Client Responsiveness Advisor

from International Rescue Committee
Closing date: 29 May 2018

Location: London,Brussels, or Bonn - with approx 20% travel

Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed unparalleled expertise in responding to emergencies and helping uprooted communities to rebuild. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.

The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The IRC is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable.

The IRC has committed under its 2020 Strategy to a number of ambitious changes to the way the organisation works, strengthening our ability to deliver high impact programming. These organisational ambitions include the commitment to responsive programming.

Driving forward the organisational ambition around responsiveness, the IRC set up a team in 2015 to develop and implement a strategy for the roll-out of client responsive programming. The team works closely and collaboratively at all levels of the organisation and with peers and donors to share learning and ensure relevance and uptake of new approaches. The team contributes to the change agenda around Accountability to Affected Populations and Humanitarian Effectiveness, through hosting and participating in inter-agency events, communication efforts and strategic partnerships.

Alongside the pursuit of these ambitions, the IRC is also now looking at ways to integrate these ambitions alongside other organisational ambitions in the field, working closely with regional and country management to harness and strengthen business processes which facilitate effective decision making.


The Client Responsiveness Advisor will be responsible for managing and overseeing the implementation of an approach to delivering IRC’s 2020 strategic objective of client responsive programming. S/he will work closely with senior and departmental leadership, key staff delivering other priority areas, and IRC country programmes to ensure that the approach complements and enhances programming and the implementation of other organisational priorities. The post holder will design and is accountable for the delivery of a portfolio of projects which build organisational capacity to deliver on this objective, harnessing best practice and developing and testing innovations in client responsive programming. S/he will lead IRC’s policy, advocacy and communications on Accountability to Affected Populations and client responsiveness, and will develop strategic partnerships with donors and peers in driving forward policy and practice changes in the sector. The post holder will ensure delivery capacity through managing the Client Responsiveness Team, and through proactive collaboration across IRC departments and teams.


The Client Responsiveness Advisor reports into the Senior Director – Governance Technical Unit. The post holder coordinates the Technical Specialist – Client Responsiveness and oversees the work of the Grants and Programmes Coordinator, as related to the Client Responsiveness Team.

Internally, the post holder will work closely with senior management in Country Programmes and Regions, key staff in Technical Units, Communications and Advocacy, as well as with the Strategy Unit and other relevant operational teams, such as the Global Philanthropy and Partnerships department, the Ethics and Compliance Unit and the Human Resources Department.

Externally, the post holder will develop strong working relationships with key representatives of major donors, those in peer agencies working on related thematic areas, with specialist think tanks and consultancies, and relevant network bodies.



The Client Responsiveness Advisor has authority for:

  • Managing the IRC’s strategic goals and policy around client responsive programming, and leading a process of consultation and endorsement on the strategy for implementation.
  • Representing the IRC’s work and policy positions on client responsive programming and Accountability to Affected Populations amongst external stakeholders, and for defining and implementing an advocacy, communications and partnership strategy.
  • Leading the Client Responsiveness team.
  • Overseeing the effective delivery of the Client Responsiveness project portfolio.

Responsibility for Resources:

The Client Responsiveness Advisor will be responsible for:

  • Overall strategic resource allocation across the project portfolio, and supporting the Grants and Programmes Coordinator in appropriate allocation of resources to deliver the teams’ work.
  • Implementing and effective fundraising strategy for the IRC’s client responsiveness work


  • Manage and oversee the implementation of an approach to delivering IRC’s 2020 strategic objective of responsive programming
  • Provide leadership in driving progress towards the IRC 2020 strategic objective of client responsive programming, demonstrating vision and an appreciation of the broad-ranging implications of the roll-out alongside planning, creativity and flexibility in implementation.
  • Provide leadership in developing the IRC approach to client responsive programming, drawing upon best practice, innovation, feedback and learning.
  • Proactively collaborating with other teams to ensure alignment of the approach with other broad organisational priorities, initiatives and work-streams.
  • Develop organisational capacity through providing quality assurance of technical assistance and resources, as well as providing advice, support and back-stopping on technical assistance in cases of strategic importance.
  • Troubleshoot problems, iterate and adapt the approach based on learning, progress towards achievement of the objective, and the changing internal and external context.

Design, manage and secure funds for a portfolio of strategic projects

  • Responsible for the overseeing the overall management of the Client Responsiveness Team’s project portfolio.
  • Lead new concept development and design on strategic projects, ensuring relevance to overall team and organisational priorities and through working in collaboration with other IRC departments and peers agencies.
  • Build donor relationships and collaborate with the Awards Management Team and Global Philanthropy and Partnerships colleagues in identifying suitable funding opportunities.

Lead IRC’s policy, advocacy and communications on Accountability to Affected Populations and client responsiveness

  • Lead client responsiveness policy, advocacy and communications efforts, identifying key messaging, targets and appropriate channels for influence.
  • Represent the IRC in bilateral and multilateral fora amongst key donor representatives and peers working on related themes.
  • Build alliances with key donors and peers, identifying and pursuing opportunities for added value through collective action.
  • Secure IRC’s name as a thought leader through strong messaging and a visible presence in key communication channels.

Ensure delivery capacity:

  • Coordinate the work of the Technical Specialist – Client Responsiveness, and the work of the Grants and Programmes Coordinator, related to the Client Responsiveness Team, providing them with guidance and support in delivering their objectives.
  • Build alliances across the IRC and with colleagues working on key related themes through mutual support, collaboration and networking.


Skills, Knowledge and Qualifications:

  • Master’s Degree in relevant field required (e.g. International Relations, Development, Anthropology, Sociology);
  • Strong leadership skills, including the ability to secure broad-based agreement and buy-in to new ways of working and priorities.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and implement a strategic vision in a large and complex organisation.
  • A strong understanding of best practice and latest advances in Accountability to Affected Populations / Client Responsiveness.
  • Proven problem solving skills, creativity and foresight, including the ability to anticipate and effectively respond to challenges and opportunities with broad ranging implications to advance the IRC’s responsive programming objective through independent effort and working effectively in collaboration with others.
  • Proven ability to represent and advocate for changes in policy and practice at the highest levels of an organisation, amongst peers and donors, as well as with colleagues in field programmes. Effective in developing a positive rapport and productive working relationships with those representing diverse interests and backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated programme development / fundraising skills, including project design, proposal writing and developing and fostering donor relationships.
  • Strong English oral and written communications skills, including an ability to oversee an effective communications plan for the team.
  • Strong understanding of IRC’s mission, vision and strategic objectives
  • Ability and interest in travelling (c. 20%), primarily to IRC and donor HQ locations, but also to IRC country programmes in the delivery of strategic projects.


  • Extenstive work experience in the humanitarian sector, including experience in a range of departments in the field and HQ, and experience in programme management and driving efforts to promote programme quality and impact.
  • Experience of rolling out new organisational processes, approaches and ways of working amongst diverse country programmes and teams.
  • Experience of developing and implementing approaches to promote Accountability to Affected Populations / Client Responsive Programming.
  • Experience of successfully influencing Accountability to Affected Populations / Client Responsive Programming policy agendas through representation, networking and partnerships, and through (co)authoring reports and blogs, hosting and presenting at inter-agency events, and developing bilateral relationships with donors and peers.
  • Experience of managing a team, ensuring staff are productive, have a clear understanding of their role in contributing to team objectives and learning, and feel valued and able to develop professionally.
How to apply:

Deadline for applications is 29th May 2018. Interviews will take place week commencing 4th June 2018.

You must have the right to work in the UK, Brussels or Bonn.

IRC-UK is committed to equality of opportunity and to non-discrimination for all applicants and employees, and we seek to ensure we achieve diversity in our workforce regardless of gender, race, religious beliefs, nationality, ethnic/national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability. IRC-UK welcomes applications from all candidates, including refugees who have the right to work in the UK.

If you have any questions or need assistance with the online recruitment process, please contact the UK HR team