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Senior Programme Officer: Commonwealth Civil Society (Maternity Cover)

Please note that this position is Maternity Leave cover. The expected duration is one year.

The organisation

The Commonwealth Foundation was established by Heads of Government in 1965, reflecting the commitment of Member States to ensuring that the Commonwealth family would be as much an association of peoples as of governments. As one of the three intergovernmental pillars of the Commonwealth, the Foundation operates within that critical space between government and civil society. Our future focus is to:

  • Support the active and constructive participation of Commonwealth citizens in all aspects of their governance
  • Nurture the growth of vibrant and free civil societies in all Commonwealth countries
  • Advance the principles and ideals of the Commonwealth.

The Foundation’s work is delivered through three core programmes: Commonwealth Civil Society, Creative Commonwealth and People of the Commonwealth.

 Commonwealth Civil Society

The Commonwealth Civil Society (CCS) programme works to contribute to vibrant and free civil societies across the Commonwealth by enabling citizens to constructively engage in core aspects of their governance in pursuit of the values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter.

The programme combines flexible grant-making with capacity development approaches, applying both rigour and flexibility to widen access, especially for civil society groups in small and vulnerable States.

The programme has two streams:

CCS Grants continues the current competitive open call, offering grants to civil society organisations (CSOs) for projects that seek to advance Commonwealth ideals and principles within the broad framework of ‘participatory governance’. CSOs will be supported to advance their organisational advocacy priorities and constructively engage in multi-layered policy processes.

CCS Capacity Development works to strengthen civil society organisations in small and vulnerable Commonwealth States and their capacity to influence policy processes through a combination of grant-making and tailored assistance.

The Senior Programme Officer

The Senior Programme Officer (SPO) will have responsibilities on the two CCS programme streams alongside duties to manage the legacy grants. Working under the supervision of the SPM, the SPO will be involved in refining existing systems and processes and shaping new ones to ensure the programme contributes to the Foundation’s vision and mission.

Establishing and maintaining strong working relations with partners, and with collaborating individuals and organisations, will be a key part of the role.

The SPO will be involved in other areas of the Foundation’s work relevant to their experience and expertise and organisational requirements.

Key responsibilities include:

Programme, grant and activity management

  • Participate in the grants review to ensure selected grants are responsible, professional, financially sound, participatory, sensitive to local needs, culture and politics and in accordance with Foundation policies and procedures
  • Manage a portfolio of grant projects and other specific elements of the CCS portfolio, supporting the SPM and other programme officers as required
  • Contribute to all planning processes for CCS including annual planning
  • Prepare and write progress and annual reports, annual workplans, project reports and other documents
  • Assume responsibility for delegated elements of the programme budget: monitoring budget allocation and expenditure
  • Build cooperative relationships with grant partners and other key external partners to support them and advance the objectives of the programme
  • Ensure that Foundation cross-cutting priorities – most especially gender and inclusion – are integrated into all programme work and procedures, including MEL systems and reporting
  • Contribute to the design, development and running of workshops/webinars for partners and colleagues
  • Represent the Foundation at meetings, functions, and events, some of which may occur outside normal office hours and may involve travel

Internal collaboration and cooperation

  • Contribute to the Foundation’s MEL in compliance with the organisation-wide approach and in close collaboration and coordination with the Senior Programme Officer, MEL
  • Identify opportunities to collaborate with the other programmes to maximise efforts towards the Foundation’s vision and mission.

Whole-of-Foundation support

  • Contribute to whole-of-Foundation initiatives as requested
  • Actively and creatively contribute to strategic and long-range planning
  • Perform any other reasonable duties and tasks as requested by the Foundation

Closing date:

20 September 2021, 1pm GMT


Week of 1 October 2021

Ideal start date:

18 October 2021


  • Salary — £35,000 pa
  • 15% of gross salary in a tax-free gratuity payment, payable at end of the contract
  • Holiday allowance of 30 days (plus 8 bank holidays and 4 privilege days) per 12 months
  • Learning opportunities at the Foundation for career development


Please provide a covering letter, CV and copy of proof of right to work in the UK using the application form found on this page.

We expect your covering letter to demonstrate how your experience meets the requirements of the role and the Foundation’s values. When writing it please refer to the above and information found in the job description, competencies set out in the attached annex under the ‘officers’ column. Each of these resources can be downloaded below.

Job Description: Senior Programme Officer, Commonwealth Civil Society Commonwealth Foundation Competency Bank
Deadline for applications
20 September 2021 1pm BST

Sorry, the applications for this position have now closed.

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