Operations Manager (Dumfries & Galloway)

Organisation: The National Trust for Scotland

Salary: £41,550 – £46,167

Location: Threave Estate, Castle Douglas DG7 1RX

Job Description Sep 2021

Role: Operations Manager (Dumfries & Galloway)
Region / Department: South & West

Reports to: General Manager, South & West Pay Band: Grade 5 Upper (£41,550 – FCR £46,167) plus Essential Business Car User Allowance £3,800 pa
Location: Threave Estate, Castle Douglas DG7 1RX Type of Contract: Permanent / Full time
Terms and conditions
The post is subject to the standard terms and conditions provided with the application pack and the following special terms also apply: Some flexibility will be required as to when hours are worked, but frequent weekend and occasional evening working will be required, for example, to support functions and events.

1. Purpose
The purpose is to deliver, develop and optimise property facilities and services to our members and visitors in line with the Trust’s core purpose, principles, priorities, rules, performance standards and in relation to:

• The Conservation of the property’s /content.
• Promotion of heritage related to the properties.
• Visitor enjoyment.
• Financial Sustainability.
• Staff and Volunteers.

This will be achieved through effective people, operations and budget management within the context of the strategies, policies, procedures and rules of the Trust.

Further, and in relation to this, ensure the properties are managed consistently and professionally and to the required standards.

It is also a visible and senior management role where, in addition to the general operations management of the properties in pursuit of their aims and objectives, the post holder will be responsible for the development of the properties operating business planning process (working with the Property teams and the regional team) and utilising key sources of information and needs (e.g. conservation management plan; visitor/market research) to present effective and accountable business plans which underpin the properties financial performances, visitor experience, conservation delivery, reputation and maintenance.

Overseeing significant heritage properties including Threave, Broughton, Carlyles Birthplace and Rockcliffe the Operations Manager will be constantly and consistently leading the development of visitor services excellence, commercial and enterprising activity and change, ensuring place and content is engaging through interpretation and services and is the general custodian of its conservation and educational obligations.

It should be noted that the Operations Manager will also hold overall responsibility for the School of Heritage Gardening at Threave.

2. Positioning within the structure
The Operations Manager for the Dumfries & Galloway area will be based at Threave reporting to the General Manager for the South and West Region of the Trust’s Built Heritage properties. The role is the operational lead and accountable manager for the leadership of their division, working collaboratively with the local property teams.

The role is also part of the South & West Regional Management Team which includes the General Manager, Business Manager, Office Manager, Gardens & Designed Landscapes Manager and 6 other Operations Managers. The Operations Manager, in their role as the operational lead in the Dumfries & Galloway area will hold primacy over all operations and planning for the properties, with functional managers managing their respective services-functions on their behalf. It is therefore a matrix management structure within the region.

The role works closely with the role of Business Manager who oversees trading performance and business analysis for the regional properties, coordinates and oversees business planning and ensures the region (and its properties) are compliant with and supported with compliance across a range of NTS policy areas (e.g. Health & Safety, procurement).

3. Scope of role and responsibilities
Property Planning

The Operations Manager is responsible for the process of business and operational planning for their properties. They will play an active part in the ongoing development of conservation management plans, working cross-functionally with regional management colleagues and with consultancy services specialists, either: those assigned to their region and including curatorial, conservation and estates management staff, or; nationally based technical and functional services and including for example, archaeology and nature conservation. They will be recognisably responsible for annual business and operating plans and be supported in this endeavour by the regional team. They will be accountable for its effective implementation.

Visitor Services and Operational Standards

The Operations Manager is the custodian and standard bearer of visitor services excellence and service quality for the properties. Staff and volunteers will exhibit excellence as required in these areas which sees the property offer unparalleled visitor experience and service. This extends to standards of amenities and facilities, retailing and food services (supported by the Retail Development Manager and Catering and Hospitality Manager) and gardening (supported by the Gardens & Designed Landscapes Manager), activities and interpretation and events.

Enterprise and trading

The Operations Manager is the business leader for the properties and working with the support of the property managers and regional management team will plan and deliver innovative product and sales opportunities, integrated with the heritage site and particular visitor profile for that property / market.

People Management

The Operations Manager coaches and mentors property teams and staff directly reporting to the post to ensure they are fully equipped and motivated to undertake their duties to the required Trust standards, policies, rules, values, delegated authorities and objectives. S/he also plans for succession amongst staff and levels of responsibilities and other key posts within the property.

Promoting Heritage

The Operations Manager supports and coaches property staff to develop and promote their properties use and potential as a life-long learning resource, in line with the Trust’s ‘Education Principles’ and as part of its charitable aims (Access, Learning and Enjoyment).

Leading, Inspiring and Managing Change

The Operations Manager leads and inspires the wider team, including property staff and volunteers through on-going activity as well as when the management of change is required.

Matrix Management and Working

The Operations Manager leads multi-disciplinary teams. These teams include retail, catering and hospitality and Gardening with also regionally-based Consultancy Services personnel. The role sits within a matrix structure with the Operations Manager supported by the property teams taking the leading role in the delivery of property performance. Under the guidance and supervision of the regional General Manager, the Operations Manager is central to ensuring focus on delivering against property plans and objectives and will assume responsibility for effective direct leadership where required or cross-functional management.

Enabling, Expediting, Brokering

The Operations Manager acts as a two-way conduit and facilitator between properties and Trust consultancy services, to ensure necessary progress in relation to property plans (and other plans as appropriate), projects and overall alignment of work and activity in line with Trust standards and requirement.

Championing and Advocacy – Stakeholder engagement

The Operations Manager supports property staff in maintaining positive and productive relations with local community, tourism, culture and heritage bodies and stakeholders. S/he supports the teams to seek out new productive relations, whether locally or more widely for the benefit of the property. S/he acts as an external networker and advocate for the property, with membership of appropriate external bodies in the property’s geographical area, or through the regional management team.

Marketing, Membership and Supporter Development

The Operations Manager ensures business development and marketing of the property to maximise income generation. Working as part of a coordinated regional team and planning agenda, s/he will work with Customer and Cause colleagues centrally to optimise the visibility and promotion of the property.

The Operations Manager also has a critical role in the development of new supporters for the Trust, both in general around empathy and engagement with the Trust’s (and property’s) Cause and specifically, in terms of leading on converting visitors to becoming Members of the Trust. This forms a key part of the property’s Cause and financial objectives. Again, working with the NTS Customer and Cause directorate and through the regional management team on this area presents a primary focus for Operations Managers.

Financial Management, Compliance and Scheme of Delegation

The Operations Manager is responsible for budget preparation and control and works closely with the Business Manager to devise effective plans, objectives and solutions and monitor performance (financial, project delivery, initiatives). S/he makes any corrective action required and ensures that the property remains within budget and acts within delegated financial authorities, wider schemes of delegation and adheres to Trust rules, policies and procedures.

Health, Safety and the Environment

The Operations Manager undertakes duties under the Health and Safety Policy including convening and chairing a group Health and Safety forum if applicable. S/he ensures effective support is achieved from Health and Safety advisors / coordinators assigned to the region and ensures property staff and volunteers adhere to their obligations in line with stated Trust systems, policies, procedures and approaches to ensure the health, safety and environment under the Health and Safety policy and their job description.

Strategic Development of the NTS

The Operations Manager leads, champions and supports the strategic development of the Trust, through participation in national initiatives, projects and working group activity as required and appropriate.

Staff and Volunteer Leadership

 Creating and maintaining a culture within the property that upholds the Trust’s ‘principles’ (Excellence, Accountability, Affordability, Integrity and Cooperation). In particular reinforcing individual and collective responsibility and Accountability for performance in all activities.
 Leading, inspiring and coaching property teams and individuals to ensure that they are fully equipped and motivated to undertake their duties to the required Trust standards, policies, rules, values, delegated authorities.

Health and Safety, Environment Matters

 Ensuring personal and delegated compliance with Trust requirements and initiatives relating to Health and Safety.

Stakeholder Management

 Ensuring that visitor experience at the properties is optimised through excellent customer care and in particular that the value of membership recruitment and engagement is recognised and championed.
 Establishing and maintaining a network of localised external stakeholders (e.g. communities, business leaders, donors and supporters, affinity organisations) with whom synergy can benefit the property and wider Trust.
 Ensuring property staff maintain positive relationships with their localised stakeholders (e.g. local communities, local businesses, local partnerships Members Centres and Friends Groups).

Reporting and Management Information

 Proactively gathering and analysing trading, operational and management information to inform decision-making and manage risk and operational performance.
 Ensuring that property staff understand and utilise meaningful management information as part of normal performance management.

4. Person Specification


 Graduate or equivalent essential; post-graduate studies in heritage or business management desirable.
 A full, clean driving licence for driving in the UK is essential.
 This role is one for which the duties, responsibilities or accountabilities of the role require you to undertake a criminal records check, specifically a Basic Disclosure / Standard Disclosure


 Direct experience of property / multi-site operational management where customer services and trading are primary features (e.g. retailing, hospitality, foods, leisure).
 Responsibility for combined operating revenue budgets of c.£1m per annum.
 Significant team management, mentoring, facilitating and coaching experience. Formal operational management training within services environment desirable.
 Demonstrable experience of business development and business planning, notably: revenue development, partnerships and affinities, new trading, concept development, change management.
 Effective stakeholder management experience, notable examples: media, local government.
 Line management experience of staff groups in excess of 60, including supervisory staff.
 Demonstrable experience of managing Health and Safety in the work place; formal training or personal development in this area desirable.
 Experience of responsibility for marketing and promotional planning and delivery, or participation in marketing and promotional initiatives – desirable.
 Heritage sector experience highly desirable.

Behaviours and Values

 Creates a positive and innovative atmosphere which encourages people to commit themselves to the task in hand and where necessary, go beyond the call of duty in order to achieve key objectives.
 Smooths relationships when difficult circumstances prevail and develops a culture of trust.
 Generally motivates people to give their best results, praising them when things go well and appraising them of improvements which can and should be made.
 Takes decisions as appropriate whilst at the same time ensuring others do likewise.
 Continually seeks out opportunity, practising and encouraging a culture of excellence.
 Seeks ways of perfecting things, raising standards, reducing errors and overcoming omissions.
 Provides the best solutions in terms of quality and cost.
 Brings a sense of urgency to situations, demonstrate an active approach, be willing to get involved in order to increase the pace and achieve goals and objectives.

Skills and Objectives

 Safety, Health and Environment: Actively leads and promotes a safe working environment where the health, safety and wellbeing of visitors, staff, volunteers and contractors come first. Leads the maintenance of safe systems of work within the property.
 Financial Management: Has detailed and up to date awareness of all property financial positions. Proactively and prudently manages the properties budgets and actively seeks new and better ways to minimise cost, gain value and raise income. Works in partnership with the Business Manager.
 Visitor Experience / Management: Leads the provision of excellent internal and external customer service via themselves and the team, promoting a customer-focussed attitude and culture.
 Heritage Knowledge and Understanding: Develops and maintains a detailed understanding of the conservation principles and how they underpin our conservation work. Has an overview understanding of all aspects of conservation at the Trust and in particular at the property. Has a strong working knowledge of the heritage character and profile of the property. Develops effective integration of Visitor Services, Conservation, Learning and Commercial activities.
 Stakeholder Management: Seeks out and fosters positive and productive relationships with internal and external stakeholders. Promotes a partnership approach to community relations via themselves as Property Manager and their property staff and volunteers.
 NTS Strategy Knowledge: Has a detailed understanding of the Trust’s core purpose; guiding principles; vision; strategic objectives and priorities. Further, is able to lead articulate a linking of the strategy and yearly NTS Corporate plans into local plans and objectives.
 Planning and Projects: Has the skills and knowledge required to develop effective operational plans. Effectively manages their own priorities and personal effectiveness through appropriate planning and personal managements and promotes the same amongst their staff colleagues.
 Communication and Engagement: Has a very high level of communication skills and constantly seeks to engage in a positive and productive manner with the team, community and other internal and external stakeholders. Demonstrates strong insight and understanding of their heritage property, its visitor profile, trading profile and value of its educational and conservation activity.
 Change Management: Has the ability to lead and inspire the wider team through change.

The Key Responsibilities, Scope of Job, and Required Qualifications, Skills, Experience & Knowledge reflect the requirements of the job at the time of issue. The Trust reserves the right to amend these with appropriate consultation and/or request the post-holder to undertake any activities that it believes to be reasonable within the broad scope of the job or his/her general abilities.

Application Deadline: Friday 24/09/2021