The Scottish Policy & Research Exchange (SPRE) works with research, knowledge mobilisation and policy communities in Scotland, and across the UK, to improve how evidence and expertise shapes public policy.
We have recently shifted to a Co-Director model of leadership and established a new direction of travel. After appointing Dave Blackbell as one Co-Director, we are now recruiting for a second Co-Director.
- Full-time or part-time (0.6-1.0 FTE)
- Remote and flexible working
- £47,000 per annum
- Application deadline: 4pm Thursday 14th September
Register for an online Q&A Session:
- 13:00-14:00 Wednesday 30th August (see video below)
- 13:00-14:00 Monday 11th September
Q&A Session Presentation
One key message is that we’ll be really looking to get a sense of authenticity in how you embed your values in your answers, and to be excited by how you would engage with our new direction of travel.
Blog about this recruitment
In this blog for the Universities Policy Engagement Network, Dave Blackbell shares some of the insights underpinning SPRE’s new direction of travel and how it is shaping current efforts to recruit a second Co-Director.
Established in 2019 as a project within the Academy of Social Sciences, the Scottish Policy & Research Exchange (SPRE) works with research, knowledge mobilisation and policy communities in Scotland and across the UK to improve how evidence and expertise shapes policy.
As an organisation, we have recently reformed as an independent Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO). We have begun work to establish a core set of values and have committed to operationalising and embedding equity, learning and improvement, in a rigorous, transparent and accountable way. We refer to this as a ‘values-led intersectional praxis’, and you can read more about what we mean by this here.
As part of this transition, we have recently recruited a new Board of Trustees and shifted to a Co-Directorship model. We have just appointed one Co-Director, Dave Blackbell (formerly Bell), and are now seeking to appoint a second. The two new Co-Directors will work in partnership to co-lead the organisation at this very exciting time, ensuring that our values and a commitment to engaging in an ‘intersectional praxis’ are placed at the centre of everything we do.
As SPRE is at an early stage of this journey, this role provides a unique opportunity to further develop and shape the values, principles, vision and mission of the organisation, working with the Board of Trustees, and reporting to the Chair.
Given the importance of the relationship between the two Co-Directors, you can learn more about Dave Blackbell in this video, where he shares his values and beliefs, what he finds exciting about working for SPRE, and his thoughts on SPRE’s new direction of travel.
Between our two Co-Directors, we envisage they will hold a common set of core capacities (essential) and a broader set of complementary capacities (desirable). These are described below.
What SPRE can offer
Contract: Open-ended/Full time (37.5 hours per week) – but we will consider candidates on a part time basis (between 0.6-1.0 Full Time Equivalent).
Salary: £47,000 per annum
Annual Leave: SPRE staff are entitled to 28 days leave per year, in addition to Scottish public and bank holidays and the period between Christmas and New Year. The total annual leave is equivalent to 40-41 days, depending on the year. Public and bank holidays may be taken either on the day they fall or added to employee’s annual leave entitlement.
Pension: SPRE offers a pension scheme to its staff through the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST). SPRE, as the employer contributes 6.5% of salary and individual employees contribute 1.5% of salary, payable on a monthly basis.
Agile Working: Full flexibility to work in accordance with both business needs and personal needs. There may be occasions where this involves working or travelling on evenings or weekends.
Location: Remote working, from home and/or a local coworking space. Business travel, primarily across Scotland but also the UK, will be required (more on a monthly to quarterly basis than weekly) and covered by SPRE. Candidates based outside of Scotland are welcome to apply. Please see the Candidate Information Pack for more details.
Environment: A small and supportive working environment with a commitment to staff development (e.g. funded training courses, coaching, and mentorship – currently budgeted at £1,500 per person per year).
We expect our Co-Directors to:
- Co-lead on the development and operationalisation of SPRE’s vision and the strategic goals of the organisation, in a way that embeds our values.
- Identify, develop and maintain strategic and trusted relationships across the research and policy landscape.
- Ensure the sustainability and development of the organisation by being open to new ideas and innovation, driving continuous improvement and evolution.
- Work with the Board of Trustees on the governance of the organisation, as set out in the articles of association.
- Be responsible for all strategic, management and operational requirements.
- Co-develop and maintain equitable ways of working with each other.
We recognise that intersectional leadership cannot be understood or achieved in isolation. Enacting these responsibilities will involve emotionally laborious relational work, requiring solidarity, reciprocity, trust and respect to be built both within SPRE and with people, organisations and networks engaging in similar values-led commitments to positive change.
We expect that each of our Co-Directors holds a common set of core capacities, and that between them cover a broader set of complementary capacities, as listed below. However, this does not mean that each Co-Director will be equally balanced in each of the core capacities, nor that all of the complementary capacities will be covered between them.
- An understanding of research-policy landscapes and how interpersonal and systemic issues relating to equity, diversity and inclusion shape them.
- Can develop, embed and apply SPRE’s approach to a values-led intersectional praxis.
- Can facilitate and contribute meaningfully to strategy development, and develop implementation plans that effectively operationalise strategic objectives which enable accountability for learning.
- Can establish and maintain good governance, including supporting a Board of Trustees and other governance groups (such as Steering or Advisory Groups)
- Can develop and maintain trusted professional relationships with people across a wide range of organisation types.
- Can ensure the operational effectiveness of the organisation, including risk management, financial management, compliance and people management, and to proactively seek guidance, support, challenge, input and approval, as needed.
- Can design and facilitate co-productive and participatory processes in equitable, creative and diverse ways.
- Clear strategic and operational understanding of how to navigate complex processes of change, in the context of equitable research-policy relations.
- Practical and theoretical knowledge of monitoring, evaluation and learning approaches that are appropriate for navigating complex processes of change.
- An understanding of and experience in applying the practical implications of intersectionality, equity, equality, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in a wide range of contexts.
- Can attract and generate funding through donations, grants and other means.
- Can produce and design resources, and adaptively manage processes, to support the diverse needs of research-policy networks and collaborative project work.
- Can lead on communications and engagement strategy to raise the profile and reach of SPRE.
Meet Dave – SPRE’s new Co-Director
A conversation between Freya Collier-Sewell, one of SPRE’s new Trustees, and Dave Blackbell (formerly Bell), the first of SPRE’s new Co-Directors.
In this discussion, Dave shares personal and professional reflections on his values and beliefs, what he finds exciting about working for SPRE, and his thoughts on SPRE’s new direction of travel.
SPRE's new direction of travel
A recording of SPRE’s ‘re-launch’ event, in which we share SPRE’s journey to date, reflect on where our new direction of travel might take us, and provide an overview of our approach to Co-Director recruitment.
In the second half of the event we hear from an expert panel on the current state of the Scottish research-policy landscape, what shifts need to take place, and how these shifts can be supported.