Harrogate, North Yorkshire
£21,000 - £27,000 per year
Contract, Part-time, Temporary, 12 month contract Contract
Job description

Chief Executive Officer, Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust


Key responsibilities


  • Assume executive management of all aspects of the Trust
  • Lead, develop and manage the YDRT staff, ensuring high level performance, an outcomes-focused approach and a common understanding of YDRT strategic plan.
  • Oversee the financial management of the Trust, working closely with the Finance Manager and Treasurer. Maximise the recovery of costs through projects.
  • Develop proactive strategies that drive and support delivery of YDRTs objectives.
  • Mentor, support and hold to account members of the team; ensure that the team’s ways of working and behaviours are in line with YDRT values, policies and legal compliance requirements.
  • Ensure management policies and procedures are developed as necessary and are up-to-date.
  • Collaborate with other partners and particularly other rivers trusts and The Rivers Trust to deliver strategic environmental improvements for rivers.
  • Act as project executive on a diverse range of river projects including natural flood management, habitat improvement, and community engagement.


Developing and sustaining finance

  • Set and manage the YDRT budget
  • Develop/oversee funding applications and opportunities for YDRT alongside the Operations Director and DVRN lead
  • Strengthen and build relationships with key partners, supporters, volunteers, donors, the media, MPs and funding providers.


Strategic Direction and Governance

  • Influence, guide and support the chairman and board of YDRT in the overall leadership of the organisation, shaping and determining its direction and strategy. In the first instance the CEO will be responsible for refining and finalising the organisations strategic plan.
  • Influence, guide and support the board to add value and to ensure effective governance, including in the fulfilment of YDRT’s legal, statutory and regulatory responsibilities. In the first instance working closely with the board on implementing the outcome of the 2019/20 Governance review and associated resilience work.
  • Foster effective on-going communication between the board and the team, and develop and encourage board participation/understanding of the work of YDRT
  • With trustees and senior staff, identify and manage risks and changes in the external environment


Developing and sustaining profile

  • Work influentially with peers across the sector to share knowledge, skills, resources and networks
  • Represent the organisation at external events and publicity opportunities
  • Promote the YDRT brand locally, regionally and nationally


CEO Job-Holder Competency Profile (Person Specification)

Leadership: A prime role of the CEO is to articulate the vision and strategy to motivate staff and volunteers; they must have the drive and energy to achieve this

Advocacy: The CEO is the public and private face of the Trust and they must be able to effectively promote its aims

Interpersonal: The CEO needs to build relationships with a variety of people, from senior corporate executives and landowners to staff, volunteers and supporters

Financial: The CEO must be able to set and manage the organisational budget and raise funds

Listening and learning: The CEO will need to quickly get up to speed with stakeholder relationships and projects. They will need to be self-motivated, adaptable and flexible to meet the organisation’s aims and objectives

Computing: It is essential to be able to use Word, Excel and Powerpoint


Skills, Knowledge and Experience required

The role of CEO is the most senior salaried position within YDRT.  It is likely that the job holder would be educated at least to first degree level with appropriate professional status and a minimum of five years’ experience relevant to the role. It is likely that prior to application they will have undertaken a senior manager or CEO role in the environmental sector.

Organisational and Leadership Experience

  • Strong exposure to the not-for-profit sector
  • Experience of working in a multi-disciplinary organisation.
  • Experience of working at board level with a good understanding of governance.
  • Experience of working effectively as part of a senior leadership team
  • Extensive experience in formulating, implementing and controlling strategic direction.
  • Ability to demonstrate strategic thinking in own area as well as contributing to wider organisation (The Rivers Trust) and externally as required.
  • Well-honed influencing skills.

Technical Experience (Desirable but not Essential)

  • A holistic knowledge of the environment and understanding of current issues in the catchment environment including fisheries, land management and river restoration.

Financial Management and Fundraising

  • Substantial experience of financial management of significant resource, both income and expenditure.
  • Proven track record of unrestricted and restricted fundraising; writing, submitting and winning bids for funding.

People Management & Influencing

  • Extensive people management experience.
  • Proven Leadership skills; developing, coaching and managing multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to empathise with and influence a wide range of people internally and externally - including government agencies, potential external funders, local businesses, farmers, land managers and owners, river users including anglers, other environmental organisations, water companies, local residents and MPs.
  • Acumen and sensitivity regarding “small p” politics.
  • Experience of working with trustees/ volunteers.


Communication & Profile Raising

  • Consistent demonstration of the ability to convey complicated issues in a straight-forward manner to diverse audiences.
  • Proven track record of delivery in profile-raising activities in areas such as fundraising, policy and conservation management.


Personal qualities

  • Ability to manage a diverse and demanding workload
  • Personal resilience/ self-management




A post graduate degree

Experience of working in a charity environment and familiarity with the statutory obligations and responsibilities of charities.


The Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust

The Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust is a registered charity covering the Rivers Swale, Ure, Nidd, Ouse and Wharfe catchment areas with a mission to:

  • Protect and conserve river environments and inspire others to contribute to this;
  • Provide opportunities for people to learn about and enjoy rivers;
  • Encourage partnership and collaborative working at a catchment scale.

The Trust undertakes a wide range of practical projects to improve the water quality and habitat of rivers and streams and to inspire other people to care about these environments. This includes working with farmers, landowners and communities to reduce water pollution, improve river habitat, address barriers to fish migration and improve fish habitats, and reduce the risk of damage from flooding. Volunteers have always been an essential component of the Trust, assisting with practical conservation work, monitoring and events.

The Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust hosts two catchment partnerships as part of Defra’s ‘Catchment based approach’ initiative: this involves building collaboration, engaging with communities, pooling evidence and finding funding to drive multi-partner projects that maximise benefits for people across the catchments.

The Trust evolved from a group of committed volunteers and is now overseen by a board of seven volunteer trustees. The Trust currently employs nine members of staff who split their time between the office, site visits, external meetings and working from home. The working culture of the Trust encourages a professional, committed and independent approach.

In the last three years the Trust has increased in size from two full time employees and three contractors (two part time and one full time) to a team of nine FTEs. We have also been significantly increased our following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to over 1000 followers.

The Trust secured funding from HLF Resilience to carry out a resilience project – YDRT’s Roaring 20s. This project includes a thorough review of how the charity operates with recommendations from charity experts and other rivers trusts on how to improve governance, efficiency and resilience. In parallel, the catchment partnership was one of four chosen to be part of the Charities Aid Foundation resilient catchment partnership project. Both projects have resulted in key recommendations on future direction, funding and operation to ensure the charity and wider catchment partnership continue to grow and to thrive in the 2020s and beyond. A key part of the CEO’s role will be to build on the work done to date and to implement the findings of these two projects along with any other recommendations based on experience.

YDRT’s funding comes almost entirely as funding for projects, so its existence and ability to retain staff depends on continuity of funding. With EU funding no longer available and government funding likely to reduce, it will be vital to continue to increase the range of funding from other sources. A key requirement of the CEO is the responsibility for developing and managing the ‘pipeline’ of funding for projects over the next 12 months and for the following years ahead in line with the Trusts strategy.

Posted on: 16 February 2021
Closed date: 05 March 2021
Tags: Fundraising, Senior Management