Policy and External Affairs Manager

About JCQ

JCQ is the representative body for the leading qualifications and assessment boards in the United Kingdom. The eight members of JCQ are the largest national awarding bodies offering general and vocational qualifications in the UK. They are responsible for setting and awarding secondary education level qualifications, such as GCSE’s, Standard Grades, A-levels, Highers and vocational qualifications including the newly developed T-Levels. The UK examinations board sector is amongst the most diverse in the world and a vital part of the education landscape. JCQ is a not for profit Community Interest Company, limited by guarantee and is funded by its members.

JCQ's mission is to reduce bureaucracy for schools and colleges by facilitating and delivering common administrative arrangements for examinations. We work with members to ensure there is a common framework including the conducting of exams, management of malpractice and cheating which rarely occurs. JCQ helps members work collectively with the regulator and government departments.

JCQ‘s core aims are:

• Reduce bureaucracy for schools and colleges by facilitating and delivering common administrative arrangements for examinations.

• Provide a forum for strategic debate, information exchange and expression of common interest amongst awarding bodies.

• Enable member awarding bodies to jointly express views and collectively respond to national issues.

• Provide a channel for collective discussion with key stakeholders including schools and colleges, the HE sector, teachers, lecturers, examination officers, heads of centres and their representative organisations.

JCQ undertakes a wide range of activities including the publishing of national GCSE and A level results in August; handling enquiries from examination officers; and publishing advice, guidance and regulations on delivering examinations.

The main objective for JCQ is to enable its members to act together by providing common administrative arrangements for examinations and communicating with a single voice to the media, regulators, Government departments and other stakeholders.

Job Purpose

JCQ’s Policy & External Affairs Manager reports to the Director General (DG) and is a key interface between JCQ, its members and key external stakeholders, including regulators and Government departments across the UK. The appointee will proactively lead the development and communication of a range of policy issues related to qualifications and awarding, working with JCQ colleagues and members to ensure our regulations and policies are fit for purpose and widely supported. Initially there will be two key objectives: to develop the JCQ’s vocational and technical policies; and work with the DG on policy relating to malpractice in GQ and VQ qualifications.

Ideally the candidate will have experience in vocational and technical qualifications policy, which will be a key initial focus, but as time progresses the appointee will develop their policy role more widely across general qualifications.

The Policy & External Affairs Manager will help to drive forward JCQ work in a pro-active way and is focused on outcomes working collaboratively with members and all stakeholders to achieve JCQ’s objectives.

  • To work with the DG to develop, implement and lead on JCQ’s strategy for technical and vocational qualifications, developing and maintaining appropriate links with JCQ member representatives.
  • To work with the DG on external engagement so that JCQ develops as an influential organisation driving policy reform in response to the needs of its member AOs and ensuring JCQ regulations are widely supported.
  • To support and coordinate JCQ’s internal and external policy work on malpractice, assisting with the implementation of the recommendations from the Independent Commission on Malpractice.
  • To coordinate JCQ’s response to consultations by Governments and regulators across the UK.
  • To develop constructive and collaborative partnerships with external stakeholders wherever possible, including with regulators and Government departments.
  • To represent JCQ with external stakeholders at events and meetings as required, as well as liaising with senior staff contacts at DfE, Ofqual, IfATE, ESFA and others as required.
  • To service and support relevant JCQ Committees, including organising meetings and making notes as required, identifying actions and turning them into agreed actions.
  • Contribute to the development of JCQ more widely, carrying out any other tasks to support the running of JCQ as required from time to time.

Experience and Skill Set

The Policy & External Affairs Manager will have relevant experience of policy development and implementation in an education environment, with a good understanding of regulators, Government departments and other stakeholders. Experience of an exam awarding environment is desirable, although not essential.

Key attributes:

  • Ability to work independently and pro-actively, handling multiple projects
  • Ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines
  • Ability to create constructive and influential partnerships with key stakeholders
  • Excellent communication skills, both numerical and written
  • Proficient IT skills
  • Good networking capabilities
  • A self-motivated individual with a professional and proactive attitude
  • A good team worker, willing to contribute to, influence and help lead JCQ’s broader activities
  • Willing to be flexible and work outside office hours when necessary

Performance Criteria

Results Focused

  • Strives to meet or exceed ambitious performance objectives and quality standards
  • Has pride in the JCQ and in their own working practices
  • Adds value by delivering results through continually finding sustainable improvements in methods and processes.
  • Seeks to improve their performance and sets themselves demanding standards.

Member & Stakeholder Focused

  • Demonstrates a desire to help and serve members and customers in a way that best meets their actual needs.
  • Makes efforts to understand member and stakeholder expectations and providing a high quality service for a long-lasting and mutually satisfactory relationship.

Team Focused

  • Personally contributes to effective team working by working collaboratively with others.
  • Understands the needs and goals of others and adapts their own views and behaviour when appropriate.
  • Accepts help from others.
  • Communicates constructively, honestly and openly with colleagues.
  • Takes responsibility for events or outcomes.
  • Holds self and others accountable for decisions, actions and commitments.

Development Focused

  • Clearly communicates and reinforces the importance of development and learning as a priority.
  • Identifies and understands personal strengths and improvement areas for self and others.
  • Seeks and is open to improvement in ability and skills.
  • Seeks to develop the knowledge, skill and motivation of self and others.
  • Actively encourages others to exercise initiative and judgement.
  • Observes others and gives specific and regular constructive feedback.


  • Helps create an environment and culture that shares the vision and direction of the JCQ.
  • Be a champion of diversity and inclusion consistent with the values of JCQ and its members.
  • Sets clear goals and work parameters for others to follow and help others to develop plans.
  • Ensures expectations are clear and specific.
  • Provides regular constructive feedback and recognises the accomplishment of others, privately and publicly.


  • Can communicate at all levels using various, appropriate methods of communication.
  • Communicates in a clear and persuasive manner within and outside the JCQ.
  • Actively listens taking others views into account.
  • Gains respect by operating in a professional and credible manner.


  • Seeks opportunities to improve processes and drive change.  Proactively initiates innovative ideas and actions.
  • Is flexible and open to new ideas.
  • Manages or participates in the change process.
  • Remains positive despite setbacks, changes and ambiguities.


Job Title: Policy & External Affairs Manager

The successful candidate may be appointed 'Head' with suitable experience.

Reporting to: Director General

Location: London and Flexible

Date: February 2020

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