Vacancy -- Head of Programme Finance

Working for the Civil Service

The Welsh Government's recruitment processes are underpinned by the principle of selection for appointment on merit on the basis of fair and open competition as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles.

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Vacancy Details

Education, Social Justice and Welsh Language Group
Sustainable Communities for Learning
Grade 7 - £53,440 - £63,900
Actual starting salary will be £51,380 with the ability to appoint up to point 3 on the G7 scale for an exceptional candidate.
Full time (applications are welcome from people who work part time, as part of a job share or who work full time)
Fixed term
2 Years - A review of work needs and funding arrangements will be made prior to the two year anniversary to see if the appointment should be made permanent, subject to the appropriate approvals and funding being confirmed at the time.
Pan Wales
'Pan Wales' means that the location in which the vacancy can be based is flexible, subject to the needs of the business. Please note it may not always be possible to accommodate a preference for a specific office location, but requests will be taken into consideration.

Purpose of Post:

The Head of Programme Finance is a senior position with leadership responsibility for the efficient and effective management of Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme Finance Team.

The current phase of funding will see an investment of £2.3bn in new and refurbished school and college buildings across Wales.  Of this, £1.8bn will be capital funding and £0.5bn capital equivalent value (circa £1.25bn revenue value over a 25-year period) through the innovative finance Mutual Investment Model (MIM).  A further £1.5bn capital has been committed for the next phase of the Programme.

The role is accountable for providing high quality financial planning, analysis and reporting of programme finances.  The post holder will liaise with senior stakeholders, providing long term strategic advice and challenging business plans to ensure affordability and value for money outcomes, supporting the Programme to effectively monitor risks and opportunities.

The post holder will be expected to work effectively across boundaries with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure maximum value for money.  This will include local authorities, further education colleges, Diocesan Directors of Education and commercial partners. 

The complex nature of the Programme will require the post holder to have a comprehensive understanding of both public and commercial finance, and an ability to give appropriate independent advice directly to external stakeholders (local authorities and further education institutions), senior managers and Ministers and provide effective challenge on value for money and other matters, for high profile projects.

The Head of Programme Finance will play a key role in ensuring that value for money is obtained through investment decisions associated with projects delivered through the Mutual Investment Model strand of investment; ensuring MIM funded projects remain off government debt and in to protecting the financial interests of the Welsh Government and its delivery partners[1].  Developing and maintaining a positive working relationship with the Innovative Finance Team and the Welsh Education Partnership Company (WEPCo) will be critical.

WEPCo is a Joint Venture – a long-term partnership – between the Development Bank of Wales (on behalf of Welsh Ministers) and Meridiam to develop Education facilities on behalf of Local Authorities and Further Education Institutions in Wales. WEPCo’s role is to facilitate the delivery of a pipeline of projects, representing up to 30 new education facilities (primary, secondary, and further education colleges) in Wales using the Mutual Investment Model (MIM).

The Strategic Partnering Agreement (“SPA”) signed by WEPCo, Welsh Ministers and 24 Participants (being local authorities and further education institutions) sets out, amongst other things, the requirements for MIM project development and the Head of Programme Finance will be responsible for overseeing all Welsh Government financial elements related to this process.

[1] Participants under the terms of the Strategic Partnering Agreement


The Head of Programme Finance will be responsible for the leadership and management of the Programme Finance Team and be accountable for their work and performance and development.

They will use strong technical and influencing skills and sound understanding of the business area to work with a range of stakeholders in the effective and compliant management of the Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme finance delivery plans and associated business cases. Escalating unresolved issues appropriately and ensuring the Accounting Officer, teams and Ministers understand the risks and consequences of proposed activity.

Working closely with senior colleagues within the Programme and Operations Teams, the Head of Finance will ensure budgets are well constructed, managed and monitored and will provide appropriate challenge to programme budget managers on spending plans ensuring expenditure aligns to the strategic priorities and developing good finance skills in others.

The successful candidate will manage a small finance team, currently comprising of 1 SEO Senior Capital Funding Manager and 1 HEO Capital Funding Manager.

Will act at all times with integrity to lead and manage complex budgets and future spending reviews.  The Head of Programme Finance will also lead on finance and governance advice  to senior managers, the internal Education Investment Panel and external Programme Steering Group.

Key tasks:

  • Lead finance professional responsible for the effective in-year management and future financial management of the Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme BEL, budget allocations (2022-23 capital budget £354m), ensuring effective challenge, monitoring and reporting of the financial performance of the Programme BEL to the Programme Director, and through briefings to senior officials and Ministers.

  • Lead, manage, develop and motivate the Programme Finance Team, encouraging a culture which focuses on excellent customer service and continuous improvement.

  • Build and maintain strategic partnerships and relationships, and influence others where there may be divergent and conflicting views, ensuring the business areas understands the financial implications of decisions and available choices associated with both capital and revenue funding.

  • Lead finance professional working with the Programme Director, senior Programme leads, Strategic Budgeting and Operations officials to prepare financial planning and prioritisation, leading into the preparation of the budget funding across the BEL, as part of the Welsh Government’s annual budget setting process, and for specific cases as required. This involves the production of evidence papers, including pressures on budgets, and explanations, choices, impacts and implications if the required level of funding is not made available.

  • Create professional relationships and personal credibility with stakeholders, including the Welsh Education Partnership Company (WEPCo) to ensure that robust financial decision making is embedded into the heart of decision making for all investment decisions.


  • Producing detailed project finance financial models to establish project affordability prior to WEPCo commencing their work.


  • Monitoring project affordability throughout project development, liaising closely with WEPCo and Participants throughout.


  • Supporting Participants through the business case development and approvals process.


  • Providing financial advice on all key commercial terms within the MIM Project Agreements.


  • Coordinating Welsh Government and Participant stakeholders in run up to financial close and leading the process of agreeing terms.


  • Producing MIM specific financial and commercial details required of any Ministerial Advice documents required to be produced.


  • Responsibility for issuing/monitoring/collecting loans between the Welsh Government (Education) and Development Bank Wales.


  • Responsibility for management and reporting of the circa £50m revenue funded Annual Service Charge for MIM funded projects.


  • Coordinating and managing all external financial advisers as required.


  • Responsibility for the effective challenge, monitoring and reporting of the in-year financial performance of the capital Education BEL covering a range of education related funding lines/activities in addition to the Programme’s core infrastructure investment budget line.


  • Responsible for producing and coordinating management reports (both financial and performance information) to senior management and to Central Finance.


  • Support and guide the Programme Director, key programme leads and their respective teams to ensure effective budgetary control, including assisting with budget planning, dealing with in-year pressures on budgets and any other financial issues.


  • Critically appraise financial and Programme performance information and provide strategic financial advice to assist the delivery of quality services.


  • Critically review ministerial submissions/briefs by providing guidance on the financial implications of any new proposals, answers to Senedd Member questions etc. Produce briefing and give advice to ministers on Programme finance and budget matters.


  • Support the Programme Director and Programme Senior Responsible Owners in ensuring that the highest professional standards are achieved in administering Programme budgets such that statutory and compliance requirements are met.


  • Liaise with internal and external stakeholders to build organisational capacity and capability.


  • Provide insight and highlight the key issues, risks and opportunities to the Programme Director and Programme leads, with the ability to convey a message and ‘tell the story’ around financial information.


  • Provide strategic advice and analysis on financial impact, performance and risk to senior stakeholders and through this contribute to the strategic direction of the Department.


  • Ensure that effective reporting systems are in place for the recording of actual expenditure against budgets, and forecasting of annual variances from budgets;


  • Prepare and present monthly finance reports to the Programme’s SMT ensuring the integrity of the overall budget position;


  • Provide advice to the Programme Director on budgets and management of under/over spend forecast positions and options to feed into ministerial advice on policy decisions;


  • Provide the Programme Director/Education Investment Panel/Ministers with senior finance professional advice on strategic and project-related matters, including professional technical accounting advice in advance of decisions within business cases, for investment proposals and items which relate to balance sheet for Welsh Government;


  • Manage the process of grant allocations and all associated payment processes.


  • Working with programme leads and WEPCo, provide advice and discuss with stakeholders all finance, planning and compliance matters relating to investment decisions, with specific reference towards MIM funded projects;


  • Creating opportunities to share best practice and knowledge across the Programme Team, stakeholders and colleagues across the Department.

Development opportunities:

The role involves working at a senior level with staff across the Division, and with key external stakeholders across Wales in shaping and leading the financial governance of the Welsh Government’s £2.3bn flagship Education Investment Programme – Sustainable Communities for Learning.  The role provides a unique leadership opportunity for the management of a significant annual capital budget as well as innovative finance delivery through the Education MIM revenue strand of infrastructure investment, engendering proper financial management across the Programme and the bodies receiving funding.

Closing Date:

05/12/2022, 16:00


Posts recruited to as part of this recruitment campaign are broadly open to UK nationals, those with right to remain and work in the UK and those that meet the Civil Service Nationality Rules only. Check your eligibility here:

Prior to appointment, all successful applicants will be required to produce original, acceptable documents as part of the pre-employment checks. If it becomes apparent at a later stage in the process that you aren’t eligible to apply, your application will be withdrawn, or offer retracted.

Equality and Diversity

The Welsh Government is committed to providing services which embrace diversity and which promote equality of opportunity. This is underpinned by the Equality Act 2010 and will be adhered to at each stage of the recruitment process. Our goal is to ensure that these commitments are also embedded in our day-to-day working practices with all our customers, colleagues and partners.

We are committed to being an anti-racist organisation and increasing diversity in the Welsh Government by removing barriers and supporting all our staff to reach their potential. We are committed to recruiting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people and disabled people who are currently under-represented in Welsh Government.

We welcome applications from everyone regardless of age, marriage and civil partnership (both same sex and opposite sex), impairment or health condition, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, gender identity or gender expression.

We are a Stonewall Diversity Champion and a Disability Confident Level 3 (Leader) organisation. Key to supporting this work and providing peer support are five Board sponsored Staff Networks (Disability Awareness and Support (DAAS); Minority Ethnic Support Network (MESN); Mind Matters (Mental health and well-being); PRISM (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex +) and Women Together.

Disability Confident

A Great Place to Work for Veterans

This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans initiative.

Welsh Language Requirements

The Welsh Government is a bilingual organisation and Welsh language skills are considered an asset to the organisation. We encourage and support staff to learn, develop and use their Welsh language skills in the workplace. 

The following list of language requirements represents an objective assessment by the line manager on behalf of the Welsh Government of the Welsh language skills required to undertake the duties of this particular post.

Can read some basic words and phrases with understanding
Can hold a basic conversation in Welsh
Can understand parts of a basic conversation
Can write basic messages on everyday topics

Social Partnership

In Welsh Government, the relationship between the employer and trade unions is based on social partnership. We believe our goals can best be achieved by management and trade unions working together.

Our 3 recognised trade unions are:
•         PCS
•         Prospect
•         FDA

This relationship is underpinned by a partnership agreement. This sets out how our unions work with Welsh Government on issues such as:
•         pay
•         terms and conditions
•         policies and procedures
•         organisational change.

Our Welsh Government trade union colleagues work together to give their members a real say in the workplace. They make sure that the interests of their members are promoted and protected. They also help reduce inequalities and improve terms and conditions.

The Welsh Government has an excellent track record of working in partnership with its trade unions. We encourage staff to get involved. We support you to join a recognised trade union, to ensure your voice is heard in the workplace. and to learn more about trade unions and partnership working.

Competencies / Job Specific Criteria


Seeing the Big Picture

  • Identify implications of Departmental and political priorities and strategy on own area to ensure plans and activities reflect these.

Leading and Communicating

  • Be visible to staff and stakeholders and regularly undertake activities to engage and build trust with people involved in area of work.

Making Effective Decisions

  • Draw together and present reasonable conclusions from a wide range of incomplete and complex evidence and data – able to act or decide even when details are not clear.

Delivering at Pace

  • Maintain effective performance in difficult and challenging circumstances, encouraging others to do the same

Job Specific Criteria

  1. A fully qualified accountant with one of the recognised accounting bodies such as CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) or CCAB accountancy qualifications (Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Chartered Institute of Certified Accountants, The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) is essential for this post. A Management Qualification such as an MBA would be an advantage.
  2. Interact confidently and effectively as an intelligent and highly credible customer with counterparts from the commercial delivery organisations and commercial experts in achieving commercial outcomes.
  3. Provide valuable financial advice, challenge and support, strategic insight and business solutions often to Directors and other budget holders.

Assessment Process

Applications will be sifted, successful candidates will then be invited to an interview where they will be asked to do a 5 minute verbal presentation.  No presentation aids or handouts are required.  Candidates may use prompt cards/note during their presentation. 

The application sift process will be undertaken against the Welsh Government's Competence Framework and the Government Finance Function Competence Framework.

Other Information

  • Unless stated otherwise in ‘actual starting salary’, all candidates will start at the minimum of the pay scale being appointed to (this includes existing civil servants).This is not negotiable.
  • Unless stated otherwise in ‘type of opportunity’, this recruitment advert is not open on a Loan or Secondment basis.
  • For more information on the eligibility criteria and terms and conditions for Loan and Secondment positions in Welsh Government, please see external recruitment candidate guidance.
  • Unless stated otherwise in ‘Location of Post’ the role/s recruited to via this campaign can only be worked in the UK, not overseas.
Neal O'Leary -

How to apply

All applications for this vacancy should be made online via the Welsh Government's online application system.  If you have an impairment which would prevent you from applying on-line, please e-mail to request an application pack in an alternative format, or to request a reasonable adjustment related to an impairment in order to submit your application.

To apply, you'll need to have an account on our online application system.  Click the 'Apply' button below, and you'll be asked to 'Log in' if you already have an account, or 'Register' if you don't yet have an account.  Registration takes just a few minutes to complete.  You'll need an e-mail address to be able to register.  Once you've registered for an account and logged in, you'll be taken to the online application form, which you'll need to fully complete and submit before the deadline on the closing date.  

If you’d like to apply for this vacancy in Welsh, please use the ‘Newid Iaith / Change Language’ link at the top of this page, to take you to the Welsh version of this advert, from which you can apply in Welsh.

For further information regarding the Welsh Government recruitment process, please see the Recruitment Guidance for External Candidates (link).

When evidencing your suitability for the post, it is recommended that you refer to the Civil Service Competency Framework (link)

Grievance and Complaints

Anyone who believes they have been treated unfairly, or has a grievance or complaint, about how the process was conducted should either write to the Head of Resourcing, Welsh Government, Cathays Park 2, Cardiff CF10 3NQ or email  If you are unhappy with the outcome of the complaint raised with the Welsh Government and feel that the principles of appointment on merit through fair and open competition have not been met you have the right to pursue your grievance with the Civil Service Commission.

This vacancy is closed to applications.