[NOW CLOSED] We’re hiring: Finance and Operations Director

[NOW CLOSED] We’re hiring: Finance and Operations Director

We are recruiting a Finance and Operations Director to lead on finance, human resources, IT and operations within our international NGO.

About Media Defence

Media Defence is a charity that helps media to defend their rights. We support independent media, journalists and citizen journalists who are under legal threat by making sure that lawyers are available to defend them. We engage in strategic litigation to improve the regulatory environment for media freedom, make grants to organisations in various countries to run media defence programmes, and build the capacity of the lawyers and organisations we work with on issues of media law.

Media Defence was set up in 2008 and has established itself as a leader in the field. To date, we have supported over 1,300 cases, helping hundreds of journalists in over 110 countries. Our work has helped prevent over 300 years of detention for media workers and avoided £500m in damages. We have supported 40 partners and have trained 144 lawyers.

We are looking for a talented, fully-qualified finance professional who brings strong strategic and operational experience across all areas of budgeting, financial reporting, governance and risk. You will likely have worked in an international charity previously, and will ideally have gained exposure to international donor requirements and/or grant management. Previous experience of managing non-finance areas is not essential, although you will be able to demonstrate an ability to oversee a multi-faceted directorate and develop an agile operations strategy that meets the future needs of our organisation. Whether you are operating as a director currently, or looking to make your first step into a number one role, you will demonstrate excellent communication and leadership skills, with the ability to work in a diverse and multi-cultural environment. Working knowledge of French and/or Spanish would also be advantageous.

Main Responsibilities

Strategy and Leadership

The Finance and Operations Director will:

  • Work with the Chief Executive Officer and the senior management team to ensure the organisation’s strategic goals are met and the organisation is financially sustainable. This includes developing and overseeing the implementation of the long-term financial strategy.
  • Serve as liaison to the Board’s Finance Committee, effectively communicating and presenting critical financial matters at committee meetings.
  • Oversee, lead, motivate and develop the finance and operations functions.
  • Deputise for the Chief Executive Officer, when required.


Finance and Compliance

  • Oversee Media Defence’s financial management. This includes the development of annual budgets, mid-year revised budgets, financial plans and forecasts, preparing annual accounts, maintaining an effective control environment as well as efficient finance systems and processes.
  • Ensure compliance with legal, statutory accounting and regulatory requirements, including signing off on all statutory filings as required by the Charity Commission, Companies House, and the Pension Regulator, as well as compliance with donor terms.
  • Work with the Chief Executive Officer to manage organisational risk, including maintaining the risk register.
  • Liaise with external auditors in relation to annual audits and project audits (where applicable).
  • Oversee the financial reporting to donors and preparation of fundraising budgets.


HR, IT and Operations

The Finance and Operations Director will have overall responsibility for Media Defence’s human resources, IT and operations, including:

  • Management of the IT contractor to support the charity’s IT infrastructure.
  • Overseeing the day-to-day systems, in particular licenses and contracts, to ensure that operational needs are met.
  • Overseeing the development and maintenance of the CRM, to ensure the accurate and effective management of data.
  • Ensure the charity is compliant with GDPR legislation.
  • Ensure that physical and virtual offices are fit for purpose, secure and that staff have sufficient equipment to undertake their roles.
  • Ensure suitable records are maintained across all operations.
  • Identify opportunities to improve operational practices to enable the delivery of organisational goals.
  • Supervise HR activities, overseeing the entire HR lifecycle: recruitment, hiring, contracting, pensions, performance review, remuneration, training and development, policies and procedures.
  • Supervise employee benefits and manage relations with relevant suppliers.
  • Maintain an overview of the HR admin platform.
  • Perform other duties commensurate with the post.

Person Specification


  • A relevant accounting qualification (ACCA, CIMA or equivalent) or demonstrable qualification by experience.
  • Significant all-round accounting, financial management, full grants cycle management, compliance, risk and financial sustainability experience, likely gained in an international charity, with working knowledge of the SORP.
  • Strong leadership experience, including around strategic decisions and financial planning, and team development.
  • Experience of management of grants to beneficiary NGOs and grant reviews or audits.
  • Strong IT management skills and expertise including knowledge of various systems such as Sage 50 and Sage payroll, as well as CRM/ERPs and system migration.
  • Strong strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Strong people and communication skills, with the ability to adapt management style to collaborate and achieve the best outcomes.
  • High level of personal integrity and commitment to the values of the organisation
  • Ability to work in a multi-cultural environment.
  • Ability to manage a varied and pressured workload.
  • Excellent written and spoken English.
  • Right to work in the UK.



  • Experience of leading operations and HR functions, including overseeing the development of organisational policies, procedures and systems.
  • Understanding of human rights and/or international media environment.
  • Good working knowledge (spoken and written) of French or Spanish.



  • Pension: Contributory pension scheme (employer matched contribution up to max. 8%)
  • Annual leave: 25 days annual leave plus bank holidays
  • Week off for Christmas and New Year, at the Board’s discretion
  • Opportunity to carry over five days into the following annual leave year
  • Days’ start/finish time is flexible
  • Early finish on Fridays (16:00), and 14:00 the first Friday of each month
  • Friendly and supportive team culture
  • On joining Media Defence, all employees are automatically able to access professional support through our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provided by Health Assured Limited and through a digital health app, Peppy
  • We offer an enhanced maternity and paternity leave package
  • We provide a range of training and development tools to offer support our employees to improve or develop skills and knowledge for the benefit of both the individual and the organisation

Equality and diversity are fundamental to our mission. Therefore we are committed to the recruitment and retention of individuals from diverse backgrounds and who reflect the diverse communities in which we operate.

For more information, see the candidate pack here.

If you are interested in applying for this role, please email your CV and covering letter referencing ‘Finance & Operations Director’ to

Closing Date: Friday 23rd June

Interviews will take place w/c 3rd July (TBC)

Please note we will not consider any applications without a tailored cover letter explaining why you want to work at Media Defence.


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