Appointment of the Director of Business Services

Welcome

Dear Candidate,

I am delighted that you have expressed an interest in the role of Director of Business Services for Herts for Learning.

Herts for Learning (HfL) Ltd, the largest School Company in the UK, is a leading provider of school improvement services. It is 80.5% owned by Hertfordshire schools and 19.5% by Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) and operates with a not-for-profit-distribution ethos. HfL provides flexible, high quality, school improvement, leadership and business support to over 1000 schools and education settings in Hertfordshire and beyond, generating an annual income in excess of £22m and employing over 300 staff.

Our underlying purpose is our belief that every young person, through access to a great education, should be able to realise their potential, regardless of where they live or their circumstances. Our vision is to be the company of choice for services, resources and products, helping those we work with to deliver a great education.

HfL has had great success since its creation in 2013 with almost 90% of Hertfordshire schools now Ofsted rated as good or outstanding, well above the national average. However, we operate in a sector that is changing rapidly and one in which changes in government policy can radically affect the work we do. Our customers – schools and education settings for children aged 0-18 – are under increasing funding constraints and their needs are shifting, especially of those that move away from local authority control. Changes to the way money is allocated in the sector mean that HCC can no longer directly fund school improvement services.

Our new strategic plan continues to build on the success of HfL over the past five years but seeks to accelerate the changes introduced since my arrival two years ago. At its heart is continuous improvement of the education and business services offer to Hertfordshire schools. It recognises that digital will be crucial and that expansion outside of the county is crucial, both for HfL’s long-term financial stability, and to protect its ability to continue to deliver for Hertfordshire schools. Partnerships with local authorities, MATs etc. are the only realistic way to expand out of Herts.

Reporting to the Managing Director and a member of the Executive Team, the Director of Business Services will provide strategic leadership for HfL’s Business Services teams. The Director will have responsibility to evolve our service offer to meet emerging customer needs and to embed, strengthen and celebrate a customer-centric culture that ensures a consistency of experience across all our services. The Director will be expected to grow the breadth and reach of Business Services we offer to schools that support our goal of helping schools and educational settings deliver a great education for all children. The Director will also contribute to the development of company-wide strategies and plans, acting as a role model for staff and leading change through collaboration with the whole Executive team.

Our successful candidate will be a leader of leaders, able to provide strategic and operational leadership to our experienced team of Heads of Business Services. You will believe in the power of education to help young people realise their potential and the ability to inspire those they work with to strive towards this purpose. You will be able to demonstrate our values of trust, inspiration and collaboration. You will have a thorough understanding of the education sector, the provision of business support services within that sector, and how those services contribute to the wider school improvement agenda. You will be able to show that you can grow the business top line and manage substantial budgets.

This is a critical role that provides an exciting opportunity to join a young and growing company that genuinely puts its moral purpose at the heart of everything it does. If this opportunity appeals to you and you believe that you have the skills and experience that are needed, we will be delighted to hear from you.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew de Csilléry
Managing Director, HfL

About us

Herts for Learning (HfL) is a provider of school improvement services. Its main business comes through trading a wide range of school improvement and business support services to schools, academies and educational settings. The company also has a contract with Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) to deliver some of its statutory education functions.

With 522 shareholder schools, Herts for Learning Ltd is the UK’s largest School Company.

HfL constantly re-invests in the common good, by improving existing services, investing in new ones and contributing to relevant agendas that affect all schools, academies and settings.

Herts for Learning traded services

HfL trades a range of school improvement and business support services to all types of schools, academies and settings.

The company seeks to minimise price rises to deliver a cost efficient and high quality service for schools and academies. As such HfL has become a respected and trustworthy brand across the county and increasingly beyond. The existing customer base for traded services is strong, with every school in Hertfordshire buying at least one service from HfL.

Our traded school improvement services include:

  • Consultancy
  • Advice
  • Training courses
  • Conferences
  • Training packages
  • Bespoke training
  • Curriculum materials
  • Parent2Parent®

Our contract with Hertfordshire County Council for school improvement includes:

  • Delivering statutory responsibilities for school improvement
  • Supporting schools causing concern: In an Ofsted category, Below floor and Requires Improvement

Our traded business services include:

  • HR services
  • Recruitment services
  • Teach in Herts recruitment service
  • Business Management services
  • Procurement services
  • Governance services
  • ICT services
  • Financial services

Engagement and partnership services

In addition to an array of business services and school improvement and curriculum support, HfL offers a comprehensive range of engagement programmes and partnership services. Some of the services are delivered by HfL, others delivered in partnership with high-quality HfL approved providers.

Our portfolio of services includes a unique and innovative programme, Parent2Parent® and the HealthySchools programme that recognises the correlation between health and wellbeing and pupils’ educational attainment and motivation.

You view more information here.

Our purpose, vision, mission and values

Purpose (Why are we doing this?):

We believe that every young person, through access to a great education, should be able to realise their potential, regardless of where they live or their circumstances.

Vision (Where are we heading?):

Herts for Learning will be the company of choice for services, resources and products, helping those we work with to deliver a great education.

Mission (Where will we be in 2021?):

In 2021, we will have grown our business significantly and consolidated our reputation with Hertfordshire schools as an enabler of great education outcomes.  Outside of the county, we will have established ourselves as a thought leader at the national level and will have put in place effective partnership agreements with multiple local authorities and education service providers. We will have become a “curator” of great content.

Values (The core of our brand):

Our company values define how we want to be perceived – as we pursue our purpose. As part of the HfL team, every colleague should live our values; they shape our behaviour as we move forward together:

  • Trusted: We are trusted by those we serve and trust each other because we are seen as experts, offering credibility and experience in our chosen fields; we recognise, respect, and demonstrate the role that each colleague plays to deliver our purpose and vision.
  • Inspirational: We believe in the power of education to help young people realise their potential and inspire those we work with to strive towards this purpose; we are passionate and resilient and show we are capable of adapting to challenge and willing to challenge ourselves; we innovate and evolve to meet the challenges of the changing environment.
  • Collaborative: We are stronger together and work as a cross-company team to overcome challenges; we recognise that overall company objectives outweigh individual or team objectives; we pursue our purpose by working in partnership with others.

Brand Essence:

We are not-for-profit Education Company that measures its success in terms of enabling great educational outcomes for children.  We achieve this through:

  • Developing and delivering education and business services, resources and products that support schools and setting to deliver a great education for all children
  • Being a source of innovation and thought leadership within the wider education sector
  • Being an employer of choice that attracts high calibre, motivated staff who share our values and are committed to our goals
  • Re-investing any surplus profit into targeted educational initiatives that might otherwise struggle to secure funding

Our leadership and structure

Andrew de Csilléry, Managing Director

Andrew joined Herts for Learning in January 2017 and became Managing Director in April 2017. Andrew, who brings over 25 years of experience in international business, is a Founding Trustee of the Chartered College of Teaching and sits on the MBA Admissions Committee of INSEAD, the international business school based in France and Singapore. His career spans the globe, from the UK and continental Europe, to Asia, Australasia, the US and South Africa, where he has held a number of senior strategy and management roles with companies such as Disney and Intercontinental Hotels Group. Andrew believes passionately that all children should be given the opportunity to benefit from a great education that lays the foundation for lifelong learning. He is enjoying using his experience of businesses where great customer service really matters to ensure that Herts for Learning works ever closer with schools and partners to deliver services of the highest quality and best value for money for the benefit of all children in Hertfordshire.

Andrew has a BA in Physics and an MSc in Laser Physics, both from Oxford University, and an MBA from INSEAD. He recently completed the Diploma from the Wines and Spirits Education Trust, graduating with the hors-concours prize from the Vintners Company for the outstanding non-trade graduate.

Governance

HfL is governed by a Board of Directors, which consists of 11 non-executive directors (two Council-nominated, six elected by schools and three appointed by the Board) and the Managing Director as executive director. You can read more about our governance structure here.

Please click here to view the current Herts for Learning Executive structure chart.

Our strategy

Our strategy

Our underlying purpose is our belief that every young person, through access to a great education, should be able to realise their potential, regardless of where they live or their circumstances. Our vision is to be the company of choice for services, resources and products, helping those we work with to deliver a great education.

Our strategic plan is based on a five-point strategic framework that continues to build on the success of HfL over the past five years. At its heart is continuous improvement of the offer to Hertfordshire schools. 

  1. We will evolve our education and business services offers, adapting to the needs of our customers, and providing clear evidence of the impact of our work. We will be a curator of great content, working with like-minded partners who share our purpose and values. The HfL Great Schools Framework links together the work of all our teams, providing a vision and roadmap for schools to deliver a great education for all children.
  2. We will put digital at the heart of what we do. Used well, digital will allow us to improve the learning experience, to deliver our offer to a wider and more distant customer base, and to reduce costs. Partnerships will be crucial to accelerating this shift, providing us with the expertise needed.
  3. We will seek to better understand customers and grow our brand, combining better use of data and customer insight with a structured approach to innovation. We will develop our brand so it is relevant outside of Hertfordshire and evolve both our communication approach and selling skills to exploit fully the market opportunities. We will identify and collaborate with education and commercial organisations that can help to accelerate our growth outside of Hertfordshire.
  4. We must enhance our commercial mind-set whilst remaining true to our moral purpose, listening to what our customers need and having the organisational flexibility to adapt and deliver our offer. Our culture and the way we work will reflect our chosen values of trust, inspiration and collaboration. We will attract and retain talented people and invest in new and existing staff to make the most of their skills, ensuring they develop a growth mindset.
  5. We must remain financially stable to deliver our vision. We will continue to seek opportunities for more efficient delivery and to minimise our overheads and support infrastructure. We will secure, as far as possible, the work provided through the HCC core-contract, and will build the traded model to replace lost income and seek new sources of growth. Having reached our target level of reserves, we will continue to ring-fence a 1% annual surplus to invest in activities that benefit all of our stakeholders and/or the long-term development of HfL.

The Great School Framework
The HfL Education and Business Services teams have used research, evidence and experience to create a clear visual reference of what we know to be the elements of a successful school. We have developed this framework to be timeless, reflecting all elements of a great school and applicable to every phase of education, whatever their circumstances or structure. It is intended to create an aspirational vision of excellence, enabling schools to reflect upon their progress in each area and develop support mechanisms to seek further improvement, whether that be from HfL or national/peer support.

The model enables staff to review their contribution to the improvement of schools, seeking new ways of collaborating with other HfL staff and schools to drive aspiration, ambition and outcomes across the educational landscape.

Key stakeholders, including Schools Forums, HCC and the Diocese have been supportive of the Framework and have welcomed this clarification of our ambition and activity.  Schools have already begun to use the Framework to engage governors and the wider community in reflection and action planning.

Over the next year and beyond, our intention is to:

  • Expand upon each aspect of the Framework, highlighting the indicators of success and areas that can be developed to improve outcomes.
  • Promote the Framework locally and nationally, ensuring that this is seen as the way of engaging the wider school community in the aligned aspirations of a great school (uniquely, this contains both education and business foci).
  • Develop and market our services in line with the outcomes they relate to.
  • Work with HCC to align contracted activity to intended outcomes within the Framework.
  • Support schools and their Governing Bodies as they use the tool to self-review and action plan for improvement.
  • Develop the Framework as a driver for cultural alignment across Herts for Learning, overtly linking the work of our teams and promoting collaboration to support school improvement.

The role

Director of Business Services


AQ425
Job title: Director of Business Services
Contract: Permanent
Reports to: Managing Director
Team: Executive
Location: Head office – Stevenage

Our company
Herts for Learning Ltd (HfL) is a not-for-profit distribution company and the largest schools’ company in the UK. We provide high quality school improvement, leadership and business support to over 1000 schools and education settings in Hertfordshire and beyond, generating an annual income of over £22m and employing over 300 staff.  HfL has had great success since its creation in 2013, with almost 90% of Hertfordshire schools now Ofsted rated as good or outstanding, well above the national average.

HfL operates in a dynamic sector where changes in government policy can radically impact the work we do. Our new strategic plan addresses these challenges through the evolution of our education and business services offer. We are looking for a Director of Business Services to lead our business services teams and ensure that we continue to deliver outstanding services whilst pursuing new and exciting opportunities for growth.

Job context

  • The Business Services team (HR, Governance, Business Management, IT, Recruitment and Financial Services to Schools) reach 99% of all Hertfordshire schools on a traded basis, with a turnover in excess of £12m. The combined services employ over 145 permanent staff. Increasingly, these services are also sold outside of Hertfordshire.
  • The Director of Business Services will line manage 2 Heads of Business Services who collectively lead HR Services, Recruitment and School Business Management, Governance and Data Management. The Director of Business Services will also, initially, directly manage the 2 Heads of ICT Services and the Head of Finance Services.  It is envisaged that some of these Heads of Service will, in time and with support from the Director, be able to lead any team within the function.
  • This post reports to the Managing Director and the post holder will play a full part as a member of the strategic Executive Leadership Team of HfL.

Purpose of the job

  • To provide strategic leadership for HfL’s business services to schools.
  • To evolve our service offer to meet emerging customer needs and to embed, strengthen and celebrate a customer-centric culture that ensures a consistency of experience across all our services.
  • To grow the breadth and reach of Business Services we offer to schools that support our goal of helping schools and educational settings deliver a great education for all children.

Main areas of responsibility

  • Provide strategic leadership for business services in HfL.
  • Drive a customer-centric and collaborative culture across all teams, ensuring a high quality and consistently excellent service for all our customers.
  • Coach and develop leaders across the Business Services area to achieve their potential.
  • Work closely with the Director of Business and Organisation Development and the Director of Marketing and Events to identify and maximise opportunities for growth and the development of new services.
  • Contribute to the development of company-wide strategies and plans, acting as a role model for staff and leading change through collaboration with the whole Executive team.
  • Translate the company’s business strategy into operational plans that deliver the company’s growth and financial targets.
  • Keep abreast of national and local policy changes within education, ensuring that the Business Services continue to provide timely, innovative and considered support and guidance to schools and settings.
  • Review and develop services from the Business Services team to ensure that schools have access to financially sustainable services that have a positive impact upon school achievement and progress.
  • Work collaboratively with the Education Services Directors to appropriately support the school improvement agenda and align HfL’s service offerings across business services and education services.
  • Contribute to the overall development, growth and shape of the company.

The duties and responsibilities listed above describe the post as it is at present.  The post holder is expected to accept any reasonable alterations that may from time to time become necessary. This may include incorporating new services developed in response to customer demand.

Equal Opportunities
HfL is committed to the aim of ensuring that everyone who applies to work for us receives fair treatment and we positively encourage applications from suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of age, disability, race, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, religion or belief, marriage and civil partnership and caring status. We expect all our staff to demonstrate a commitment to advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations.

Disclosure and Barring Service
This post is subject to full pre-employment checks and is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.    Please note that additional information referring to the Disclosure and Barring Service is in the guidance notes to the application form.  If you are invited to an interview you will receive more information.

Health and safety
It will be the duty of every employee while at work to take reasonable care for the Health and safety of themselves and of other persons who may be affected by their acts or omissions at work.

Intellectual property rights
It is a contractual requirement of all employees of HfL to protect the intellectual, property rights of the company and to adhere to our company policy with regard to IP.

PERSON SPECIFICATION

Knowledge, experience and motivations

  • First and foremost, a belief in the power of education to help young people realise their potential and the ability to inspire those they work with to strive towards this purpose.
  • Be trusted by customers and colleagues and offer credibility and presence.
  • Possess the personality traits that will seek out collaborative opportunities.
  • Passionate, resilient and responds positively to challenge.
  • Recognise that company objectives outweigh individual or team objectives.
  • Thorough understanding of the education sector and the provision of business support services within that sector and how those services contribute to the wider school improvement agenda.
  • Experience of managing a broad range of education support services will be an advantage.
  • Demonstrable success in delivering income growth, through the progress of existing products and services, through innovation and through the incubation of new service areas.
  • Evidence of effective management of significant budgets.
  • Significant and transformative people leadership experience.
  • It is desirable that you have spent time:
    • Developing and enhancing products and services to meet the changing needs of users.
    • Continually improving processes and systems to support business development and increase customer satisfaction.
    • Managing significant change programmes designed to deliver the required outcomes within the required timescale and budget.

Skills and abilities

  • Track record of developing excellent client relationships through a thorough understanding of customer needs.
  • Sensitivity and ability to forge strong working relationships with a range of stakeholders.
  • Excellent ability to listen to, diagnose and respond to client needs.
  • Ability to view educational issues from a commercial perspective by understanding our customers wants, needs and ways of working.
  • Ability to drive innovation in the delivery of services to improve standards and cost-effectiveness.
  • Excellent people leadership skills.
  • Trust others and display true collaborative behaviours.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including a track record of inspiring large audiences and challenging stakeholders.
  • Committed to equal opportunities and anti-discriminatory practice.

Terms and conditions

A competitive salary will be negotiated with the preferred candidate.

Herts for Learning offers a range of benefits including:

  • Generous 28-day holiday entitlement on top of bank holidays
  • Performance related bonus
  • Excellent company pension scheme with 10% employer contribution and life insurance benefits
  • Flexible working – over a quarter of our people work flexibly, including in senior roles

The role is based at HfL’s office at Robertson House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG1 2FQ.

You can view the full range of HfL benefits here.

How to apply

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

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact our advising consultants at Anderson Quigley: Elliott Rae on +44 (0)7584 078 534 or Kassie McKnight on +44 (0)7808 648 559.

The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 18th February 2019.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV including your educational and professional qualifications, full employment history, latest remuneration, details of relevant achievements and contact details.
  • A covering letter stating how you meet the criteria in the Person Specification and outlining your motivation for applying for this role. Your covering letter should be a maximum of two sides of A4.
  • 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 follow the link to complete an Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at www.andersonquigley.com/candidates using the reference AQ425.

Timetable

Closing date: Monday 18th February 2019
Longlisting: Thursday 28th February
Shortlisting: Wednesday 13th March
Final Panel Interviews: Monday 18th March