Appointment of the Director of Human Resources


Thank you for expressing an interest in the role of Director of Human Resources.

The University of Bedfordshire is an internationally recognised, award-winning institution with an excellent academic and teaching reputation. It is ranked as one of the top 250 universities in the world under 50 years old in the Young University rankings and renowned for its vibrant and cosmopolitan student population that includes more than 20,000 students from over 100 countries. It is a modern university that offers a wide range of degree courses that are tailored to meet the needs of its students, providing them with transformational opportunities through access to an excellent educational experience.

Bedfordshire is also leading the way in expanding educational opportunity; more than half its students come from lower socio-economic backgrounds or from families with no history of participation in higher education. More than a third are mature returners to education and around a quarter are from Black or ethnic minority backgrounds.

We are now seeking to appoint a Director of HR to develop and deliver a comprehensive HR strategy built on our commitment to integrity, staff engagement and greater inclusion. We want to create a stimulating and rewarding working environment where contribution is recognised, talent developed and both the staff and student experience enhanced.

Reporting directly to the Vice-Chancellor and a member of the Executive Leadership Team, our new Director of HR will be joining the University at a time of great opportunity and strategic renewal. The Director of HR will lead all aspects of HR including resourcing, leadership and development, employee relations, reward, organisational development and equality, diversity and inclusion.

We are looking for an HR innovator who can inspire our community and champion an environment of collective pride in which the contribution of our colleagues is recognised and respected. You will bring wide-ranging HR leadership experience, able to shape an HR strategy that will lead to positive change across the University, coach and develop the HR team and deliver outstanding HR operations. You will bring a proven track record of successful HR leadership gained in medium to large, complex organisation. You will be an effective influencer and relationship manager with the skills to build a common set of values and a shared vision across the University.

At a time of great change in our sector, this role offers the opportunity for the successful candidate to make a major, lasting contribution the success of the University and all those it serves.

About us

The University of Bedfordshire is an innovative university with a heritage of top quality education going back more than 100 years. It gained university status in 1992 as the University of Luton before expanding to become the University of Bedfordshire in 2006, when it merged with the Bedford campus of De Montfort University.

Today it has two main campuses in Luton and Bedford, but is also active in Aylesbury, Milton Keynes, London and Birmingham, as well as globally, with a growing portfolio of international partnerships as far afield as Myanmar, Egypt, Vietnam, Oman and Mauritius.

The University is structured into four academic faculties: the Business School; the Faculty of Creative Arts, Technologies and Science; the Faculty of Education and Sport; and the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences.

Who We Are

We value diversity. We respect the voice of every individual in our global network.

We work collaboratively. In partnership with our students, communities and business we innovate in tackling shared challenges.

We take personal responsibility. We work to realise the ambitions of our diverse students and staff.

We communicate what matters when it matters. We value free, open and inclusive debate.

We strive for excellence.  We are committed to learning, research and continuous improvement of our practice.

We are inspired by the promise of higher education. We strive to create a more democratic, sustainable and equal society.



We will be a leading university for expanding higher education opportunities: inspiring our diverse student body to achieve ambitious goals and broadening understanding and horizons across the communities we engage.

Investing in Staff
Staff are the heart of the University of Bedfordshire and the transformative opportunities the University is able to provide for students is only possible because of the commitment, ideas and professionalism of its staff team.

A priority for the University is, and continues to be, building and developing a culture based on listening, collaborating, and the sharing of good ideas, supported by the appropriate professional and personal development opportunities.

It also recognises the link between staff health and in return the health of the University. That is why it is working to ensure that staff are provided with an environment and opportunities that encourages and enables them to lead healthy lives and make choices that support their wellbeing.

The University aims to help all employees reach their full potential and this commitment is demonstrated by offering a full range of training opportunities and events via the University’s Learning and Development Team.

As an employer, the University is working actively towards achieving a body of staff which reflects more accurately the range of backgrounds found in society as a whole. This is being achieved through its staff recruitment, training and development policies.

Through its resource planning strategies, the University is committed to meeting the needs of all students and staff.

Teaching & Learning
The University celebrated a Silver award in the first ever Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and recently came eighth in the UK in the People and Planet University Green League. It has high levels of student satisfaction and was recognised for the quality of its teaching in the last National Student Satisfaction, ranking 9th as the most improved university for teaching (2016 to 2019).

It has seen a sharp improvement in the quality of its research. In 2013 the University won the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its pioneering research into child sexual exploitation, while REF 2014 saw almost half of its research classified as world leading or internationally excellent – the highest ratings possible.

Today research at Bedfordshire continues to tackle the real-world problems and challenges faced by its communities; most recently, a project to develop culturally aware health assistance robots and Home Office funding to undertake work on modern slavery and the policing of cyber-harassment.

Our locations

Luton campus
The Luton campus is located in the town centre and has seen a dramatic transformation in recent years. A new building devoted to the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics opened in September 2019. Its cutting edge facilities provides four computer laboratories and workshops for subjects such as automotive engineering, cyber-security and robotics, along with three large teaching labs, and four specialist containment labs. The building also hosts a Science and Engineering Outreach Centre to promote the value of science and engineering to local schools and the wider Bedfordshire community.

The STEM building forms part of a five year investment to re-generate the University’s estates, totalling £180m. This included its Postgraduate and CPD centre on the Luton campus, and a stunning seven-floor library in Luton, which opened in 2016.

Bedford campus
The Bedford campus has academic roots that go back to the founding of Bedford Training College for Teachers in 1882 and Bedford Physical Training College in 1903.

The campus is now home to around 2,900 students and has excellent facilities, a friendly atmosphere and a proven track record of exceptional teaching and graduate employment.

The campus is located 20 minutes on foot from the town centre in a self-contained leafy setting and has undergone a major redevelopment programme which includes The Gateway, a new teaching and learning building which opened in 2014.

The Campus facilities includes two fully-equipped gymnasiums and state-of-the-art sports science labs.

There is a modern campus centre with a 280 seat theatre, catering facilities and social spaces for students. Comfortable and extensive student accommodation is conveniently located on campus.

Putteridge Bury
Putteridge Bury is a magnificent neo-Elizabethan country mansion set in thirty acres of landscaped gardens. The history of Putteridge Bury can be traced back to Edward the Confessor’s time and has links to the Domesday Book. It was built in the style of Chequers by architects Sir Ernest George and Alfred Yeats and completed in 1911, having undergone renovation and reconstruction over the centuries.

It is home to the postgraduate Business School and the University’s Conference Centre. Putteridge Bury Campus is located a few miles outside Luton town centre on the Hertfordshire-Bedfordshire border.

Milton Keynes campus
Milton Keynes campus is the newest addition to the University of Bedfordshire. Launched officially in March 2013, Milton Keynes campus is backed by the University of Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Council.

It is located in the centre of Milton Keynes close to shops, businesses and local amenities, and has excellent transport links. The campus is well equipped with the latest facilities such as high specification teaching rooms, special purpose electronics and telecommunications laboratories, a large general-purpose computer lab, an extensive Learning Resources Centre plus extensive learning and social spaces.

To find out more about our University, please visit

The role

Director of Human Resources

Job reference:

Job purpose

This is a key role in the University, reporting directly to the Vice-Chancellor. The post-holder will be a member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Group, the most senior University executive committee.

  • Lead the University’s HR function both strategically and operationally.
  • Lead the development and implementation of a new People and Organisational Development strategy, a key underpinning of the University’s overarching strategy. The strategy will, among other things, include an approach to developing an inclusive and values driven culture, nurturing and rewarding talent, succession planning, leading edge recruitment processes and the management of performance.
  • Lead the HR team in providing excellent and informed support and advice to all areas of the University in a business partnership model, providing transformational and inspirational leadership to the team and ensuring the highest levels of professionalism in the service.
  • Ensure that the University’s HR related policies are legally compliant and support the overall development and operation of the University, ensuring appropriate governance and consultation.
  • Ensure employee relations casework is conducted in a timely and efficient manner and is informed by best practice.
  • Lead on the relationship with the recognised Trades’ Unions in a spirit of positive collaborative partnership.
  • Lead on organisational development to deliver the University strategy and support organisational priorities, including responsibility for the appraisal system.
  • Ensure that HR policies and practices reflect best practice in the HE and other relevant sectors, enabling the University to be an outstanding employer.
  • Lead on the University’s equality agenda in relation to staffing matters, to include action on the gender pay gap and approaches to Athena Swan and other equality measures.
  • Establish and have approved KPIs for both the functioning of the HR department and for the effectiveness of the people and organisational development strategy.
  • Ensure that HR functions are efficient, digitally driven, customer focused and lead to continuous improvement.
  • Lead on the University’s pension strategy in liaison with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Resources).
  • Ensure best practice in the HR function through horizon scanning and external networking.
  • Prepare reports for senior staff, University committees and Governors on HR related matters.
  • Provide accurate and reliable management information on HR matters, to support the senior team and the Governors.
  • Be responsible for accurate and timely HR related data returns to external agencies and to be the University lead on DBS and UKVI compliance in respect of staffing.
  • Act as the main contact with UCEA and to ensure that the University benefits from its membership.
  • Lead on the conduct and outcomes of the staff survey and other means through which the staff voice is heard.
  • Ensure the delivery of highly effective staff induction and core training which meets all University requirements and which contributes to the development of an effective and continuous approach to learning in University staff.
  • Provide leadership and guidance on complex and/or sensitive employee relations issues.
  • Manage the HR budget, including induction, staff training and equality and inclusion initiatives, ensuring efficient use of funds and continuous improvements in efficiency.
  • Ensure that the HR team provides robust and effective support to organisational change programmes.

This job description is intended as a general guidance to the duties and responsibilities of the post and is not, therefore, exhaustive. It will be subject to review, in light of changing circumstances and in consultation with the post-holder.



  • Educated to Master’s degree level – preferably in a relevant subject or equivalent post graduate qualification, or equivalent senior level experience
  • Chartered member of CIPD
  • Evidence of continuing professional development
  • Relevant leadership and management qualification (desirable)
  • Post graduate qualification in Organisational Development practice or equivalent experience (desirable)


  • Expert knowledge of current HR and OD issues and awareness of broader developments in the field
  • Expert knowledge of current and planned employment legislation and proven experience of applying updated legislation to a variety of situations
  • Extensive understanding of project, programme and change management and how to direct change at a strategic level
  • Up to date knowledge of EDI, wellbeing and engagement requirements and practices
  • Awareness and understanding of the activities and objectives of the University
  • Awareness and understanding of the current challenges within the HE sector including the political agenda (desirable)
  • Knowledge and understanding of the Athena Swan Charter (desirable)
  • An understanding of financial management procedures (desirable)


  • Significant leadership, management and professional experience
  • Proven experience of working and contributing at senior management level in a complex environment and sector
  • Evidence of successfully developing, leading and implementing strategy, policy and operational plans across a large complex organisation
  • Significant experience of working effectively in partnership with staff and their representatives to deliver organisational objectives and shared goals
  • Significant experience of managing and developing a team towards high performance
  • Track record of contributing to the management and leadership of major organisational change programmes
  • Extensive experience of the management of complex and sensitive employee relations issues
  • Significant experience of actively participating in service improvement and efficiency
  • Experience of building personal and professional credibility with committees, staff and staff representatives
  • Experience of working within the HE sector (desirable)


  • Excellent organisational and leadership skills including the management, leadership and development of people
  • Well-developed consultancy and organisational diagnostic skills with the ability to translate strategic issues into HR interventions and solutions to meet business needs
  • Excellent communication skills including report writing and presentation skills
  • Operational planning, project management and business process improvement skills
  • Ability to apply discretion and initiative in dealing with complex and sensitive issues
  • Ability to persuade, negotiate and influence at all levels
  • Ability to understand and analyse complex data sets, and to make effective use of HR Information Systems, building this capability across the team
  • Ability to coach colleagues effectively and to empower and enable them to undertake their professional roles


  • Demonstrably authoritative and influential across professional and strategic responsibilities
  • Demonstrates a strong commitment to promoting EDI
  • Demonstrates resilience, confidence and self-belief when under pressure
  • Excellent relationship development and networking across internal and external stakeholders
  • Has a visible, inclusive and credible leadership style

Terms of appointment

We offer a competitive salary and benefits package comprising:

  • Salary of up to £90,000 depending on experience
  • Membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme
  • Generous annual leave
  • Other benefits including subsidised car parking, discounted gym membership, season (travel) ticket loans and Cycle to Work salary sacrifice scheme

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an employment advisor to the University. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV.
  • A covering letter (maximum of 2 pages) outlining how you meet the person specification.
  • Please include details of two referees, though please note that we will not approach your referees without your prior consent and only should you be shortlisted.
  • Please complete the following Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference AQ1005.

The closing date for applications is noon on Friday 30th October 2020.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact Elliott Rae on +44(0)7584 078 534 or Carolyn Coates on +44(0)7825 871 944.

Provisional Timetable

Closing date: Friday 30th October
Longlisting: w/c 2nd November
Preliminary interviews with AQ: w/c 9th November
Shortlisting: w/c 16th November
Final panel interviews: w/c 23rd November