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The Commonwealth

Job Title: Adviser and Head, Deputy Secretary-General Division: Secretary-General’s Office (SGO) Grade: F

Reports To: Deputy Secretary-General (DSG)

Introduction The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent and equal sovereign states. Its unique strength lies in the combination of its diversity and shared inheritance. Spanning five regions globally, it includes some of the world’s largest, smallest, richest, and poorest countries; 31 of its members are small states, many of them island nations. The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion citizens, of which 60% are under the age of 30.

The Commonwealth Secretariat in London is the principal intergovernmental agency of the Commonwealth and its backbone, promoting democracy, rule of law, human rights, good governance, and social and economic development. Reflective of its membership, it is a voice for small states and a champion for youth employment. The Secretariat convenes summits and high-level meetings; executes plans agreed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government; promotes Commonwealth values and principles; and facilitates the work of the Commonwealth family of organisations.     The Deputy Secretary-General assists the Secretary-General in managing the operations of the Secretariat in all areas, and acts for the Secretary-General at the Secretariat and in other cases as decided by the Secretary-General.  The Deputy Secretary-General’s remit includes oversight of the Directorates of Economic Youth and Sustainable Development, Trade, Oceans and Natural Resources, and a broad range of corporate business services.   

Job summary

The post-holder will advise and provide direct support to the DSG on a full range of topics within the DSG’s remit, in particular project management and high level committee support, along with management and co-ordination of the activities of the Deputy Secretary General’s staff and areas of responsibility. 

Task description 

• Advise and provide direct, proactive support and coordination to the DSG across the full range of areas within the DSG’s remit   

• Act as the secretary to key committees, most notably the Project Management Committee and the Development Affairs Committee, ensuring that Committee decisions are implemented and deliverables required by the Committees are delivered on time and to the required standard;   

• Co-ordinate relevant teams to produce deliverables required by the Committees;   

• Ensure that matters placed for the DSG’s consideration have been reviewed at the correct level and to the required standard, in line with the requirements of Secretariat processes and polices     

• Provide guidance and communication on resource re-allocation and mobilisation;   

• Document and quality-assure business cases to re-allocate funds;   

• Coordinate and draft the required input for any papers, correspondence or presentations as and when required by the DSG 

• Prepare consolidated papers and documents for Board and Sub-Committees of Board   

• Coordinate the preparation of special funds (CFTC related) performance and briefing documents   

• Initiate and deliver time-bound, results-oriented discreet projects as directed;     

• Line manage staff in the DSG’s office;   

• Manage budgets as directed by the DSG;   

• Adhere to the Gender Equality values of the Commonwealth as enshrined in the Charter and Secretariat’s Gender Equality Policy.   

• Any other relevant responsibilities as may be assigned by the DSG.   

Person specification   

Education / Qualifications   

• Master’s Degree or an equivalent post-graduate qualification in Management, Public Policy, or a related discipline.   

• Specialist training and knowledge of project/programme management methods, for example Prince2, PMP,MSP, P3Oor equivalent would be an advantage



  • At least 10 years’ working experience in one or more of the following areas: project management, planning, monitoring, budgeting, evaluation, and coordination of the offices of senior government officials or ministers
  • Experience of providing pro-active, high level support to senior officials in an international organisation
  • Experience of project management and applying project management methodologies, including technical and complex IT projects, ideally in an international organisation.
  • Experience of successful application of budgeting and resource allocation procedures.
  • Experience of operating in a fast paced environment and delivering quality results within short timescales.
  • Experience of pre-empting and solving complex project and administrative related problems.
  • Proven track record in a role requiring high political awareness and the ability to work with the utmost tact and discretion
  • Experience of working effectively and collaborating with colleagues at all levels as well as senior officials from member countries and other international organisations.
  • Experience in developing project performance indicators, quality control mechanisms, and project risk management.
  • Experience in managing and supervising staff.


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 conflict. 

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. 

Planning and Analysis
Effectively assesses and advises on major programmes/activities at a directorate level.

Balances focus in order to deliver both Commonwealth Secretariat and member states’ goals. 

Ability to interpret incomplete and/or ambiguous information. 

Effectively analyses and assesses new or uncertain critical information. 


Mentors a number of employees at a senior level. 

Recognises the talent in the Section, seeking to develop, support, and grow it. 

Directs the energy of the Section towards a common goal. 

Provides an example to others demonstrating moral courage in the face of challenging circumstances. 

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 of delivery and resources when high level course of action has been identified. 

Analyses available resources and what activity they will enable.  Takes responsibility for multi team/programme activities. 

Adapting and Innovating

Identifies opportunities to improve sectional operations and effectively gains buyin. 

Evaluates impact of improvement initiatives. 

Keeps abreast of developments in area of work and take a proactive approach to adopt or adapt innovative ideas and methods 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. 


Takes ownership of assigned tasks, honours deadlines.   

Ensures timely delivery of outputs within defined cost and quality standard parameters.   

Takes responsibility for own shortcomings and compliances.   

Supports subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for all delegated assignments. 

Leadership & Development

Reinforces vision throughout section and directorate 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. 


The job description and person specification detail information on the division/unit, and the educational qualifications, experience and competencies required for the post. A summary of the terms and conditions for this post is also made available to you.

  • You must be a national of a Commonwealth Country. You will be required to provide evidence of this if you are shortlisted for the post.
  • It is the Commonwealth Secretariat’s policy not to employ close relatives of current members of staff.
  • All appointments are subject to satisfactory references. You will be required to provide details of three referees, one of whom should be your current or most recent employer and one for your employer prior to that, ensuring that you account for the last two years of your employment history in your application. Referees should not be related to you and should be able to give an assessment of your professional abilities as well as your character. The secretariat reserves the right to take up all references including the current employers during the selection process.
  • You will be required to produce evidence of any educational and professional qualifications to support your application on the day of your interview.
  • Salary on appointment is £73,171 per annum. This is subject to the deduction of internal income tax (currently aligned with UK income tax rates) and UK National Insurance contributions (from which overseas-recruited Diplomatic staff members are exempt).
  • The Commonwealth Secretariat’s retirement age is 65. You are expected to be able to serve a minimum 3 year term before your retirement age.

If you wish to be considered for this post, please ensure that you submit your curriculum vitae together with a covering letter setting out your experience and skills in relation to the person specification, competencies and other requirements for the post. Your application should be received no later than Friday 25 September 2020 at 17:00 BST.

Applications should be made via our online application system at

Thank you for your interest in working at the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The Recruitment Team The Commonwealth Secretariat E-mail: