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Senior Governance & Risk Manager

National Institute for Health and Care Research

Location: TWICKENHAM - TW1 3NL

Contract: Full-time, Permanent  

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). We work in partnership with the NHS, universities, local government, other research funders, patients, and the public. The NIHR funds, enables, and delivers world-leading health and social care research that improves people's health and wellbeing and promotes economic growth. We are also a major funder of applied health research in low- and middle-income countries.

Job Description

The Team

The Governance, Performance and Improvement (GPI) is a small team of individuals who have primary and secondary responsibilities to mitigate against single points of failure. All members of the team will have the opportunity to work across all areas of responsibility, which offers individuals a breadth of experience and development. The team is responsible for ensuring that GMG delivers its services effectively and efficiently within corporate, customer and regulatory requirements.

Job purpose: 

The role of the Senior Governance and Risk Manager (SGRM) is central to the smooth execution of the GMG’s Governance Framework and to ensure that risks are being effectively managed at local and corporate level.

The governance structure at GMG comprises of:

  • Quarterly Contract Management Board meetings the purpose of which are to provide strategic and operational oversight of the performance and compliance of GMG in relation to the contracts held with the customer/client e.g. DHSC, NHS, Health and Care Research Wales.
  • Weekly GMG Board meetings the purpose of which are to provide the oversight and management of GMG business and setting strategic direction.
  • Quarterly Senior Leadership Group meetings the purpose of which are to address operational and planning issues faced by GMG, as well as providing an opportunity for senior leaders of GMG to network and collaborate on a variety of themes and initiative.

The SGRM role has one direct report, Governance and Risk Manager, as well as support from other members of the GPI team that have secondary responsibility for governance. The post holder is responsible for providing senior leadership and oversight of all activities relating to the governance and risk management at GMG.

In support of this, the role will develop a detailed understanding of GMG operations and the context of the wider NIHR, to provide advice to Chairs and the Director of GMG, forge strong internal and external networks, and ensure that linkages and dependencies are well-understood.

Key Responsibilities:

Governance and Risk Management

  • Working closely with the Assistant Director of GPI, GMG Board and Chairs of the Contract Management Board, the role will ensure the embedding and implementation of the GMG Governance Framework and ensuring that governance, secretariat support is provided to the highest standard.
  • Participate in cross NIHR networks on governance practices and legislative issues.
  • Support a cohesive and transparent governance structure through management of information flows between groups and the dissemination of decision-making to the wider organisation and stakeholders as appropriate.
  • Ensuring systems are in place to track deliverables, report on compliance with legislative, regulatory, and contractual requirements, and that key business risks are managed effectively.
  • Research, prepare, and present reports and proposals including benchmarking, analysis and evaluation of issues and data on matters related to GMG’s governance and its response to legislation and initiatives, for example, GDPR, Anti-Fraud, Information Security and Public Sector Equality Duty.
  • Ensuring that a Governance Standard Operating Procedure is developed, alongside guidance and maintenance of the governance and risk management toolkit and where appropriate training staff e.g., authors of papers, risk owners, and new members of the various groups.
  • Contribute to and facilitate internal governance reviews and oversee implementation of changes to the governance structure as and when required.
  • To be the custodian of the corporate risk registers and ensure that effective risk management strategies are in place and the risk registers are reviewed regularly kept up to date.
  • The SGRM will be specifically responsible for providing the high-quality secretariat to both the GMG Board and SLG which includes:
    • Plan, coordinate and facilitate the SLG quarterly meetings which will in the majority of cases be face to face with the occasional person joining virtually.
    • To be creative about the approach regarding agenda items such that it stimulates discussion and encourages full participation of all attendees. Including the setup of the room and audio-visual equipment.
  • Support GMG’s senior leadership in implementing succession planning for membership of the variety of groups including the development and implementation an induction process for new members.
  • Continuously carrying out effectiveness reviews to identify opportunities for improvement.

Secondary Responsibilities:

  • Working with the Senior CI and Project Manager, liaising with teams across GMG on the identification of process improvement opportunities, particularly in line with implementing best practice.
  • Work with the rest of the GPI team and appropriate members of staff across GMG to define and manage the implementation of process improvements, including ensuring that the appropriate quality and documentation requirements are in place and clearly understood.
  • Supporting the Quality and Compliance Manager with internal audits in particular those that are deemed high risk.
  • Working with the Quality and Compliance Manager and the Senior Information Governance Manager to understand the principles of corporate and customer policies and key areas of legislation (such as GDPR) to challenge GMG’s processes accordingly, with a particular focus on research funding best practice.


Behaviours and Competencies Required:

  • Impeccable integrity and discretion
  • Self-motivated, goal-oriented and a proactive with a strong work ethos
  • Curious, tenacious, and questioning mind with an appetite to challenge the status ensure continuous improvement.
  • Emotional intelligence and gravitas, to develop and maintain effective working relationships with senior management, other stakeholders, team members and direct report(s)
  • Balanced, measured and adaptable approach
  • Excellent written skills with emphasis on attention to detail
  • Good communication and influencing skills with an ability to develop strong relationships.
  • Strong organisation, time management and prioritisation skills.

Essential Qualifications, Knowledge, Experience and Technical Skills:

  • Strong degree-level academic background.
  • Strong written and verbal skills, and an effective communicator
  • Strong understanding and experience of corporate governance
  • Experience of delivering high level secretariat service, including agenda management, writing accurate and succinct minutes and papers.
  • Experience of writing and maintenance of risk registers
  • Managing and presenting complex information so that it is clear and concise.
  • An understanding of academic and/or research activities in science
  • Microsoft Office, G Suite and project management software

Desirable Knowledge, Experience and Technical Skills:

  • Track record of delivering change and driving corporate governance best practice.
  • Experience of research funding
  • Experience of translating policy into practice
  • Process mapping
  • Identifying and implementing improvement opportunities

To Apply:

Please apply directly through our vacancy page (via the ‘Apply’ button above) with your CV along with a cover letter indicating your suitability for the role and your motivation to apply. Please note that the submission of a cover letter is essential for your application to be considered.

Interested to learn more about or confidentially discuss this opportunity with the UK’s largest research funder, please send a CV and cover letter to  

Why work for us:

Join our team and you’ll be working with an exceptional organisation who manage high quality health and care research funding for the benefit of patients and the public. NIHR is one of the nation's largest funders of health and care research, and this opportunity will help you learn and develop your skills and progress your career.

We provide everything you’d expect including a competitive benefits package, enhanced contributory pension scheme, life insurance, season ticket loans, a laptop for hybrid office and home working, allowance for suitable home working equipment, Benenden healthcare, 25 days annual leave and a good work/life balance.

We take learning and development very seriously and you can expect to be given a broad range of training opportunities.

The Grant Management Group values diversity and aims to create an inclusive working environment. We want everyone to realise their full potential and make a positive contribution. We encourage applications from people from all backgrounds and communities. We are committed to having leadership and teams that are made up of diverse skills and experiences. 

Location: London, Twickenham
Salary: £45,700 to £53,500 Benefits + Bonus
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Permanent
Placed On: 8th September 2023
Closes: 6th November 2023
Job Ref: 280T
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