Job description


Type: Full-time, permanent.

Salary: £40,500, plus pension allowance of 10%.

Location: Flexible, but in-person meetings and conferences will be held typically in central England.

Hours: 5-day week of 37.5 hours. Out of hours work will be required and time in lieu will be available.

Annual Leave: 25 days, plus public/bank holidays.

Closing date: 0900 UTC, 24 January 2022.

Key responsibilities
  • Run all day-to-day operations.
  • Contribute to and lead on strategy development in all organisational operations, to ensure that the BOU achieves its short and long-term objectives.
  • Develop and implement all necessary policies and procedures to facilitate management control and to ensure that all operations achieve their objectives.
  • Support development and maintenance of the BOU’s governance and provide for effective management succession for all operations.
  • Develop and control all operational budgets to ensure that the BOU has the resources required to meet its objectives within agreed budgets.
  • Develop and maintain all necessary systems and procedures, to ensure that operations meet agreed operational standards and that the BOU operates within relevant laws relating to businesses and charities.
  • Regularly review operations to ensure they meet required standards and objectives and recommend changes where necessary.
  • Maintain an effective working relationship with all key BOU personnel, including members of the Management Group, other Officers and Chairs of committees, to ensure that there is effective co-ordination of all activities in support of key objectives.
  • Line Manager for BOU staff, support officers and volunteers.
  • Ensure all staff, support officers and volunteers (including Council and committees) have appropriate training opportunities to carry out their responsibilities to the required standard.
  • Act as the BOU’s primary adviser on all issues relating to all operations and keep abreast of latest sector developments, to ensure that the BOU maintains its competitive position.
Core activities

IBIS – the international journal of avian science

  • Oversight of all non-editorial aspects, including business and contractual items with the publisher, marketing and promotion and overall production and distribution.
  • Support the IBIS Management Committee and Council in all aspects of journal management.


  • Oversee the development, preparation, promotion and delivery of all aspects of BOU conferences (in-person and virtual), meetings and events, working closely with the Meetings Committee, support officers and others, including:
    • Set-up in-person events at the venue and be present throughout to oversee the event delivery.
    • Remotely set-up and run virtual events.
  • Maintain materials and supplies used at BOU events and for marketing and promotion.

Communication and promoting the BOU

  • Prepare content and maintain the BOU website.
  • Manage all social media accounts and work closely with support officers to ensure high quality material is posted frequently.
  • Represent and promote the BOU at selected third-party events.
  • Identify and obtain opportunities for advertising and sponsorship income for any BOU activity and maintain relationships with advertisers and sponsors.
  • Manage the relationship and contract with our website hosting/development company.


  • Oversee the maintenance of the member database.
  • Produce two member newsletters per annum.
  • Support the work of the Engagement Committee and promote membership and engagement.

Council, committees, and office operations

  • Line manage the Journal & Office Manager and support officers.
  • Oversight of all arrangements relating to meetings of Council and all committees (supported by the Journal & Office Manager).
  • Prepare the agenda and papers for Council and committee meetings, and support others in preparation of meeting materials.
  • Produce the Annual Report of Council (with input from Officers and Chairs of committees).
  • Arrange and co-ordinate the Annual General Meeting.
  • Oversee purchase and maintenance of equipment and manage the BOU storage facility.

Finance and contracts

  • Prepare annual budget (with Honorary Treasurer).
  • Manage all income and expenditure and monthly bookkeeping.
  • Prepare Annual Accounts (with Honorary Treasurer and accountants/auditors).
  • Maintain good relationship with the accountants/auditors.
  • Manage contracts with staff, editors and support officers.
  • Support the work of the Grants Committee and oversee the awarding of grants, bursaries and studentships.
  • Ensure relevant insurances are maintained.

The British List

  • Support the Records Committee in their maintenance of the British List.

BOU leadership team

  • Be an active member of our leadership team (with the President, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer) which acts on behalf of the Council of Trustees between meetings of the Trustees.
Who are we looking for?

Qualities of the BOU Chief Operations Officer
The successful applicant will have:

  • A passion for ornithology, science communication and a desire to help build a diverse and inclusive global ornithological community.
  • Excellent inter-personal, communication and negotiating skills, and an enthusiasm for working collaboratively with our Council, committees, support staff, volunteers, and contractors to achieve our aims.
  • A pro-active and supportive approach to organising work, excellent time management skills and the confidence to make decisions within their delegated authority.
  • Be highly self-motivated and able to work remotely without day-to-day supervision.
  • Attention to detail, but an ability to work at pace and to tight deadlines.
  • Effective people management skills and a desire to improve yourself and others.
  • No fear of social media, and a positive, inclusive approach to using existing and new platforms to reach and engage our core science community.
Qualifications and experience

Essential requirements

  • A degree in business management or a relevant science discipline or at least 3-years’ experience in operations/programme management.
  • Excellent communication skills, including writing original material, editing contributed content and oral presentation, and familiarity with and use of mainstream social media platforms.
  • Advanced organisational skills, including the setting up and delivery of large conferences/meetings/events, and the ability to write business papers and reports for different audiences.
  • Knowledge of the wider ornithological community and the fundamentals of science communication.
  • Computer literacy in Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, desktop publishing and graphics packages.
  • Experience of using/managing a website platform including at least basic html editing (BOU use WordPress).

Other desirable requirements

  • Knowledge of the BOU and its activities.
  • Good knowledge and understanding of scientific journal publishing (landscape, processes, delivery, and management).
  • Line management experience.
  • Financial management responsibilities and skills, and knowledge of bookkeeping/ accounting practices.
  • Tendering and contract management experience.
  • A full driving licence (reimbursement of travel expenses at the arranged rate and other reasonable out of pocket expenses will be paid).
How to apply

Applicants should apply by email to the BOU Office. This should include:

  • A covering letter which:
    • summarises your relevant experience;
    •  covers the following areas (maximum 250 words per topic):
      • What is the value of the BOU to potential members?
      • What are the challenges facing small, learned societies in a fast-changing journal publishing landscape?
      • How does the BOU overcome barriers to inclusivity?
      • Describe a recent example from your work-life that demonstrates your organisational ability.
    • includes a personal statement which describes why you are enthusiastic about this opportunity.
  • A full CV.
  • The details of two referees.

Closing date for applications: 0900 UTC, 24 January 2022.

Interviews: mid/late February 2022.

Start date: the successful candidate will be expected to be in post from 1 June.