Reports to Chief Finance Officer

Reports to Chief Finance Officer

Brent Council

Head of Finance

Reports to Chief Finance Officer

Staffing Responsibility approximately 6-8 direct reports

Up to 15 indirect reports (matrix management structure)


Job Purpose

Provide high-quality financial accounting, strategic management accounting, budgeting and financial planning and commercial advice to a department or function within the council. To provide advice directly to and manage relationships with leading Members, Strategic Directors and other senior managers across the council, and to manage comparable relationships with major partners and contractors.

To be capable of deputising for the statutory chief finance officer (s151 officer). To make a significant contribution to the leadership and management of the Council and of the department


Lead professional financial adviser for budgets of up to £250m of considerable technical and operational complexity. Leading, managing and co-ordinating financial processes across the organisation. Direct line management of approximately 6-8 staff

Principal Accountabilities

  • To deputise for the statutory CFO as may from time to time be required
  • To lead and manage designated staff to an exemplary standard.
  • To promote training and professional qualification in the department and to be a role model for junior staff.
  • To work collegiately with colleagues on the Senior Management Team (SMT), and make a proactive contribution delivering departmental and corporate objectives.
  • To be the lead professional financial adviser to the CFO, portfolio holder and Strategic Director on the strategic planning for and management of a large and complex departmental budget or other functional or technical area of comparable scale and complexity.
  • To apply expert accounting techniques as necessary and appropriate, including financial modelling, option appraisal, tax and regulatory advice, unit cost analysis and other relevant professional decision making tools.
  • To ensure that statutory and managerial financial reporting obligations are consistently met to agreed professional standards.
  • To provide high quality professional financial advice in fiscal planning and budgeting and to play a leading role in developing cost-cutting programmes within own area of responsibility.
  • To manage senior relationships with key partners and contractors, including fostering joint working arrangements where possible and leading hard-edged commercial negotiations where necessary.
  • To advise leading Members and the Council formally in respect of proposed decisions, and to attend public meetings including formal committee meetings and informal Member briefings as required.

Job Context

  • Wide range of internal and external contacts including directors, senior managers, elected members, professional bodies, partner organisations and government functions involving the use of a wide range of interpersonal skills.
  • Developing partnership working with key external stakeholders across the public, private and voluntary sectors.
  • Management and leadership of a high performing team.
  • Lead role in the development of the council’s services in this area.
  • Operates within a framework set by Corporate and Departmental Management teams but with considerable freedom to shape services.
  • Leads on policy and development and ensures implementation of new legislative requirements.
  • Ensures high professional standards.

Person Specification

Knowledge and Qualifications:

  • CCAB Qualified Accountant (Preferably CIPFA), with significant post qualification experience and Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
  • Extensive knowledge of one or more specialist and complex areas of either technical accounting or relevant sector knowledge (e.g. commercial and contract negotiation, investment appraisal, or specific areas of local government finance, such as housing, social care etc)


  • Track record of achievement at a management level in a similarly large and complex organisation, including managing staff or directing the activities of wider groups of staff, including those where no formal management line exists.
  • Demonstrable experience of advising on financial planning, accounting and control in a similarly large and complex organisation, including applying complex techniques to influence and improve decision making.
  • Proven experience of working effectively and building strong relationships with senior managers, partners, contractors or Trustees (or similar roles) in order to improve performance.
  • Track record of implementing business process transformation projects to deliver significant efficiencies and enhance financial control.

Skills and Abilities

  • Strong leadership and management skills including people, performance and budget management, with demonstrable personal commitment to high personal and professional standards.
  • Excellent communication, negotiating and influencing skills.
  • Able to analyse complex information and develop practical, innovative and entrepreneurial solutions to the management of complex problems across the Council.
  • To be able to challenge senior decision makers and contractors robustly and appropriately in order to change departmental strategy and operational decisions.
  • Good judgement; able to balance short and long-term factors and financial and non-financial considerations.
  • Able to identify opportunities to cut costs and/or increase income; to think creatively and to identify commercial opportunities.