United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Deputy Regional Director (Operations and Management)

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Job Description

The Deputy Regional Director (Operations and Management) supports the Regional Director in managing and providing strategic direction in the regional functional areas of operations, risk management, resource mobilization, human resources, staff well-being, and Partnerships. The incumbent advises the Regional Director on matters relating to global and regional policy and initiatives pertaining to the above-mentioned functional areas and their implementation in the Regional Office and Country Offices as per established systems, while providing technical oversight and direction to Country Offices senior managers, in particular the Deputy Representative-Operations. In close coordination with the Deputy Regional Director (Programmes), the incumbent represents the Regional Director within and outside the United Nations system, as required.

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, a future.

UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) covers 21 countries with diverse country typologies ranging from high-middle income country to chronic humanitarian contexts. The countries in this region have some of the fastest growing populations in the world; one of the highest unemployment rates in the world; unacceptably high rate of children affected by multi-dimensional child poverty; a rapidly expanding urban population; and an increasingly marked impacts of climate change. The region accounts for approximately USD 1.2 billion in throughput, about 27% of it in humanitarian expenditure. The region employs 3035 (as of September 2020) UNICEF staff members in its Country Offices (COs) and the Regional Office (RO).

ESARO’s core roles/functions consist of representation; oversight; quality assurance; technical assistance; intellectual leadership; governance and management; and partnerships and United Nations coherence, as defined in its Regional Office Management Plan. Within these core roles/functions, the RO’s main portfolio consists of the following: (1) Support to COs in the design and delivery of programmes that are fit-for-purpose, affordable and deliver results at scale; (2) Creating an enabling environment for the COs for at-scale delivery of results in countries through generation of evidence, tools, guidelines and partnerships; (3) Improving operations effectiveness and efficiency of the Regional Office and the COs, including in governance and management.

How can you make a difference?

The Deputy Regional Director (Operations and Management) supports the Regional Director in managing and providing strategic direction in the regional functional areas of operations, risk management, resource mobilization, human resources, staff well-being, and Partnerships. The incumbent advises the Regional Director on matters relating to global and regional policy and initiatives pertaining to the above-mentioned functional areas and their implementation in the Regional Office and Country Offices as per established systems, while providing technical oversight and direction to Country Offices senior managers, in particular the Deputy Representative-Operations. In close coordination with the Deputy Regional Director (Programmes), the incumbent represents the Regional Director within and outside the United Nations system, as required.

Major duties and accountabilities include: 1. Lead, manage and develop people resources to promote technical competence and foster career progression and retention of a “fit for purpose”/ agile workforce:

  • Champion an environment of management excellence and staff well-being through implementation of HR strategy, policies, regulations and rules, including with a focus on culture change and measures to enhance nurturing of staff at all levels.
  • Provide proactive solutions and regional expert advice to the Regional Management Team (RMT) on staff management and office culture.
  • Define and foster management behaviors that focus on delivering results for children, whilst balancing risk informed decisions, policy compliance and flexibility through which partners’ needs are reliably addressed, to create an avenue for the greatest results.
  • Ensure human resources development strategies and requisite training plans bring about changes in knowledge, skills, abilities and mind sets for staff across functions and offices.
  • Keep abreast of industry standards in management and finance. Institutionalize and share best practices and knowledge learned with global colleagues to contribute to organizational development initiatives to strengthen management and other functions.
  • Promote and support Excellence in Operations and other functions by refining the evolving profession in UNICEF derived from the five strategic pillars.
 2. Champion strategic resources management to achieve organizational goals and ensure Value for Money (VfM):

  • Execute regional strategies to optimize use of resources across Value for Money (VfM) areas, including eco-efficiency and inclusivity, common premises, costing, results-based budgeting, financial monitoring, etc.
  • Advise and enhance knowledge of Business Units and Senior Leadership on their role in generating VfM with the goal of strategically expanding its use to major UNICEF functions.
  • Lead the financial oversight, monitoring and reporting of regional budgets - and where applicable public and private sector fundraising budgets; make Analysis and recommendations for Regional Director and Deputy Regional Director – Programmes to take risk informed decisions.
  • Advise and lead in resources management through programme financing modalities such as budgeting and pre-financing modalities for supplies, cash-based transfer, etc. along with key regional counterparts and/or governments partners as appropriate.
3. Enhance Risk Management to increase organizational performance and strengthen internal control:

  • Serve as the Comptroller’s designated focal person on regional internal controls, risk management and fiduciary management within the limits of delegated authority
  • Ensure the region is equipped with the right skills and up-to-date information to make operational and programme risk informed decisions and improve performance, with the support of the enterprise Governance, Risk and Compliance (eGRC) platform.
  • Maintain and protect UNICEF organizational resilience and enhance staff safety and security by ensuring operational disaster risks address threats through well-formulated and tested business continuity plans and Emergency Preparedness and Response to humanitarian situations.
  • Provide feedback on new policy, procedures and internal controls to Policy owners in HQ Divisions as appropriate.
  • Review internal controls and policies/guidance included in the Regulatory Framework, provide regional oversight of appropriate implementation of policies and procedures and work with relevant HQ Divisions to formulate policy and internal controls change propositions as appropriate.
  • Identify and implement mandatory anti-fraud systems, processes and actions, and share anti-fraud achievements within the regional and country offices.
  • Advise on mitigation of risks of engagement with external partners via appropriate, risk-informed due diligence (where appropriate)
  • Support and advise regional and country offices in areas of governance and oversight through peer reviews and/or during external and internal audits, while responding to audit observations and monitoring the implementation of recommendations as appropriate.
4. Ensure operational optimization for maximized efficiency gains in the regional and country offices:

  • Provide technical advice and support in contributing to decisions making on budgets and operational issues during the deliberations in corporate committees (PBR, RMTs, etc.), and ensure timely submission of all required consolidated documentation.
  • Lead the analysis and review of key business processes to minimize cost, simplify and reduce duplication of work and maximize efficiencies while creating an environment of smart controls, to render the organization agile, resilient and ready to respond to programme needs.
  • Identify/implement ways to shift mindset of staff to optimize systems, explore new ways of working - including in the context of UN Reform – and continuously improve IT-enabled business processes to increase productivity and collaboration, better knowledge management, and ensure effective use of UNICEF assets.
  • Engage stakeholders in the UN Reform, supporting country offices achievements in Business Operating Services (BOS) and proactively paving the way for a potential “one back office” in country offices.
5. Strengthen UNICEF’s oversight and understanding of programmatic financial management in the region:

  • Advise on strategies for establishment and maintenance of effective government counterpart relations, including collaboration for effective implementation of programmes and resolution of issues pertaining to conditions of service, operational facilities and privileges within the context of the Basic Cooperation Agreement.
  • Ensure a comprehensive regional strategy is in place and implemented to enhance capacity of government counterparts and other partners in adherence to UNICEF financial regulations and rules pertaining to Cash Assistance.
6. Guide expanded public and private partnerships and resource mobilization in the region:

  • Based on the resource mobilization and partnership needs of the region, as well as the donor landscape, provide guidance and leadership on the strategic direction for partner engagement (both public and private), and lead the establishment of systems and processes for the region to promote transparency, accountability and efficiencies throughout the engagement.
  • Explore proactively opportunities to engage private sector partnerships in the region and foster a positive and enabling operations environment that supports private sector fundraising and solution-focused engagement (where applicable).
7. Provide strategic guidance, oversight and collaboration in achieving results:

  • Supervise selected Regional Office staff and serve as the first Reporting Officer of UNICEF selected Regional Advisers in the regional office.
  • Provide oversight, support and guidance to Deputy Representatives – Operations in Country Offices
  • Oversee the management and programme effectiveness and efficiency of the Johannesburg Hub
  • Promote dialogue on operational resilience and business continuity at the regional and country levels
 To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • An Advanced University Degree (Master’s and above) in one of the following areas is required: Business Administration; Financial management; Accounting; Public Finance; and/or related operations functions.
  • A minimum of 13 years of professional experience, at the national and international level, is required, specifically in advocating and implementing strategic organizational initiatives in one or more management areas including budget; financial management and reporting; Facilities Management; administration; human resources; staff well-being; and partnerships. The last four (4) years should be at a senior management level with wide range accountabilities and/or cross functional responsibilities.
  • Oral and written proficiency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language or a local language is an asset.
Person Profile:

  • Additional experience in one or more of the following areas, would be desired: Audit and Investigations, Safety and Security, Grant Management, Enterprise Risk Management.
  • Experience in a UN system agency, large private or public company, or experience working in a developing country and/or humanitarian/ emergency context is an asset.
  • Experience in working with corporate ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning) and IPSAS (International Public Sector Accounting Standards) is highly desirable.
  • Experience in Results Based Management is a requirement while experience in managing successful client-oriented work units is an asset.
  • Prior experience in working with diverse and executive level stakeholder groups or multi-stakeholder partnerships and co-creating policy is highly desirable.
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office applications is required.
  • Excellent managerial, interpersonal and leadership skills with demonstrated ability to coach, mentor and motivate staff and foster a positive working environment within the Regional Office.
  • Ability to build consensus and form alliances and inspiring others to form alliances for concerted actions.
For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

Competencies:
  • Builds and maintains partnerships (III)
  • Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (III)
  • Drive to achieve results for impact (III)
  • Innovates and embraces change (III)
  • Manages ambiguity and complexity (III)
  • Thinks and acts strategically (III)
  • Works collaboratively with others (III)
  • Nurtures, leads and manages people (III)
  UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.

Remarks:

Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

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