Appointment of the Executive Director of Finance


Dear Candidate,

Thank you for your interest in the exciting and influential role of Executive Director of Finance at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT). I am delighted that you are considering joining us and appreciate you taking the time to read this.

We are at an exciting point in our progression as we prepare to launch our ambitious new strategy which will ensure we deliver our vision of exceptional patient care, delivered by exceptional people.

Rated as ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission, we have a lot to be proud of and we want to continue to empower our people to deliver services of excellence by transforming our services and systems.

As the world around us continues to change, we cannot continue to deliver services in the same way as we have done before; our population needs are changing, and demand has never been higher.

As part of the Executive Leadership Team, the Executive Director of Finance will possess a strong understanding of the Trust’s current and desired business model, be able to use this knowledge to provide an independent perspective and to constructively challenge the operations and support functions teams, ensuring that the trust decisions are grounded in solid financial criteria.

The successful candidate will have an inclusive and engaging leadership style and will be able to demonstrate through their behaviour what their values are and how these align to the organisational ones.

We are eager to find an individual with a proven track record in robust financial governance, but also someone who can prioritise and ensure the Trust strategy can be funded and the benefits are delivered through strong corporate insight, governance and performance/programme reviews.

The Executive Director of Finance will be a highly effective individual, with the necessary leadership and communication skills, offering advice and counsel as well as providing a voice of reason.

This is a critical role for us. We are excited about our future. We want someone who shares in this passion and enthusiasm for the Service and can convey and inspire others, balancing the needs of robust financial governance and innovative team working so that the Trust strategy is enabled financially. We hope that you are excited by this challenge too, and as such, you will be inspired to apply.

William Warrender

About us

The Trust

SWASFT provides a range of emergency and urgent care services to the people of South West of England. We work in a way that upholds the values and pledges of the NHS Constitution and are proud to embrace innovation and actively promote best practice.

SWASFT was the first ambulance service to be authorised as an NHS Foundation Trust on 1 March 2011.

Since acquiring our former neighbouring trust, Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) in February 2013, our operating area now covers a fifth of England.

Our geographical area encompasses Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Bath, North and North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire.

We deliver the Accident and Emergency (A&E) 999 ambulance service across the South West and also provide the following:

  • Hazardous Area Response Team (HART)
  • Tiverton Urgent Care Centre
  • Integrated Transport Services for the Isles of Scilly

We operate from more than 100 sites, including nearly one hundred ambulance stations, six air bases, and two emergency clinical hubs.

The Board

The Board is accountable for our vision, strategy, the way we run our services and spend money. We have a unitary made up of 14 Board Members which includes 7 Executive Directors and 7 Non-Executive Directors.

Meet the Board:

  • Chief Executive – Will Warrender
  • Trust Chairman – Tony Fox
  • Executive Directors – Tim Bishop, Jonathan James (Acting), Dr Andy Smith, Jenny Winslade, Jessica Cunningham, Amy Beet (Maternity Leave), Vikki Matthews (Interim) and Will Warrender.
  • Non-Executive Directors – Nick Cullen, Martin Holloway, Minesh Khashu, Paul Love, Gail Bragg (Deputy Chair), Venessa James (Senior Independent Director) and Tony Fox.

As a unitary board, the Non-Executive Directors and Executive Directors make decisions as a single group and share the same responsibility and liability. Our Board meet on a monthly basis on the last Thursday of every month.

To view the Board profiles, please click here.

Mission, Vision, Values & Goals

The role

Executive Director of Finance

Job reference:

Job title: Executive Director of Finance
Reports to: Chief Executive
Pay band: Very Senior Manager
Directorate: Chief Executive

To view the 2019/20 Annual Report and Accounts please, please click here.

Job summary

The Executive Director of Finance will:

  • Be the key advisor to the CEO, Executive and Trust Board on all financial issues, options and suggested recommendations
  • Discharge the statutory board responsibilities of the Executive Director of Finance in line with the governance requirements of a NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Be a highly effective Executive Director with the necessary leadership and communication skills, offering advice and counsel as well as provide a voice of reason.
  • Possess a strong understanding of the Trust’s current and desired business model to be able to use this knowledge to provide an independent perspective and to constructively challenge the operations and support functions teams, ensuring that the trust decisions are grounded in solid financial criteria.
  • Ensure in a more volatile environment with additional stakeholder and regulatory scrutiny that adequate assessment and mitigation of risk as well as compliance with applicable regulatory and or other legal requirements are met.
  • Support strategy development and helping enable its execution. The role in prioritizing and ensuring the strategy can be funded and the benefits are delivered through strong corporate insight, governance and performance/programme reviews.
  • Ensure the Trust maintains and develops its relationship with the Regulator.

Duties and responsibilities

The Executive Director of Finance will:

  • Be the key advisor to the CEO, Executive and Trust Board on all financial issues, options and suggested recommendations
  • Be able to influence internal and external stakeholders to persuade budget negotiations for both income, revenue and capital and able to anticipate emerging issues as they arise.
  • Demonstrate experience and expertise in scenario planning and response mitigation to manage risks
  • Apply sound judgement and experience of developing and implementing actions and plans to mitigate risk exposure
  • Have experience of building and managing a decision support capability to bring insight and clarity from data to ensure trust focus is SMART
  • Be capable to operate as a catalyst within the Executive team so that the CEO and Executives discuss key issues with facts, options and data driven insights.
  • Manage with KPI dashboards up and down an organisation so decision making is made at appropriate level
  • Play a key role in contributing to the development of the Trust strategy, ensuring that it is challenging but achievable, and supported by robust action plans including preparation of the capital, revenue, cashflow and benefits delivery of the 5 year strategic ambition
  • Ensure the Trust procures and manages a fit for purpose payroll service that meets Trust needs.
  • Ensure the Trust operates an effective system of procurement
  • Support the achievement of strategic targets by ensuring that a comprehensive measurement system is in place.
  • Direct and control finance staff to ensure that they are appropriately motivated and developed and so that they carry out their responsibilities to the required standard.
  • Contribute to the achievement of the trusts objectives by providing advice and guidance on financial strategy.
  • Develop and control the company’s annual operating budget to ensure that all financial targets are met and financial and statutory regulations complied with.
  • Provide financial advice and guidance to the trusts managers and staff to enable them to achieve their objectives.
  • Oversee the preparation of the trusts financial accounts to ensure that these are presented accurately and on time.
  • Work with the Trust Secretary to ensure the Trust develops and implements robust internal audit, extremal audit and counter fraud services.
  • Develop and maintain all necessary systems, policies and procedures to ensure effective and efficient financial management within the trust.
  • Monitor external contracts and services provided by suppliers to ensure that these are operating effectively and provide the best value to the trust.
  • Carry out all necessary actions to ensure that the company meets its financial and legal obligations.
  • Advise the Board and provide executive leadership to the following functions:
    • Financial strategy;
    • Performance reporting
    • Contract management;
    • Corporate business planning activities including business development and commissioning;
    • Financial management;
    • Cash flow management;
    • Payroll services;
    • Financial systems development;
    • Procurement


Ensure that all decisions and arrangements made in relation to any aspect of the post accord with the Trust’s standing financial instructions, operational, health & safety and training instructions, and other relevant policies and procedures.


The Executive Director of Finance will be required to establish close and effective working relationships with the Chief Executive; other Executive Directors; the Chairman and Non-Executive Directors; and the senior leadership team.

They will need to understand the key stakeholders of the Trust and ensure that they are regularly and routinely engaged through the Trust infrastructure.


Standard role requirements

Health and Safety

  • To take reasonable care for own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by the postholder’s actions at work.

No smoking policy

  • The buildings, grounds and car parks owned or managed by the Trust are smoke-free zones and smoking is not permitted whilst on NHS/Trust premises; attending external meetings on behalf of the Trust; wearing NHS/Trust-identifiable clothing or other markings, or whilst in NHS/Trust vehicles.


  • To develop and implement robust systems for risk management across the areas of responsibility of the post. To be responsible and accountable for risk in these areas.
  • To be personally responsible for not undertaking any task or action which would knowingly cause risk to self, others, or to the Trust.
  • As far as is reasonably practicable, to prevent other people from undertaking tasks or actions which would knowingly cause risks to themselves, others, or to the Trust.
  • To identify and report actual or potential hazards/risks in the work environment in accordance with Trust policies.
  • To participate in briefing/training sessions and carry out any agreed control measures and duties as instructed.
  • Take immediate action to minimise risks where it is reasonably practicable to do so.

Records management, confidentiality and security of information

  • To adhere to Trust policies and procedures as directed in training and guidelines and as advised by relevant colleagues (including designated Local Records Manager) in relation to creating records and handling information. Undertake action as required to implement and comply with these policies and procedures.  To report any non-compliance.
  • To maintain confidentiality in relation to personal data held for colleagues and patients, ensuring it is processed lawfully; for no purpose other than for which it was obtained; is relevant to that purpose; is retained for no longer than is necessary; is processed in accordance with the rights of the subject to access and accuracy; and is protected from accidental loss or damage in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998, and records management guidance.
  • To maintain confidentiality of patient-identifiable personal data using a non-identifiable alternative, where practicable, and limiting access on a strictly need to know basis in accordance with the responsibilities of the Trust’s Caldicott Guardian.

Infection control

  • Responsible for ensuring the effective implementation and monitoring of infection prevention and control in all areas within his/her area of responsibility to ensure continued compliance of the Trust with the Health Act 2006, Health and Social Care Act 2008 and any future Acts of Parliament regarding infection prevention and control. Adhere to the Infection Prevention and Control policy at all times, providing clear leadership and promotion of responsible attitudes towards infection prevention and control
  • Responsible for infection prevention and control within his/her area of responsibility, ensuring the effective implementation and monitoring of infection prevention and control under his/her control. Ensure infection prevention and control audits are undertaken in their area of responsibility, as requested by the Director with responsibility for infection prevention and control.
  • To ensure that relevant staff, contractors and other persons, whose normal duties are directly or indirectly concerned with patient care, receive suitable and sufficient training, information and supervision on the measures required to prevent and control risks of infection, so far as reasonably practicable.
  • Alcohol handrub must be carried at all times whilst in uniform; good hand hygiene must be maintained.
  • Responsible for including infection prevention and control within the managerial job descriptions and appraisals of all managers under his/her control.

Patient and public involvement

  • To be aware of responsibilities under sections 7 and 11 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001 to involve patients and the public in the ongoing planning, development and delivery of health services, and to involve patients in their own care, as far as is reasonably practicable.



Education and qualifications

  • Relevant degree, or equivalent
  • Qualified accountant
  • Evidence of CPD
  • Masters Degree (desirable)

Previous Experience (Paid/ Unpaid relevant to job)

  • A proven track record in robust financial management
  • Challenges organisational paradigms set in long established working practices
  • Private sector commercial experience (desirable)

Skills, knowledge, ability

  • Exceptional communication, engagement and influencing skills
  • Ability to handle highly complex and sensitive information
  • Influencing, negotiating, communication and presentation skills
  • Strong analytic and critical reasoning skills and is capable of effective problem solving
  • Strategic vision and ability to translate this into clear direction
  • Ability to present complex information clearly to diverse audiences
  • Excellent interpersonal skills across all media of communication
  • Can evidence innovative style and encourage strategic thinking
  • Computer literate

Aptitude and personal characteristics

  • Demonstrate a commitment and recognition to the core values and beliefs of an employee of the NHS
  • Able to deliver on the NHS constitutional patient pledges and rights
  • Committed to high quality patient care and patient experience
  • Respectful to and able to promote equality in opportunity, employment and service delivery
  • Committed to continuous professional development and personal growth
  • Able to ensure care of own health and wellbeing to promote improvements to physical and emotional wellbeing
  • Able to work within the Trust’s attendance targets
  • Ability to perform the requirements of the post to an acceptable standard
  • Committed to the values based principles of high quality patient care to include; compassion; care; competence; communication; courage and commitment in all aspects of service delivery
  • Integrity and corporacy
  • Internalise and actively exemplify corporate objectives and philosophy
  • Able to manage a high workload and competing priorities
  • ‘Can do’ approach with service need always at the forefront
  • Is credible to internal and external stakeholders
  • Emotionally robust in dealing with difficult issues
  • Calm, resilient, tenacious and focused under pressure
  • Ability to interact with people from varying cultural backgrounds and social environments
  • Able to develop effective working relationships with colleagues and the public
  • Committed to the promotion of equality and value diversity and is a role model for openness and inclusion
  • Encourages innovative thinking in others
  • Work within the level of sick absence as set out in Trust Policy

Terms of appointment

This post is offered on a full-time basis. Headquarters are based in Exeter; Directors are expected to travel as required within the region. An element of home working is possible.

A competitive salary will be agreed with the successful candidate based on their skills and experience.

29 days holiday plus an NHS pension are also included in the package.

How to Apply

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

Should you wish to discuss this role in strict confidence, please contact Helene Usherwood on +44(0)7719 322 669 or Carolyn Coates on +44(0)7825 871 944.

The closing date for applications is noon on Friday 26th March 2021.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV;
  • A covering letter (maximum of 2 pages) setting out your interest in the role and details of how you match the experience criteria of the person specification;
  • Please include the names and addresses of two referees and confirmation of your current salary. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates;
  • As part of your application, please complete an online Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form by clicking here.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference AQ1089


Closing date: noon on Friday 26th March
Longlisting: Wednesday 31st March
Preliminary Interviews with AQ: w/c 5th April
Shortlisting: Wednesday 21st April
Informal conversation with SWASFT stakeholders w/c 26th April
Final Panel Interviews: Wednesday 5th or Thursday 6th May (TBC)