Head of Disaster Risk Management – London, United Kingdom

About Plan International UK

Plan International UK is an independent development and humanitarian charity that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. They believe in the power and potential of every child. But this is often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination. And its girls who are most affected. Working together with children, young people, their supporters and partners, Plan International UK strive for a just world, tackling the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children. They support children’s rights from birth until they reach adulthood. And enable children to prepare for – and respond to – crises and adversity. Plan International UK drive changes in practice and policy at local, national and global levels using their reach, experience and knowledge. They have been building powerful partnerships for children for 80 years and are now active in more than 70 countries. By 2022 they want to help 100 million girls learn, lead, decide and thrive.

The 65-person Policy and Programmes Directorate supports these aims by ensuring that Plan International UK delivers the highest quality policy and programmes. This is an exciting time to join as they implement a range of ambitious plans designed to make them ‘the’ best among their peers. Plan International UK want to be known for their expertise in girl’s rights and youth, highly-competitive in Education, Economic Security, Child Protection, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), and be seen as an ambitious, quickly expanding player in the humanitarian space. They constantly enhance programme quality and effectiveness, raise income from institutional donors (like the British Government), and drive change through setting and influencing policy agendas.

Plan International UK is committed to strongly developing its disasters work and in time aspires to becoming a centre of excellence in gender-sensitive and transformative approaches to Child Protection, Education and Disaster Risk Management.  The Disaster Risk Management Unit (DRMU) works across the whole spectrum of disaster work from risk reduction through to recovery, working in collaboration with many of the major NGOs in consortia and as a DEC and START Network member, dealing with rapid response, disaster risk reduction, and conflict sensitivity. The Unit is rapidly expanding with ambitious growth targets and a strengthened focus on Humanitarian firmly in place within the wider organisation. This includes increased focus on Humanitarian in fundraising, communications, policy and advocacy.

About the Role


Disaster Risk Management Unit (DRMU)

£63,770 per annum

Reporting to:
Director of Programmes

Responsible for:
Disaster Risk Management Programme Managers and overall management of the DRMU team

Job Purpose

  • Lead the Disaster Risk Management unit (DRMU) towards becoming a recognised centre of excellence within the Plan International network whilst building their reputation as an effective humanitarian response partner within the UK sector.
  • Manage a high performing team of 16 including programme management staff, deployable staff and technical staff in their areas of expertise: gender, child protection, education, accountability, cash and innovation.
  • Drive and guide the unit towards ambitious growth and enhanced programme quality.
  • Provide leadership to the wider organisation on effectively supporting a strengthened Humanitarian and Resilience agenda.

The role will lead on humanitarian responses, remotely or in country, when required There is also the requirement to travel up to 15% of the time for country visits and regional meetings.

Key Accountabilities

Strategic Leadership:

  • Establish Plan International UK’s profile within the UK and Europe as an effective humanitarian response partner.
  • Implement DRMU strategy 2016-2021, ensuring alignment with Plan International UK’s and global strategic priorities.
  • Continue to ambitiously expand and grow the Humanitarian & Resilience Portfolio, particularly with multi-laterals and through Cash as a modality.
  • Lead input to global strategy related to humanitarian and resilience work ensuring Plan International UK’s voice and experience is effectively heard and translated into policy and operational planning and delivery.
  • Lead the organisation’s disaster programme response during DEC period of joint action, taking responsibility for planning, coordinating between International Headquarters, Regional and Country staff.
  • Act as the Security Focal point deputy for the Director of Policy and Programmes, by providing support and guidance to all Plan International UK staff in relation to staff travel security policy and training specifically related to deployment during and humanitarian response or to fragile and insecure environments.
  • Develop Plan International UK’s overall capacity to secure funding for disasters and emergency programmes.
  • Ensure that the CEO and leadership team have timely information and advice on emerging issues in disaster management.


  • Lead, motivate and support an expanding team to meet stretching income targets whilst ensuring projects are delivered on time, to budget and to the highest possible standards.
  • Oversee the development and implementation of all DEC/DFID RRF/ECHO/START projects and programmes.
  • Participate as an active member of the department’s senior management team (SMT).
  • Develop and manage the DRM unit income and expenditure budgets monitoring on a monthly basis.
  • Oversee the effective identification, pursuit and conversion of new funding opportunities.
  • Oversee the effective diversification of income streams and the development of the unit’s grant pipeline.
  • Receive and provide regular detailed reports to ensure effective management oversight of performance against key performance indicators.
  • Be responsible for the security of unit staff whilst on field based missions ensuring they are prepared and have the training, knowledge and confidence to deal with difficult and complex situations.
  • Ensure technical support is developed to enable the mainstreaming of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Resilience, education, child protection, gender equality, sexual reproductive health and rights within their disaster risk portfolio working with the technical advisors and managers within the team to set and achieve high standards for programme design and delivery.


  • Lead on humanitarian related external representation and deputise for the Director of Policy and Programmes as necessary.
  • Ensure timely, accurate briefings are available for press and media related work in partnership with the Communications Team and act as a media spokesperson in pre and post disasters and emergency situations.
  • Ensure that Plan International UK’s response and spend on disasters meets international standards (SPHERE, CHS).
  • Work alongside the Director of Programmes to provide direct support to the CEO as a trustee of the DEC providing briefing, real-time reports and guidance on programme opportunities and critical data for reporting purposes.
  • Ensure Plan International UK is well represented in networks and influential within appropriate networks (eg, DEC, START, ECHO, VOICE, DFID) both in the UK and Europe.

Cross-departmental responsibilities:

  • Ensure that DRMU is appropriately represented with cross departmental groups.
  • Ensure the unit supports the development of appeals and proposals to supporters, Island donors and other major and corporate donors.
  • In collaboration with the Policy, Advocacy and Research team, lead on all humanitarian/disaster management policy work, including working on briefings and position papers, commissioning research, and responses to policy consultations.
  • Support the work of other teams in media, communications, policy, campaigning, advocacy, fundraising and capacity building where their work relates to humanitarian issues.
  • Deputise for the Director of Policy and Programmes in the Serious Incident Group (SIG) to undertake specific actions outlined in the SIG briefing notes.

Relationship within Plan International:

  • Lead on the positive and productive relationships between Plan International UK’s humanitarian work with International Headquarters and their Regional and Country office teams.
  • Work collaboratively with Plan International’s global humanitarian director contributing towards global strategy development and delivery.
  • Contribute to policies, procedures and corporate emergency preparedness systems.
  • Develop and facilitate Plan International UK’s humanitarian surge capacity.

Other responsibilities:

  • Attend regular department, SMT/Heads and other key meetings and contribute to the overall smooth operation of the department/organisation.
  • Keep up to date with the major issues and solutions pertaining to humanitarian response.
  • Collect information for other departments on field trips, as requested.
  • Take part in other inter-departmental work teams or projects, as requested.
  • Undertake other tasks and projects as requested by the Director of Programmes.


  • Ensure that all activities undertaken on behalf of Plan International UK, internally or externally, are in line with the overall aims of the organisation and with policies and procedures.
  • Participate in training and other activities as requested.

Awareness and Representation

  • Commitment to Plan’s position on promoting children’s rights and gender equality, and integrating this into all aspects of work.
  • Commitment to child safeguarding and to being confident and competent in meeting safeguarding responsibilities.

Level of Child Protection Responsibility

  • High – Has direct unsupervised contact with children or control over child protection policies or procedures. Must hold a clear enhanced CRB disclosure.

Level of Budgetary Responsibility

  • High – Post has direct responsibility for the management of a major budget.

Person Specification

Communicating with all stakeholders:

  • Use a high level of written and verbal communication skills in technical areas to foster partnerships and motivate a wide range of stakeholders, across cultures.
  • Represent Plan International  in a range of technical and non-technical fora powerfully and persuasively.
  • Negotiate partnerships and programmatic, financial and contractual arrangements, especially in a Humanitarian context.
  • Be a media spokesperson during emergency situations.

Working effectively and efficiently:

  • Be highly organised and juggle competing priorities.
  • Effectively and efficiently manage systems and resources and understand and manage risk.
  • Manage and support the team to work effectively.
  • Work flexibly under pressure and juggle tight deadlines, ensuring that the team are able to respond effectively to emergencies without losing focus on longer term objectives.
  • Understand and reflect the drivers of donors and partners.

Demonstrating Plan Values:

  • Inspire, coach and lead on disaster risk management to deliver excellent performance.
  • Show a commitment to the work of Plan International UK and act with integrity and honesty.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to learning and to continuous improvement of own skills and of Plan International UK’s work.

Relevant Experience

The successful candidate will have experience of:

  • Significant field experience in a management capacity within humanitarian response settings.
  • Working at a senior level in an international organisation and preferably a UN agency.
  • The UK and international donor funding environment and its requirements, enabling leadership and guidance of the development of partnerships and a strong pipeline of grants.
  • Leading, managing, motivating and developing staff.
  • Representing an organisation at a high level including working with the media and understanding media dynamics.
  • Working effectively within a complex organisational setting across a broad range of partners.

Specific Skills & Knowledge

The successful candidate will have the ability to:

  • Demonstrate an awareness of child protection and safeguarding issues.
  • Motivate, coach and influence others.
  • Work with diverse teams often in stressful situations.
  • Develop and achieve ambitious plans for a team.

The successful candidate will have knowledge of:

  • A post-graduate degree in development/humanitarian studies, or significant proven experience and knowledge of development issues.
  • Development studies, related to disaster management/response and demonstrated by a relevant qualification or extensive experience.
  • The wider Humanitarian sector; the current legal and policy environment in which humanitarian action is situated and key debates (relief/development transition, sphere standards and accountability, the development of international humanitarian law, etc.).
  • The role of children in development, particularly in relation to child rights and participation.
  • A related specialisation which adds value to their strategy of building a centre of excellence in relation to children/adolescents in emergencies, i.e. gender, education, protection, resilience.

How to Apply

To apply for this role, kindly send through a Microsoft Word version of your CV and a cover letter detailing why you are suited to this role. Please mark it for the attention of Tim Wingrove, email address: applications@redseasearch.com.  Please subject your email with the following reference: PLAN-UK-HoDRM.

Please note that the interview dates for this role will be confirmed with you should your application be successful.