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Head of Support Services (ICS-11)

Background Info - UNOPS

“UNOPS plays a critical role in providing management services for our life-saving, peacebuilding, humanitarian and development operations. I have seen many examples of how these activities help suffering people in troubled parts of the world.” Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General.

UNOPS mission is to expand the capacity of the UN system and its partners to implement peacebuilding, humanitarian and development operations that matter for people in need.

Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, UNOPS vision is to always satisfy partners with management services that meet world-class standards of quality, speed and cost effectiveness.

By assisting UN organizations, international financial institutions, governments and other development partners, UNOPS makes significant, tangible contributions to results on the ground.

UNOPS employs around 3,500 personnel annually and on behalf of its partners creates thousands more work opportunities in local communities. With its headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, a network of five regional offices and a further 20 operations and project centres, UNOPS oversees activities in more than 80 countries.

Background Info - Job-specific

The Head of Support Services is a member of the Senior Management team, with responsibility and accountability for all aspects of Operations management of the respective UNOPS Office.

Under the guidance and supervision of the Operations Center Director, the Head of Support Services is responsible for ensuring the highest efficiency and client service in Support Services.  The Head of Support Services fosters collaboration within all operational services and ensures close cooperation with, and a strong service oriented approach to, other office units and clients. 

The Head of Support Services provides strategic guidance, analyses and operational oversight over the management of UNOPS resources, and is responsible for safeguarding the financial accountability of the office. The Head of Support Services leads strategic planning for, and coordinates and manages the activities of the support services.  The Head of Support Services advises the OC Director on the overall strategic direction and activities of the functions and their staff, and is accountable for ensuring consistency with UNOPS Regulations, Rules and procedures and good management practices.

The Head of Support Services works closely with the various units of UNOPS HQs, to ensure being consistently up to date with all aspects of sound financial and operational management; and takes a lead role to ensure close collaboration on Operations with UNDP and other UN Agencies.

The Head of Support Services is accountable for the development and application of UNOPS accounting policies that are appropriate for UNOPS and consistent with IPSAS.  The Head of Support Services is directly responsible for the quality of UNOPS accounting records and oversees the preparation of UNOPS financial statements. The incumbent safeguards the Executive Director’s overall accountability for the accuracy of UNOPS’s financial statements.

The Head of Support Services advises on audit priorities, coordinates with the UN Board of External Audit on the annual UNOPS External Audit, coordinates follow up on all internal and external audit issues and ensures appropriate implementation of recommendations.

The Head of Support Services demonstrates a strong capacity for innovation and creativity in providing strategic operations policy advice and direction; and initiates/leads creative responses in response to changes in the UNOPS’s operating environment as needed.

The functions/duties/key results of this job description are generic and may not always be applicable, nor comprehensive, for all jobs under this job title.

The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.

Functional Responsibilities

Strategic oversight, direction and advice on all aspects of UNOPS Operations policies and management, on the achievement of the following results:    

  • Effective implementation of corporate strategies, establishment of management targets and monitoring achievement of results;
  • Provision of advice on strategies, policies and plans affecting operations, programme delivery, knowledge and learning services;
  • Lead constant monitoring and analyses of the operating environment, readjust operations in a timely manner and provide advice in the context of a risk assessment;
  • Proactively identify approaches and modalities to achieve organizational strategic management targets and increase cost-effectiveness; Provides operational and management guidance in support of UNOPS strategies and activities.
  • Leads implementation of corporate operational strategies; and supports establishment of management targets and monitoring of results;
  • Provide operations advice and support to UNOPS programmes entering into innovative approaches to financing private and public sector projects; including risk assessment and mitigation, support on financing structures/mechanisms and on financial instruments, including guarantees;
  • Maintain regular oversight over UNOPS’s financial position and financial projections, highlighting any exceptions or possible implications in a timely manner to the Director;
  • Actively support knowledge building and sharing with regard to management and operations in UNOPS; builds staff capacity in operations; and synthesizes lessons learnt/best practices.

Development and implementation of appropriate operations (finance, human resources, procurement) policies and procedures that comply with UNOPS Financial Regulations, Rules and procedures and with IPSAS, focusing on the achievement of the following results:

  • Full compliance of Operations with UNOPS Rules, Regulations and procedures;
  • Provide strategic, technical and managerial leadership in UNOPS’s implementation of IPSAS.  After implementation, ensure ongoing full compliance of UNOPS accounting policies with IPSAS;
  • Act as UNOPS focal point on all matters related to internal controls and oversight, including policies governing access rights in Atlas for UNOPS. Custodian of the Internal Control Framework. Advise and monitor all UNOPS units on compliance with corporate internal control standards and processes, particularly in Atlas finance, budget and human resources management, and in procurement;
  • Act as focal point for all internal and external audit matters.  Responsible for ensuring UNOPS is prepared for periodic management, operations and financial audits. Devise and propose post-audit strategies and monitor implementation of audit recommendations;
  • Provides expert advice on corporate policies regarding resource management, corporate tools and programming, including in relation to management projects.

Effective leadership of the UNOPS Management Support Unit and oversight over Programme Finance function, focusing on the achievement of the following results:

  • Monitor and provide periodic updates on overall UNOPS expenditure against resource allocations;
  • Provide guidance to programme finance management and effective cost recovery.  Lead the development of policies and procedures on development project forecasts, analyses and monitoring of their financial situation;
  • Oversee effective provision of operational support to development projects;
  • Management of programme and administrative resources, resources allocation and reporting in a systematic, transparent and efficient manner to UNOPS senior management, the donor community and the Executive Board;
  • Perform the role of Senior Manager in ATLAS.

Effective and efficient Budget and Financial Resources management, Human Resources management, Procurement and Logistical Services and ICT Support services, focusing on the achievement of the following results:

  • General administration: manage finance, logistics and premises; and support the Director in monitoring achievement of organizational targets (Programme and Operations), work plans and achievement of results;
  • Financial management: Senior manager rights in Atlas and ensures the integrity of financial systems, review against approved budgets and the consistent application of UNOPS Regulations and Rules;
  • Human Resources management: Overall recruitment, performance and career development in UNOPS. • Compliance with corporate human resources policies and strategies.• Projection of vacancies and optimal staffing office.• Effective management of the PRA cycle and Global Personnel Survey results follow-up.• Provide senior level advice on corporate HR strategies including talent management, competency development and succession planning,• Promote a dynamic organizational learning culture through empowering individuals and teams to identify critical learning needs, access relevant learning opportunities and ensure effective transfer of learning into practice.  • Provide strategic direction on development of the office learning plan.
  • Procurement and administrative services: Responsible for provision of high quality procurement and other project support services:• Exercise oversight over procurement processes and logistical services.  Ensures compliance with corporate procurement regulations, rules and procedures.• Oversee provision of travel support • Oversee maintenance of proper custody of UNOPS assets and facilities. Lead design and implementation of UNOPS financial exception reports, routinely monitor reports for unusual activities or transactions, and investigates and follows up anomalies.
  • Effectively represent UNOPS’s interest with services provided • Monitor quality of services provided to clients, raising for resolution any matters that impact UNOPS’s interest. • Provide leadership on leveraging all operational support services to develop business initiatives, and to improve information sharing and client service. • In close liaison with HQs, support maintenance of a secure, reliable ICT environment, including adequate plans for disaster recovery.

Impact of Results: The key results have impact on the overall economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of UNOPS Operations and support to programme effectiveness, particularly as it relates to the use of corporate resources in the following areas:

  •  Financial Reporting and Services
  •  Human Resources
  •  Procurement and logistical services
  •  Programme Finance support (budgets and expenditure)
  •  ICT

Required Competencies

Competencies Required: •  Demonstrates integrity and fairness by modeling the United Nation’s values and ethical standards
•  Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNOPS
•  Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
• Treats all people fairly without favoritism

Functional Skills Required: • Exceptional knowledge and experience in financial resources and human resources management, contract, asset and procurement, information and communication technology, general administration
• Demonstrated effectiveness in using competency-based tools and processes in the core HR functions of recruitment and selection, performance management, staff development and career management
• Ability to lead strategic planning, results-based management and reporting
• Ability to lead formulation and monitoring of management projects
• Ability to lead business processes re-engineering, implementation of new systems (business side), and positively influence staff behavioral/attitudinal change

Managerial/Behavioral Competencies:
Leadership: • Focuses on client service, impact and results
• Takes initiative and calculated risks
• Leads teams effectively and shows mentoring as well as conflict resolution skills
• Consistently displays a positive and constructive attitude 
Managing Relationships: • Builds strong relationships with clients
•  Communicates clearly and convincingly, both written and oral

Managing Complexity: • Demonstrates vision in development of Operations strategies
• Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities

Building and Sharing Knowledge: • Actively builds deep knowledge in the areas of finance, human resources, procurement, information and communications technology and general administration
• Makes valuable practice contributions in areas of competency

Learning and People Development: • Provides constructive coaching and feedback
• Promotes knowledge management and a learning environment in the office through leadership and personal example


Advanced University Degree in Finance, Business Administration, Public Administration, Economics or related field.

Applicants with a Bachelors Degree and 2 additional years of relevant working experience may also be considered.


7 Years of progressively responsible experience in accounting, financial management, procurement, transportation, and logistics, preferably at a senior post in an international organization.

Practical experience with UN financial management procedures, with special emphasis on logistics, planning, budgeting, procurement, and financial management.

Experience in UNOPS/UN human resources management/personnel administration procedures.

Experience in UNOPS/UN procurement and stock management systems.

Experience in UNOPS/UN logistics at a senior level.

Computer literate, in particular MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

UN/UNOPS Experience

A minimum of 4 years of UN working experience is required.

Additional Considerations

UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a level below the advertised level of the job.

Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply

Based on organizational needs at the time of recruitment, applicants accepted into this UNOPS roster pool may be considered for job at the advertised job level or its equivalent.  The successful candidate(s) may be offered a contract governed by the United Nations Staff Regulations and Rules or UNOPS individual contractor agreement.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location:
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
  • Closing Date: 2018-10-24

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