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Senior Manager, Advocacy and Creative Programme

Are you driven by bringing people from across the globe – in all their diversity – into the centre of policy and decision-making? Have you experienced, first-hand, how the arts can bring about social transformation? Are you passionate about transforming systems and attitudes that entrench inequality? Do you possess exceptional strategic thinking, creativity and leadership skills? If you have a track record in managing international advocacy and creative programming and enjoy international relations, we invite you to join our dynamic team at the Commonwealth Foundation.

This position is only open to applicants with an existing right to work in the United Kingdom.

The organisation

The Commonwealth Foundation is mandated by its Member States to advance the interests of Commonwealth civil society. The Foundation seeks to nurture the growth of vibrant and free societies: championing the active and constructive participation of people in all aspects of governance. Our key focus areas are climate justice, health justice and freedom of expression. Our cross-cutting themes are gender equality, small and vulnerable states and young people.

The Foundation’s current Strategic Plan, which details what we are doing, how and why, can be accessed here. You can get a good idea of how we are currently working through our latest Annual Report.

The programme

The Advocacy and Creative Programme is central to our mission. While advocacy and creativity are two distinct strands of our work, this new programme signifies our commitment to integrating the arts into our advocacy and vice versa. Our advocacy work spans platforms such as the Critical Conversation series, the Commonwealth People’s Forum, the Climate Conference process and Commonwealth Ministerial meetings. Our creative programming includes the globally-recognised Commonwealth Short Story Prize and focuses on inspiring and connecting storytellers and artist-activists across the Commonwealth in pursuit of our principles and values.

The role

As Senior Manager, Advocacy and Creative Programme, you will have overall responsibility for the Advocacy and Creative Programme. Leading a diverse team of professionals, you will engage with policymakers, build partnerships with national and international entities, connect with storytellers and artists from around the world and play a pivotal role in designing, implementing, and overseeing events and engagements that will take you and your work to the global stage.

Your main responsibilities will include:

  • Strategic planning: Developing programme work plans for the advocacy and creative programme around the Foundation’s key thematic areas – climate justice, health justice and freedom of expression – and ensuring that our advocacy and creative work is intertwined.
  • Project management: Overseeing advocacy and creative initiatives, including planning, budgeting, execution, and learning.
  • Stakeholder engagement: Building and maintaining effective working relationships with civil society leaders, senior government officials, diplomats, storytellers and creative practitioners, and other relevant partners.
  • Convening civil society: Designing, convening, and nurturing spaces and platforms – both online and in-person – for civil society and artists to amplify their voice and work, discuss, debate and make recommendations for change.
  • Cross-programme collaboration: Collaborate with the wider-Foundation, particularly in harmonising our advocacy and creative work with the Foundation’s expanded programme of grants to Commonwealth civil society.
  • Event management: Designing and leading impactful platforms and events where civil society can come together and influence policymakers.
  • Team leadership: Managing a team of diverse, dedicated professionals, providing guidance and coaching, and fostering a collaborative work environment.
  • Monitoring and evaluation: Working with the wider team to track performance against our progress markers and collect evidence so that we can tell our story of change.
  • Reporting: Preparing reports for our board of governors and communicating programme progress and impact to our stakeholders.
  • Representing the Foundation: Attending and participating in meetings and events nationally and internationally.

The individual

We seek an individual with strong knowledge of international development and diplomacy, extensive experience in programme leadership and event management, and a demonstrated capacity to lead a high-performing team. An understanding of the power of art and creative expression is essential, preferably with experience of how the arts can bring about social change. Excellent communication and strategic thinking skills are essential, along with a highly practical, solutions-based mindset. Appropriate tertiary qualifications or additional experience in lieu of such qualifications are required.

The Senior Manager will possess, or be working towards, the competencies set out in the Foundation’s competency framework under the ‘Managers’ column. The Senior Manager will also demonstrate an understanding of, and commitment to the Foundation’s vision, mission and values.

What we offer

Salary expectation: £51,000- £55,000.

The Foundation is proud of our welcoming and accommodating working environment. We strive to be a great place to work.

We offer generous holidays (almost seven weeks a year excluding public holidays). Fifteen percent of your salary is payable tax-free at stipulated periods in lieu of a formal superannuation scheme.

Foundation staff have access to our private health scheme, including dental cover.

We are based in Marlborough House, Pall Mall, central London. We are currently operating a flexible working policy which requires all staff to work from the office at least five days per fortnight including every Wednesday, and applicants must be able to affirm their capacity and willingness to work within this policy.

Our commitment

The Foundation celebrates diversity, and we are proud of our diverse and welcoming team. All qualified applicants already eligible to work in the UK will receive consideration for employment without regard to disability, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital status or pregnancy.

If you need us to make any special accommodation in the recruitment and selection process because of a protected characteristic, please let us know.

The process

Interested candidates should apply online through the link below.

The application requires you to provide a comprehensive CV as well as a motivation letter that clearly addresses the criteria as outlined in the person specification and the competencies framework.

You must possess and declare the right to work in the UK at the time of application submission for your application to be considered.

Closing date for applications

Monday 25th September 2023, 1pm BST.


First-round interviews will be online on Monday 9th & Tuesday 10th October 2023

Second-round interviews will be held in person within two weeks of the first.

Application documents

Download Commonwealth Foundation Competency Bank Download Job Description: Senior Manager, Advocacy and Creative Programme
Deadline for applications
25 September 2023 12pm BST

Sorry, the applications for this position have now closed.

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