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Head of Service (Finance)

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  • Job Profile
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  • Aberdeenshire
  • Finance Service


Christine GoreThank you for your interest in the Head of Service (Finance) position here at Aberdeenshire Council. I hope this recruitment microsite gives you a good idea of who we are and of the role we are seeking to fill.

Aberdeenshire Council is one of Scotland’s leading unitary authorities. We cover some 2,500 square miles with a population of approximately 236,000. The Council has a strong reputation for delivering excellent public services and value for money. We excel at partnership working with agencies and authorities throughout the region and are not afraid of showing leadership on complex and challenging issues. As well as our external audiences, we have 15,000 employees, each of whom are ambassadors for the Council. For two consecutive years Aberdeenshire came top amongst the country’s 32 local authority areas in the annual Bank of Scotland Quality of Life Survey.

We are looking for a committed and motivated individual with broad experience in Finance and a proven record of success in a senior management role. As well as being open to new ideas, we are also looking for someone to play a key role in the leadership, vision and strategic direction of the Finance Service.

We are looking for dynamic personalities, leaders in their field, committed to excellence and ready to work in an expanding part of Scotland.

If you wish to discuss the post, on an informal basis, please contact Christine Gore, tel 01224 665510.

Closing date: 5 February 2012


Christine Gore

Christine Gore
Director of Corporate Services

Aberdeenshire Council Logo

Job Title

Head of Service (Finance)


£80,604 - Chief Officer SCP 36

Position Location

Woodhill House, Aberdeen

Job Purpose

Responsible to the Director of Corporate Services for the leadership, management, performance and development of the Finance Service and a responsibility for the management of Finance functions across Aberdeenshire Council.


Core Responsibilities / Tasks

Providing Direction

  • Play a key role in the leadership, vision and strategic direction of the Service and Council.
  • Provide relevant professional advice and support to the Director, Chief Executive, other senior managers and Elected Members.
  • As a member of senior management, participate in the corporate and strategic management of the Council.
  • Assist in defining and developing corporate objectives, translating these into appropriate and effective action programmes.
  • Contribute to the development and maintenance of service plans which support the achievement of Directorate and Council objectives.
  • Lead the effective management and development of employees across the Service in accordance with Human Resource policies, ensuring they are consulted, empowered, valued and motivated.
  • Maximise the contribution of employees by ensuring that the Council's performance appraisal and developmental processes are undertaken systematically and consistently.
  • Ensure that appropriate Council policies, strategies and decisions are communicated effectively to all affected parties.

Collaborative Working

  • Work in partnership with the Director, Chief Executive, other senior managers and Elected Members in order to promote and achieve the Council's objectives, through developing appropriate strategies, policies and plans.
  • Play a key role in the interface between Elected Members and employees, supporting the democratic processes, and providing advice on appropriate policy options and professional matters.
  • Represent the Council externally as a respected ambassador, promoting economic, environmental and social issues at all times.
  • Participate in effective partnership working with local communities and with other public, private and voluntary sector organisations in order to achieve the Council's objectives.
  • Embed the "customer first" ethos, ensuring that the approach to customers and employees is underpinned by a strong equality and diversity ethos.

Change Management

  • Take lead responsibility for assigned corporate objectives, cross-cutting themes, transformation and change management programmes, other projects and initiatives.

Achieving Success

  • Lead and manage key programmes and projects, ensuring successful delivery against agreed national and local targets and outcomes, and compliance with financial regulations and codes of practice.
  • Embed the Performance Management Culture, driving the continuous improvement of services and playing a key role in Best Value processes, ensuring that this is under-pinned by appropriate performance management systems and information.
  • Ensure that resources are optimised and controlled effectively by the development, implementation and monitoring of robust service and financial planning processes.
  • Ensure that, within the policies agreed by the Council, a cost conscious approach to the utilisation of resources, including finance and budgetary control, staffing levels, supplies, equipment and premises.
  • Implement strategies, plans and targets for equal opportunities and diversity to support the Council's objectives.
  • Support effective scrutiny arrangements and ensure the engagement and involvement of Members as appropriate.

Functional Responsibilities / Tasks

  • Lead and direct the functions of Finance, Accountancy and Corporate Finance, Payroll and Payments, Revenue and Benefits.
  • Act as Finance Officer who has the 'proper officer' responsibility conveyed by Section 95 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.
  • The Chief Financial Officer in a public service organisation:
  • is a key member of the SMT, helping it to develop and implement strategy and to resource and deliver the authority's strategic objectives sustainably and in the public interest.
  • must be actively involved in, and able to bring influence to bear on, all material business decisions to ensure immediate and longer term implications, opportunities and risks are fully considered, and alignment with the authority's financial strategy.
  • must lead the promotion and delivery by the whole authority of good financial management so that public money is safeguarded at all times and used appropriately, economically, efficiently and effectively.
  • To deliver these responsibilities the Chief Financial Officer:
  • must lead and direct a finance function that is resourced to be fit for purpose.
  • must be professionally qualified and suitably experienced.

Qualifications and Training


  • Management qualification or completion of a recognised management development/leadership programme
  • Continuous professional/managerial development
  • Professional qualification in Finance


  • Post-graduate qualification in Finance
  • Degree or equivalent


  • Experience of successfully managing and leading a relevant professional area in a multi-functional organisation.
  • Demonstrable participation and achievements at corporate and strategic management level.
  • Successful experience of motivating and developing staff, individually and in teams, to achieve targets and improve services.
  • Experience of working and providing advice in a political context.
  • Proven and successful experience of representing their organisation and participating in relevant partnerships and external stakeholder relationships, locally and nationally, to achieve organisation and stakeholder priorities.
  • Proven experience implementing improvement plans and delivering sustained service improvements against agreed national and local targets.
  • Experience in interpreting and managing complex financial and bugetary information, ensuring targets are met.
  • Accomplishments in managing service and organisational change.

Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes

  • Knowledge of inspection regimes including Best Value.
  • Highly effective project management skills.
  • Financial management skills.
  • Political sensitivity and awareness.
  • Ability to lead and deliver key projects and programmes.
  • Ability to effectively lead and integrate multi-disciplinary teams of professional, operational and/or support staff.
  • Commitment to public service.
  • Commitment to quality, customer-focused services, integrating customer care strategies and targets into service delivery.
  • Commitment to equality of opportunity in employment and service delivery.
  • Clear understanding of local government and the context in which it operates.

This job profile is not exhaustive; it is intended to indicate the general level of duties and responsibilities for the post.

core competencies


How To Apply

To apply for this post please click on this link. You will be required to complete a basic application form and upload your CV, supporting statement and any other additional information into one document.

If you wish to discuss the post on an informal basis, please feel free to contact:

Recruitment & Selection Timetable

Closing Date 5 February 2012
Assessment Day 13 February 2012
Longlist Interview Day 14 February 2012
Evening Event 1 March 2012
Shortlist Interview 2 March 2012

Security Checks

Criminal Conviction

Due to the nature of this post it is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and convictions whether spent or unspent must be declared. Candidates called for a short-list interview will therefore be required to complete a declaration form. Guidance will be provided with the invitation to the short-list interview. Any information given will be treated in strictest confidence and information provided about convictions that are deemed to be irrelevant will be disregarded.


A Standard Disclosure Scotland check will be required for the successful candidate.

Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act (2006)

You must be eligible to work in the UK. The successful candidate will be required to provide original evidence of his/her eligibility to work in the UK, for example your National Insurance number and passport or full birth certificate.

Canvassing Candidates

Candidates should note that canvassing members of the Council, directly or indirectly, in connection with this post shall disqualify you.

Evidence of Qualifications

Candidates will be required to bring evidence of their qualifications in the format of original copies of certificates, etc to the short-list interview.

Provision of False Information

Candidates should also note that the provision of false information or the omission of material information in your application, or at interview, may lead to the offer of employment being withdrawn.

Politically Restricted

This post is politically restricted and disqualifies you from holding political office should you be successful.

  • For more information please view the attached guidance. [28kb PDF]



Aberdeenshire Council - An Employer of Choice

Apperentice joinerAberdeenshire Council is a premium employer, offering employees the opportunity to work more flexibly – enabling them to balance work and personal commitments, achieving greater variety in what they do. We promote work life balance, respecting and allowing employees their individual right to a fulfilled life inside and outside work, while ensuring quality of service to the community.



Welcome to Aberdeenshire

PortsoyAberdeenshire offers the best rural quality of life in Scotland. For two consecutive years, the area came out top amongst the country’s 32 local authority areas in the annual Quality of Life Survey conducted by the Bank of Scotland, which highlighted the area as having some of the healthiest and most well-off residents.

The authority has regularly been polled at the top of previous surveys carried out by the Bank of Scotland.

As well as coming top of the survey in 2009, Aberdeenshire came top overall for the best quality of life in 2007; in May 2008 the area had the best quality of life amongst rural areas in Scotland; and in November 2008 came second in the list of areas enjoying the best overall quality of life. In March 2009 it also came out top amongst ten other rural local authorities in the Bank of Scotland’s Rural Quality of Life Survey.

The latest survey found that residents of Aberdeenshire tend to be in good health and have a relatively higher than average life expectancy of 78 years.

According to the Bank of Scotland’s survey, the employment rate in Aberdeenshire is 80 per cent with many residents enjoying high incomes with weekly average earnings of £647.

On several indicators, Aberdeenshire ranks above the Scottish average, including school qualifications where 83% achieve five or more SCQF level 4 awards compared to the Scotland average of 78%.

Aberdeenshire Council is an award-winning council and has had a number of high profile successes. Our work on sustainability has been widely recognised throughout the UK, as has the council's innovative Kaizen improvement programme which won a top European award. In addition the council has won a raft of awards through Cosla, the National Transport Awards, the Northern Star Business and Tourism Awards and the Young Local Authority of the Year. Also, the Council was voted the Best Large Council to Work for 2008 in The Times Best Councils to Work For and the only Scottish authority named in the top 25 list.

Aberdeenshire was found to have high employment, one of the highest life expectancies and low crime rates. People living in the area earned above the Scottish average of £549 a week, lived until the age of 77 on average and had a good general level of health. Aberdeen also has the most hours of sunshine in Scotland.

Tim Crawford, group economist at Bank of Scotland said: "A strong economy, along with good schools and a low crime rate have helped Aberdeenshire to become the area with the best quality of life in Scotland in 2007."

Aberdeenshire from mountain to sea - the very best of Scotland

BeachAberdeenshire has a huge variety of activities for visitors and residents alike. It covers an area of just under 2,500 square miles and has a population of around 236,000.

The area boasts stunning scenery, plenty of open space and is steeped in history and tradition.

Among its outdoor attractions are large country parks, nature reserves, hill walks and mountain bike tracks - with the Cairngorms National Park sitting partly within the Marr area. In addition, there are many sporting pursuits to suit all ages and abilities from fishing, skiing, horse-riding and golf.

BanchoryThousands of visitors are attracted each year to the area's Castles and Whisky Trail, Royal Deeside and Royal country estate Balmoral Castle as well as ancient standing stones, museums, historic houses and gardens and a thriving traditional arts and music scene.

Those looking to settle in Aberdeenshire may choose to live in one of the bustling towns, or in the rural heart of the area. Our communities are well served by community centres, libraries, 17 secondary schools and 153 primary schools. The city of Aberdeen also has a lot to offer with a vibrant nightlife, universities and colleges, theatres, entertainment and shopping. All these factors make for a lively, thriving area of Scotland which offers all the attractions of modern times in the scenic beauty of its unspoilt landscapes.

Getting here

Aberdeen AirportAberdeen is well connected to the rest of the UK and Europe by land, sea and air.

The road and rail networks connect Aberdeen to all the major Scottish cities. Travel time by car to Edinburgh is approximately two hours, to Glasgow a little over two and a half hours and to Dundee about one hour.

There are direct and overnight sleeper trains to London each day, as well as direct services to Birmingham and Plymouth. There is also an hourly service to Edinburgh and Glasgow, with regular connections to the south.

As well as being the principal British port serving the oil industry and a key centre of the fishing industry, Aberdeen also offers ferry and cargo services to Orkney and Shetland, Scandinavia, the Faroe Islands and Northern Europe.

Aberdeen International Airport is only 15 minutes drive from the heart of the city centre. It is convenient and well-connected to the strategic centres throughout the UK, Europe and worldwide. With around 12 airlines operating flights across 30 destinations, there is a good deal of choice on fares and routes.

Flight Times to Aberdeen

Flight Times to Aberdeen
United Kingdom Europe
Belfast 1 hr Amsterdam 1 hr 50 mins
Birmingham 1 hr 40 mins Barcelona 3 hrs
Edinburgh 35 mins Bergen 1 hr 35 mins
Glasgow 50 mins Copenhagen 1 hr 40 mins
Humberside 1hr 10 mins Dublin 1 hr
Kirkwall 50 mins Esbjerg 1 hr 15 mins
Leeds / Bradford 1 hr 20 mins Faroe Islands 1 hr 15 mins
London Gatwick 1 hr 45 mins Haugesund 1 hr 20 mins
London Heathrow 1 hr 40 mins Palma 3 hrs 25 mins
London Luton 1 hr 20 mins Paris 2 hrs 5 mins
Manchester 1 hr 15 mins Stavanger 1 hr
Newcastle 1 hr    
Nottingham 1 hr 30 mins    
Shetland 1 hr    
Teeside 1 hr 10 mins    
Wick 40 mins    


About Aberdeenshire

Balmedie Beach Summer ProgrammeMaking a move in your career is more than getting a new job. It's about making sure that your family life is enhanced and that you all benefit from what’s on offer in Aberdeenshire.

There are a number of factors, which we think you'll want to take into consideration before applying for this post. More information is available on request, but we've provided a few details on areas, which we think will help you to choose Aberdeenshire for your next career move.


Career and work opportunities

There's no better place than Aberdeenshire to expand your career horizons. Unemployment is currently less than 1% making it the ideal place for job hunters. As a result of the discovery of oil and gas, Aberdeen City and Shire have become a centre for engineering and technical services. Of course, whisky is a major industry in Scotland but there are also opportunities in IT and mobile technology.

Your home

DunnotarNo matter where you choose to live in Aberdeenshire, you're never far from open country or the north east coastline. Even if you choose to live in the heart of Aberdeen City itself, less than half a mile from the city centre you’ll find Aberdeen beach – a two-mile stretch of golden sand lined by an esplanade.

House hunting is made easier for you by the existence of the Aberdeen Solicitors Property Centre (ASPC). Over 90% of properties for sale in the area are advertised through ASPC and they have a handy website at www.aspc.co.uk

Finding a solicitor

SolicitorOnce you find a property that meets your requirements you should contact a solicitor who will understand the Scottish system of property purchasing. They will deal with the marketing of property and act for sellers and buyers and will also help to arrange mortgages and insurance.

It is normal practice in Scotland to arrange for a survey of the property to be carried out before you submit a formal offer through your solicitor. The survey should list any significant defects and repair work. If you need to arrange a mortgage, your lender will usually require proof that a survey has been carried out.

If more than one party is interested, a closing date for offers is usually fixed and generally the highest bid for the property will be accepted. Properties are generally offered for offers over, although occasionally you will find fixed price homes. Your solicitor will provide you with advice throughout the process.

Your Family

Education facilities in Aberdeenshire have an excellent reputation for quality and innovation. We have the smallest average primary school class size at just 22.4 pupils and 85% of S4 students gained 5 awards at level 4 or better.

Four Nobel prizes have been awarded to Aberdeen’s research and academic institutes and five secondary schools were rated in the top 20 of the best secondary schools in Scotland.

Dunnottar Primary SchoolPre-school education – all three and four year olds are entitled to a free, part-time or pre-school place. They are usually delivered over five sessions a week (each of around 2 ½ hours) over the school years.

Further education - Aberdeen College and Banff & Buchan College provide education for people who are older than 16 years.

Higher education - across Scotland there are 21 institutions, providing a full selection of courses at sub-degree, degree and postgraduate levels.

Aberdeen's higher education and research facilities are internationally respected, particularly with regard to medicine, agriculture, life sciences, management and related disciplines. It is home to two universities, the University of Aberdeen and The Robert Gordon University.

Social Work Services are well developed providing high quality care. The Social Work inspectorate (SWIA) have confirmed that we play an important role in many communities. Resources are well managed and vulnerable people are appropriately safeguarded.

Finance Service

Foyer_works_180Corporate Services provides a wide range of functions to support the work of the Council as a whole. Whilst most of what we do is internally focussed, we have contact with every household in Aberdeenshire through the Council Tax Team; we oversee public perception of the Council through Corporate Communications and Customer Services; and we have contact with every employee in the Council via the Human Resources Team. Our role as a service is defined within our vision:

"Providing innovative, forward thinking and trusted advice and services to protect and promote the interests of Aberdeenshire Council. We will do this by:

  • engaging effectively with customers and residents to provide the best services;
  • enabling employees to fulfil their potential by equipping them with the necesary knowledge, skills and tools;
  • promoting good governance by ensuring the right things are done in the right way, by the right people, at the right time;
  • encouraging innovation to create a culture of improvement.


Community_service_180The Finance division exists to ensure "the proper administration of the Council's financial affairs" (Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973). This means not just the provision of a range of first class services but more fundamentally, we are here to help ensure that the Council complies with the law and with other external rules, regulations and best practice as far as financial matters are concerned. But we also have a major role in helping the Council and its services to perform better by providing the vital lifeblood of any large organisation: reliable, accurate and meaningful financial information. Beyond that, we help to set the Council's strategic agenda, supporting work to make the whole organisation more effective and efficient, and improving culture. Our aim is to help the Council do a better job, for the ultimate benefit of the people of Aberdeenshire.

In pursuing the achievement of these aims, we provide a range of financial services:


  • Compilation and monitoring of individual revenue budgets for each service
  • Compilation of the Council's Annual Statutory Abstract of Accounts
  • Development and implementation of financial system

In addition to the major tasks of budget preparation and monitoring and the preparation of statutory financial accounts, the section deals with the plethora of ad hoc matters in a large local authority, e.g. Value Added Tax, Income Tax, submission of statutory returns, administration of Trust and Common Good Funds, etc.


The Payments Section is responsible for all payments that the Council make to suppliers. These include Accounts Payable, Travel & Subsistence along with the administration of car loans and leases.

Revenues & Benefits

The Revenues Section is responsible for billing and collection of Council Tax and Non-Refuse Colection VehicleDomestic or Business Rates, together with Residual Community Charge and Sundry Debtors. Water and wastewater charges levied by Scottish Water are collected along with the Council Tax. The Benefits Section is responsible for administering and ensuring that Housing Benefit (rent rebate and rent allowances) is paid, plus £6 million of council tax rebate, to about 20,000 claimants.

Internal Audit

The Council's Financial Regulations require that an internal audit, under the independent control and direction of the Head of Service (Finance), shall be arranged to carry out a review and appraisal of the internal controls of the Council. Most audits undertaken are systems-based audits which involve ascertaining, documenting and evaluating the system of control over the area being reviewed. Thereafter, specific testing is carried out to ensure that the system is operating as it should so as to protect the assets of the Council, esure that financial and other information is accurate and complete, that applicable legislation and policies are complied with, and that staff operating the system and having custody of Council assets are adequately protected. The section is also responsible for carrying out ad-hoc investigations into potential irregularities involving cash, stores, equipment or other property of the Council.


Woodhill HouseThe Corporate Section of Aberdeenshire Finance deals with the preparation and co-ordination of revenue budgets across Services and the preparation of the overall Council's Three Year Revenue Budget, both revenue and capital. The section deals with insurances, treasury, managmenet (borrowing and lending on the London money markets), monitoring of new legislation, Revenue Support Grant, Private Finance Initiatives, Members' allowances and expenses, Bank Reconciliation, and other ad-hoc matters of a technical financial nature.




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