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Head of Service (Investigation

Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: D-1, Director - Internationally recruited position - Senior Executive level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Internal audit, Investigation and Inspection
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2020-10-20

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Before submitting an application, UNHCR staff members intending to apply to this Job Opening are requested to consult the Recruitment and Assignments Policy (RAP, UNHCR/HCP/2017/2 and the Recruitment and Assignments Administrative Instruction (RAAI), UNHCR/AI/2017/7 OF 15 August 2017.

Head of Service (Investigation)


The Investigation Service constitutes one of the two operational units in the revised structure of the IGO. It will carry out all required investigation activities within the framework of the Service. The Head of the Service will be responsible for its overall management, leadership and direction and will conduct selected investigations. Within UNHCR, s/he will liaise with the Regional Bureaus and other functional and support Divisions in the conduct of investigations and, as appropriate, on investigation findings and their possible implications for management policies and practices. Externally, s/he will liaise with similar bodies within and outside the UN system for information exchange and collaboration on investigation issues, including standards, methods, policies and procedure. S/he will also, as required by the Inspector General, represent the Service at senior levels of the organization, in relevant committees and bodies, and in relations with external counterparts. The Head of Service will report to the Inspector General and, when required, deputize for the IGO in his/her absence.



- All complaints submitted to the IGO are reviewed in a timely and effective manner.
- There is timely and effective resolution of all cases investigated by the Investigation Service.
- Policies and guidelines relating to the investigation function are drafted and implemented.


- Provide the Inspector General with evaluations, analysis, lessons-learned reviews and other studies that could be used as a basis for the improved conduct of investigations the formulation of recommendations for better UNHCR management practices.
- Provide overall management, leadership and direction of the Investigation Service, including direct supervision of its professional staff.
- Oversee the development and institutionalisation of appropriate policies, standards and procedures for investigations. This includes reviewing/ updating existing investigation tools and techniques, and continually developing the means and expertise of the Service to deal with evolving investigation demands of the organisation.
- Manage and oversee the utilisation of resources made available to the Investigation Service.
- Coordinate, prioritise and oversee all investigations, ensuring that they are carried out in a timely, effective and appropriate manner and in conformity with established standards, procedures and criteria, liaising with managers as needed to secure the cooperation required for investigation activities.

- Establish and oversee the implementation of systems, procedures and working arrangements for the efficient processing and treatment of all reports of possible misconduct received by the Investigation Service, in accordance with the policies and guidance set out in relevant administrative instructions.
- Personally conduct or closely direct selected investigations, in particular those involving major offenses or which are otherwise of an especially sensitive or complex nature.
- Liaise with DHRM and LAS to facilitate and support timely and effective follow up on investigations findings, including through efforts to ensure consistency in the application of standards and criteria between the areas of investigation and disciplinary action.
- Ensure that investigation-related training needs of investigation staff are addressed to allow investigation staff to carry out investigations in accordance with the latest and best practices in this area.
- Develop and maintain a network of relations with counterparts in the UN system and in other relevant national and international organisations for purposes of information-exchange and collaboration on investigation activities.
- Represent the IGO, as required by the Inspector General, in relevant internal and external task forces/meetings
- Deputize for the Inspector General as and when required.
- Undertake additional assignments and responsibilities as requested by the Inspector General.


- Decide whether complaints merit investigation.
- Assign cases to the Senior Investigation Officers.
- Decide to close investigation cases where the allegations are not founded or where they cannot be substantiated.
- Decide to refer investigation cases where the allegations are founded, to the Inspector General.
- Approve policies (and policy documents) relating to the investigation domain.


- Advanced university degree in Business/Public Administration, International Law, Social Science, Human Resources Management or a related field. 
- At least 20 years of in progressively responsible functions involving the application or interpretation of principles of law, due process and jurisprudence, of which at least 10 in functions requiring sound knowledge of  accountability frameworks, principles and practices in the UN system. Working knowledge of the UN internal justice system. Proven experience in the conduct of administrative investigations in an international setting.  Working knowledge of UNHCR's structure, organisation and modus operandi, in particular as these relate to operations and human resource management. 
- Proven ability to work under pressure, produce rapid results and exercise tact, discretion and sensitivity in communications and interaction with staff at all levels and from all cultural backgrounds. 
- Demonstrated mastery of management practices, standards and processes.
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to deal with staff and other interlocutors of different cultural and educational backgrounds.
- Proven ability to represent the office and interact with internal and external interlocutors at senior levels. 
- Demonstrated skills as a team builder and team player.
- Excellent knowledge of English (written/oral/comprehension) and French. Highly developed drafting skills.


- Knowledge of another official UN language is desirable.
- Experience of UNHCR in an operational setting in the field in a senior management position.
- Exposure to UNHCR-specific learning training activities (e.g. Senior Management Learning Programme). C001L4 - Accountability Level 4
C002L4 - Teamwork & Collaboration Level 4
C003L4 - Communication Level 4
C004L4 - Commitment to Continuous Learning Level 4
C005L4 - Client & Result Orientation Level 4
C006L4 - Organizational Awareness Level 4
M001L4 - Empowering and Building Trust Level 4
M002L4 - Managing Performance Level 4
M006L4 - Managing Resources Level 4
M005L4 - Leadership Level 4
M003L4 - Judgement and Decision Making Level 4
M004L4 - Strategic Planning and Vision Level 4
X004L4 - Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Level 4
X001L4 - Analytical Thinking Level 4
X006L4 - Policy Development & Research Level 4

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

Please note that the closing date for vacancies in this September 2020 Compendium is Tuesday 20 October 2020  (midnight Geneva time).

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
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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