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Counter Terrorism and Extremism Network Executive Assistant at British Government

The British Government is an inclusive and diversity-friendly employer.  We value difference, promote equality and challenge discrimination, enhancing our organisational capability. We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds. We do not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, colour, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status or other category protected by law. We promote family-friendly flexible working opportunities, where operational and security needs allow.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Policy & Political roles)

Main Purpose of Job:

The successful candidate will act as Executive Assistant to the Sub Saharan Africa Counter Terrorism and Extremism Network (CTEN). He/she will be responsible for the smooth functioning of the network across all of Sub Saharan Africa (16+ countries), including handling central commissions and briefing requests, acting as Secretariat for network meetings including senior regional cross-HMG Board meetings, convening a major annual regional CTEN conference, managing the administrative (travel and training) budget for the network, and acting as PA to the Head of the Network (including email management and diary planning). He/she will also provide wider programme support to teams across the network as needed, surging in where teams have gaps or are facing additional demands.

This is a critical role for the CTEN network, as it is the ‘engine’ behind the smooth running of the network. It would suit someone who works well independently, can build productive networks across multiple countries and government departments, can put in place and manage strong systems and monitoring mechanisms, and can provide a high level of executive support to the SMS1 head of the network (including full management of emails, given the frequency with which the Network Head travels). It provides an opportunity to support a high profile foreign policy priority by helping tackle terrorism in line with international human rights standards. The successful applicant will have an interest in security and justice issues and be able to work in a fast paced environment and be able to deal responsibly with sensitive information.

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Put in place and run a system to manage central commissions from London, coordinating inputs, tracking replies and submitting responses within deadlines. To include putting in place and implementing a system to manage regular financial and narrative reporting from Posts in line with CSSF/CTPF requirements
  • Act as Secretariat for CTEN Sub Saharan Africa meetings, setting up schedules and meeting arrangements, preparing and circulating agendas and background papers in advance, managing attendance, providing meeting records and following up on actions – to include Secretariat for the Sub Saharan Africa Regional CT/CVE Board and the Counter Al Shabaab Strategy Board
  • Set up and manage the annual regional CTEN Conference (70+ participants from across Sub Saharan Africa and capitals, internal/external participants) including handling logistics, venue, agenda, presentations and follow up
  • Build and maintain productive relations across the CTEN network, maintaining a network ‘map’ of key contacts, and providing support as needed, including arrangements for CTEN visits to partner countries, host nation study tours to London, and programme management support where needed – eg during CT programme officer breather breaks/gaps, or periods of additional demand such as CT crises. (This may require occasional travel to other Posts. The officer should undergo CTPF programme management training and CT crisis training for this role)
  • Acting as Executive Assistant to the SMS1 Head of the CTEN – who travels frequently and extensively – including effective diary management, email handling, and facilitating travel and meeting requirements. This includes identifying and acting on urgent commissions that arise on behalf of the  Hub Head during her absences, flagging issues to the Hub Head that need their immediate attention while travelling, and delegating workstreams to others in the network as appropriate. This is a significant responsibility given the periods of Hub Head absence, and will require a sufficient level of experience, sound judgment and security awareness..
  • Oversee and manage the CTEN Sub Saharan Africa Travel and Administration budgets (approx. £100,000), including forecasting requirements, approving and monitoring spend.
  • Manage recruitment into the network, monitoring start/end dates for CTEN roles across the Network, ensuring that job descriptions are submitted in good time for recruitment boards, and setting up recruitment panels
  • Ensure Network has basic ‘housekeeping’ in place including maintaining an updated call tree for Nairobi, ensuring that the office in Chancery is cleaned and maintained, with working facilities and supplies.

Resources managed:

Oversight of CTEN Admin budget and regional travel budget (£ 100,000)

Oversight of CTEN annual conference budget

  • Security clearance (existing or ability to be cleared to DV/SC)
  • Demonstrated ability to put in place strong organisational systems
  • Experience in setting up and managing meetings and/or events
  • Sufficient knowledge and experience of public sector to be able to manage SMS1 emails and work commissions
  • Ability to work independently and use initiative to solve problems
  • Ability to plan ahead and prioritise effectively
  • Excellent IT and communication skills
  • Ability to produce clear and accurate work with attention to detail
  • Ability to meet deadlines in a fast paced environment
  • Strong team work/willingness to support colleagues when under pressure and able to contribute to cross-team working
  • A flexible and proactive approach
  • Previous experience of working in a large organisation or network
  • Previous experience as an Executive Assistant or managing a network
  • Previous experience as a project officer or in managing public sector resources

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