Oxford, Oxfordshire
£50,000 - £55,000 per year (depending on experience)
Permanent, Full-time
Job description

Are you passionate about improving communities, changing lives and the power of volunteering?  Do you have strong leadership experience, excellent understanding of relevant legislation and good knowledge of communications?

About Pets as Therapy

Formed in 1983, Pets as Therapy (PAT) enhances health and well-being in the community through the facilitation of visits of trusted volunteers with their behaviourally assessed animals. Visiting hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, schools and a variety of other venues throughout the UK, we enable an improved quality of life for thousands of people every year.

Our therapeutic visits:

  • Enhance lives in our communities by providing companionship and friendship and helps to tackle loneliness and stress;
  • Improve the lives of people suffering from physical psychological and social health conditions and illnesses such as Autism, Dementia and Stroke by including animal assisted interventions as part of a holistic approach to treatment;
  • Improve literacy in children by developing their confidence, interest and enjoyment in reading through our Read2dogs and Write2dogs schemes.

Our model of facilitating thousands of volunteers to make visits nationwide enables us to have a major impact in an incredibly cost-effective way. Pet owners’ willingness to share their beloved animal with other people enables PAT to change lives for the better.

The CEO is responsible for the leadership, the overall strategic direction of the Charity, working with the Chair and Board, and the delivery of all its activities to ensure it meets the needs of the people it exists for in the most effective way for the future.


  • Provide clear Leadership to deliver the strategic vision and values of the charity and be a visible and powerful advocate for the cause the charity represents; 
  • Be responsible for all employees and volunteers ensuring best practice is adhered to;
  • Deliver effective management of the Head Office team and prioritise their workload;
  • Support profile raising and income generation for the Charity to enable it to deliver its strategy and plans;
  • Take overall responsibility for the Charity’s management and administration within the governance and accountability frameworks established by the Board of Trustees, supporting the development and delivery of strategic plans, and annual operational plans and budgets;
  • Work with the Chair of the Board to enable Trustees to fulfil their duties and legal and other responsibilities for the proper governance of the Charity, ensuring the board receives advice, recommendations and information in an effective, thorough and timely manner.


  • Accountable to the Board of Trustees;
  • Reports to the Chair of the Board of Trustees;
  • Where appropriate draws on the experience and knowledge of the Trustees;
  • Leadership and management of the team;
  • Advocate for the Charity with all stakeholders to engage and retain them, especially our volunteers;
  • Ongoing management of Partnerships;
  • Own key external relationships;
  • Be a spokesperson for the Charity on public platforms including on/offline media;
  • Be the main link to our volunteers and the ongoing relationship and communication to them;
  • Representation on Board Meetings and Sub Committee Meetings.


Leadership & Strategy

  1. Ensure the Charity has an effective vision, mission and long-term plan and that there is a clear and common understanding by all key stakeholders including staff and volunteers.
  2. Work with the Board to develop the Charity's strategic vision and be responsible for leading implementation.
  3. Be responsible for the development and delivery of the Charity's agreed business plans.
  4. Ensure that the Charity’s values, ethos and policies are relevant, fair and consistently implemented.
  5. Keep the voice of the people the Charity exists for at the heart of the organisation’s work and vision.
  6. Set the vision and culture for providing excellent volunteer and supporter care, strong and effective communications, high volunteer and supporter retention and acquisition of new volunteers / supporters/ influencers.
  7. Develop the Charity’s profile by seeking out and exploiting opportunities for innovation and ensure PAT is at the forefront of positive change in our charity sector.
  8. Influence key opinion leaders and stakeholders, developing appropriate relationships to further the vision of the Charity in all aspects of its work (support, campaigning, volunteering and income generation).
  9. Keep up to date with developments in the UK relevant to the achievement of the Charity’s vision.

Management & Operations

  1. Ensure the Charity has an appropriate and effective staff structure and systems to fulfil its short and long-term objectives and carry out its work effectively, with all staff understanding their role and accountabilities.
  2. Develop and deliver against effective annual operational plans and budgets (approved by the Board) in the context of the Charity’s strategic plan and vision.
  3. Utilise effective methods for monitoring the performance of the Charity and enable appropriate reporting to the Board against strategic and operational plans and budgets.
  4. Understand all systems and processes to support and direct staff and volunteers.
  5. Ensure effective recruitment, leadership, management, training and development of staff, directed at achieving short and long-term goals of the Charity, and fully compliant with employment law.
  6. Develop and maintain an environment that attracts, retains and motivates good quality staff, constantly seeking ways to learn and improve performance.
  7. Ensure the Charity is aware of best practice and that it constantly strives to achieve this within the constraints laid down by the Board and resources available.
  8. Ensure the Charity's services, contracts and projects are delivered to the highest standard with due regard for timescales, targets and budget.

Finance & Risk

  1. Responsible for the overall financial health of the Charity, ensuring appropriate and effective financial control, audit and reporting systems are in place.
  2. Ensure effective cash management in the context of budgets, forecasts and reserves policy approved by the Board.
  3. Ensure an unqualified audit opinion and no major issues being raised in the post audit report, with compliance with all accounting standard requirements and appropriate transparency in reporting to key stakeholders.
  4. Support the achievement of income budgets including through profile raising, use of networks, and ownership and development of specific relationships including with major donors, corporates and trust/grant makers as well as key influencers.
  5. Ensure the effective management and support of volunteers, recognising their critical nature to the Charity.
  6. Ensure that the major risks to which the Charity is exposed are understood, regularly reviewed and have systems in place to mitigate these risks.

Governance & Compliance 

  1. Provide the Company Secretarial role for the Charity, ensuring it meets all legal and statutory requirements with Companies House, Charity Commission, OSCR and any devolved nation charity authorities that are established.
  2. Attend all Board meetings and prepare a written report in advance of each meeting detailing matters of interest and concern regarding the Charity's activities during the previous period.
  3. Oversee the development and practical application of all organisational policies and processes e.g. with regard to health and safety, equality and diversity, and safeguarding.
  4. Ensure the Charity complies with best practice in all areas of its operation.
  5. Ensure that collection and protection of personal information complies with current Data Protection regulations.
  6. Ensure all the Charity's activities are conducted safely at all times and that Health and Safety policies are understood and followed by everyone including volunteers.
  7. Ensure all major risks are identified and regularly reviewed and that systems and procedures are in place to mitigate all such risks; be responsible for the development and implementation of the Charity's Risk Register.

Partnerships & Business Development

  1. Seek out, develop and nurture beneficial partnerships with supporters, donors and other charities and maximise the Charity's reach and opportunities.
  2. Develop long-term sustainability, building the Charity's business model and maximising income through strategic partnerships, alignment to similar organisations and creative fundraising.
  3. Oversee research to identify and exploit the value the Charity brings to the communities it serves.
  4. Adopt a creative and innovative approach and be open to new ideas and opportunities.
  5. Identify opportunities and understand how to manage grants, including bid writing.


  • Attend Board meetings and regularly liaise with the Chair.
  • Ensure the Board regularly reviews the Charity's governance structure and its own performance.
  • Ensure the Board's delegated authority is recorded in terms of reference for sub committees, job descriptions for honorary officers and key staff, and ensure there are regular reporting procedures.
  • Ensure the Board have the necessary skills required to support the achievement of the Charity's goals and can access external professional advice as and when required.
  • Ensure new trustees receive appropriate induction, advice, information and training.
  • Ensure appropriate policies are approved by the Board, in place and regularly reviewed.
  • Provide the Board with regular and appropriate reports of relevant activity in the UK and performance of the Charity (financial and non-financial) against plans and budgets.
  • Ensure the staff understand and support the governance role of the Board.


1. Qualifications

Educated to degree level or equivalent professional qualification or experience.

2. Essential experience

  • Minimum of 3 years’ experience of working at a senior level in the charity sector.
  • Experience in the development and delivery of strategies, operational plans and budgets.
  • Extensive staff management experience with evidence of team development and strong performance management.
  • Experience of working with volunteers.
  • Experience of fundraising.
  • Proven track record of managing the delivery of great volunteer / supporter/ customer care.
  • Experience of working with a Board of Trustees,
  • Proven track record in influencing, building and managing high level relationships with supporters and key opinion leaders.

3. Essential knowledge

  • Excellent knowledge of relevant legislation and best practice in the sector.
  • Good understanding of on & offline communications.
  • Understanding of the principles of maintaining a strong brand and creating effective communications materials.
  • Understanding of Salesforce and/or other relationship management databases.
  • A commitment to equal opportunities and diversity.

4. Essential skills

  • Inspirational leadership, management and motivational skills.
  • Ability to think and work strategically.
  • Strong decision making, highly organised and personally effective.
  • Exceptional relationship management and interpersonal skills including with volunteers, beneficiaries, key opinion leaders, funders/donors and corporates.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication, networking and negotiating skills.
  • Excellent time-management, organisation and prioritising skills.
  • Flexible and adaptable to the needs of the organisation.
  • Demonstrable diplomacy and conflict resolution skills and ability to work in confidence.
  • Clear track record of delivering projects to time and budget.
  • High degree of numeracy and good attention to detail.
  • Ability to use Microsoft Office suite.
  • Full driving licence.

5. Personal Attributes

  • Strong empathy and commitment to the goals and values of the Charity.
  • Person centred.
  • Self-motivated, positive, pro-active and dynamic.
  • Innovative and creative leader with ability to motivate and develop staff in a high challenge/high support environment.
  • Able to deal confidently with staff, trustees and volunteers including resolving differences of opinion in a positive way.
  • Resilient.
  • Collaborative, working well within a team and open to new ideas.
  • Capable of maintaining external networks and stakeholder groups to the benefit of the Charity.
  • Commitment to best practice and with a drive for continuous improvement.

6. Desirable selection criteria

  • IT literate with experience in social media platforms.
  • Experience of working with the media and acting as spokesperson for the organisation.
  • Willing to work weekends and evenings if required.

Safeguarding Statement

Pets as Therapy is committed to safeguarding and protecting the adults and children we work with. As such, posts maybe subject to a safer recruitment process, including the disclosure of criminal records and vetting checks. We ensure that we have policies and procedures in place which promote safeguarding and a safe working environment.

More about Pets as Therapy
Pets as Therapy

Formed in 1983, Pets as Therapy (PAT) enhances health and wellbeing in the community through the facilitation of visits of trusted volunteers w... Read more

Posted on: 16 July 2021
Closed date: 09 August 2021
Tags: Senior Management, Volunteer Management

The client requests no contact from agencies or media sales.