British Trust for Ornithology
Thetford, Norfolk
£52,363 rising to £58,182 over 2 years
Permanent, Full-time
Job description

Director - Information Systems

BTO is modernising at a time of significant technological and workplace change and continues to invest in the information systems that underpin all areas of our work. Our Information Systems (IS) team is crucial to the stewardship of our data and information, its capture, curation, and the systems which support its accessibility for volunteers and staff alike. There is the opportunity to develop the BTO’s digital strategy, alongside challenges such as meeting open data expectations. Leading the IS Team, and contributing to the delivery of BTO’s wider strategy, is a key role in maintaining BTO’s reputation for gold-standard data and information informing high-quality science.

The role will lead the Information Systems team, the IS strategy, and contribute to the overall strategic direction of the BTO. The role will ensure close collaboration with both Science and Engagement departments and inform SLT and the Board of key IS developments and progress.

The role will report to the Chief Executive, Juliet Vickery, and have overall responsibility for up to 20 staff. You will have direct line management responsibility for some of these staff. Due to the nature of the role, you will work closely with senior staff, teams and people across the BTO. You will be the IS lead for the purpose of Board and external meetings and will need to engage with interface users and suppliers.


  • Leadership, expertise and clarity for IS internally, whilst driving an agenda that enables the BTO to capitalise on digital and technological developments from being aware of industry/external changes
  • Work closely with the Senior Systems Manager, BTO staff, management and committees to identify information systems needs
  • Position the Trust appropriately with respect to cutting edge, and/or most suitable, relevant technologies
  • Provide strategic leadership for the Trust’s computer systems ensuring that appropriate hardware, software, support arrangements and technical expertise are in place to meet the Trust’s information systems needs
  • Ensure projects are well integrated with other BTO work, support the strategic direction and are prioritised accordingly

Project management

  • Maintain robust project management and resource planning around all IS projects with a particular focus on modernising our IS project management processes more in line with industry standards
  • Maintain and implement a rolling plan of current and pipeline projects and budget for the strategic development and operation of information systems within the Trust. Lead on drawing up and implementing annual budgets based on this plan
  • Ensure there are robust systems and processes in place to highlight risks and take steps to manage risks and mitigate when issues arise in relation to project delivery (eg to safeguard projects running to time, budget, and with available expertise etc)


  • Leadership, management and support of the IS Team, ensuring the team are motivated around clear goals, working within an agreed plan and health and wellbeing needs are considered
  • Ensure appropriate staffing, team structure, expertise, software tools, consultancy and training are in place for the team to meet their objectives
  • Work with others in the Trust to resolve any conflicts over the availability of staff resources for software development
  • Identify opportunities to develop the expertise and skills of current and future IS staff to meet BTO's strategic aims
  • Build and maintain a network of contacts and consultants able to provide necessary expertise and advice that is not available in house.
  • Ability to engage with the Trust’s supporters to understand their experience and needs

External relationships and role

  • Represent the BTO at high level external meetings with customers and collaborators
  • To lead on IS input to external relationships with key BTO partners, funders and customers, working in close collaboration with other senior BTO staff.
  • Attend key external meetings, making presentations, negotiating and developing funding proposals as required


  • Update and maintain a full set of robust IS policies and that they are communicated as appropriate (e.g. cyber security)


  • Excellent people management, including the ability to utilise expertise and skills of a team, and adopt a coaching line management style
  • Evidence of senior, leadership and strategic experience and input into teams and projects
  • High level communication skills and an ability to work constructively with a wide range of groups and individuals with different requirements is essential
  • Excellent project management skills, generally and as applied to information systems, with the ability to develop solutions to manage risk, resource and delivery problems
  • Ability to think strategically about the development of the Trust’s information systems and software
  • An appreciation of the ways in which information systems should contribute to the overall strategy of an organisation like the BTO
  • The ability to be an effective member of negotiating teams developing key relationships with external partners
  • Excellent ability to plan and manage budgets
  • Appropriate technical knowledge and expertise from across the work areas of software development, database development, management of databases and systems administration (Unix and Oracle).
  • A degree in a relevant area and at least five years’ experience in Information Technology.
  • Empathy with the volunteer biodiversity recording community and a keenness to work closely with volunteers would be advantageous.

What values and leadership competencies you’ll demonstrate
These describe how we do what we do and how we work with one another and should inform your application.


  • Impartiality
  • Empowerment
  • Inclusiveness
  • Collaborative
  • Passion
  • Open minded

Leadership behaviours

  • Curious and open
  • Experimental
  • Listening
  • Doing the right thing
  • Appreciating differences
  • Decisive and taking action
  • Leading outside the BTO



  • £52,363 rising to £58,182 over 2 years 
  • Annual leave entitlement on starting is 25 days plus bank holidays (pro rata if part time).
  • Life assurance (four times salary)
  • 11% employer pension contribution
  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • Retail discounts and Cycle to work scheme
  • Discounts on BTO books

Closing date for receipt of applications is Wednesday 25th August.

If you have a disability or long-term illness that otherwise prevents you from meeting any of the essential criteria, please contact us to discuss whether a reasonable adjustment could be made.

Posted on: 23 July 2021
Closed date: 22 August 2021
Job ref: 101332
Tags: Advice, Information, IT