunteer and transition team as required and line management of missions ensuring appropriate briefing and debriefing.

Innovation and Learning

  • Foster an environment that encourages innovation and evolution of our service offer, including identifying and promoting partnerships and networks to achieve this.
  • Support monitoring, evaluation and learning, working closely with the Head of Training and internal working groups to achieve this
  • Keep up to date with developments in the external environment building effective working relationships externally with key stakeholders and bringing lessons from these to MapAction.


  • Provide strategic leadership to the organisation through participation in the Management Team and through the development of plans and strategies for MapAction’s operations. 
  • Lead the operational team providing support to direct reports to deliver on and excel in their roles.
  • Be responsible for the operations budget, working closely with the Finance function.
  • Take part in donor relations activities as required and input to donor reporting as needed.
  • Deputise for the Chief Executive as requested.
  • Actively participate on working groups, projects, networks and events where appropriate.
  • Participate in team meetings, deliver updates and assist in developing and implementing projects and initiatives to support the achievement of Map Action’s targets.
  • Act at all times in the best interests of MapAction while continually promoting the vision and mission within all sections of the community, as well as the media and/or at appropriate events as agreed.
  • Carry out any other reasonable tasks within the scope of the role as agreed.
  • As required assist with the practicalities of getting teams to and from airports for emergencies and help with the logistics of training events. This responsibility is shared by all staff.

Direct Reports

  • Volunteer and transition team
  • Head of Training
  • Head of Logistics
  • Mission Support Director
  • Geospatial Services Coordinator
  • Geospatial Analyst
  • Preparedness Coordinator

Key Competencies


  1. Five years or more operational management experience and demonstrable skills, with a practical “get it done” approach
  2. Team leadership experience, strong motivational qualities in working with volunteers and staff.
  3. Technical expertise in at least one of the following:  data and information management, humanitarian contexts, geospatial technologies.
  4. Ability to deal with ambiguity, use judgement in challenging circumstances, think laterally and be creative.
  5. Self-starter with experience of working to deadlines and prioritise a diverse workload effectively under pressure
  6. Positive team player - goes the extra mile, experience of collaborative working with ability to initiate, develop and sustain positive and productive working relationships with a wide range of people.
  7. Project management, report writing and budget management experience, experience with restricted grants.
  8. Strong commitment to MapAction’s mission and values
  9. Good IT skills and experience of shared knowledge management platforms.
  10. Ability and willingness to travel, including being deployed at short notice to humanitarian locations

Additional Information

  • This role is full-time (37.5 hours a week)
  • Flexibility and willingness to work outside office hours including evening and weekends, attending monthly weekend training events.
  • Must have the right to live and work in the UK (MapAction is unable to consider candidates who do not already hold appropriate permissions)
  • The job holder will be required to work from the MapAction offices
  • Must have a full, clean driving licence and access to a car.


MapAction (mapaction.org) is a small and dynamic volunteer-based charity using geospatial technologies to support international humanitarian response coordination and operational effectiveness for humanitarian responders. This mapped information helps responders target their response effectively, contributing to saving lives and minimising suffering. MapAction is in the process of revising its strategy for the next five years to ensure it can adapt to the needs of service users around the world. It has built a strong reputation in the humanitarian sector and is a technical partner of the United Nations and regional emergency management agencies. We are seeking to widen our partnerships with other responders and technical partners and strengthen our technical offer. The charity has attracted funding from UK Department for International Development (DFID), Office of the U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the European Commission and other major donors. HRH Prince Henry of Wales has been the charity’s patron since 2007.

Equal Opportunities Policy

MapAction is an Equal Opportunities employer. All employees have a personal responsibility to promote and support measures designed to create a working environment which is free from harassment or discrimination on the grounds of gender, marital status, family status, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, membership of the Travellers community or HIV&AIDS status.

This job description is not incorporated in the employment contract. It is intended as a guide and should not be viewed as an inflexible specification as it may be varied from time to time in the light of strategic developments and following discussion with the post holder. The post holder will be expected to work to agreed objectives, which should facilitate achievement of the responsibilities in accordance with the performance review process.

How to apply

Please send an expression of interest for this role to recruiting@mapaction.org by 14th June 2019.  Please forward

  • a cv
  • covering letter identifying how you meet the essential and desirable competencies
  • a statement of up to 500 words, that demonstrates your experience in one or more of the following: good understanding of information management in humanitarian contexts or extensive knowledge of practical applications of geospatial technologies.

A recruitment panel will review all applications and interviews will take place on 3rd July 2019 in Chinnor, Oxon.

If you would like to discuss the role prior to applying then please contact us by email at recruiting@mapaction.org or telephone 01494 568899.

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