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Head of Service Finance

£82,476 - £87,882 per annum

Reports to: Director of Finance

Directorate: Corporate Resources

Section: Finance

DBS required: Basic

Main purpose of the job

  • Coordinating the delivery of support to budget holders; ensuring the robust monitoring and consolidated reporting of the council’s budget position including for the Housing Revenue Account (HRA), General Fund, Dedicated Schools Budget (DSB), the Collection Fund, pooled and aligned budgets, all grant streams and the Council’s Capital Programme.

  • Provide financial management information for decision making to Members and the Executive Management Team covering all elements of the Council’s General Fund (including the Housing Revenue Account) and the Dedicated Schools Budget.

  • Leading the transformation required across the Council’s financial management arrangements; embedding working processes and practices which exploit the capabilities of the Council’s ERP system with a team of finance business partners and supporting accountancy staff.

  • To provide managerial leadership to the Service Finance function to ensure the effective stewardship of the Council’s financial resources.

  • Responsible for developing and promoting good financial practice within the authority, emphasising budget holder accountabilities and improving budget management and effective financial controls across the Council.

  • Ensuring that robust proposals for investment or service reduction are developed in accordance with financial planning targets; challenging underpinning assumptions to ensure the reasonableness and deliverability of proposals.

Management roles & expectations

As a Lewisham Service Manager you will:

  • Be responsible for professional advice and support in service area to deliver in partnership with others the councils vision, values and ways of working.

  • Take overall responsibility for the planning and management of services, ensuring community and customer needs are identified and met.

  • Ensure the delivery of identified service objectives and continuous improvement of service targets.

  • Achieve results through the effective management and development of people.

  • Ensure the effective deployment of financial resources and compliance with statutory professional and organisational frameworks.

Personal duties & responsibilities

  • Lead and manage a team of finance business partners and other finance professionals, developing service programmes which meet statutory requirements, the Council’s policy objectives and local needs.

  • Be accountable to the Director of Finance, for the prudent stewardship of the Council’s resources, in a way which maintains the financial resilience of the Council.

  • Advise, challenge and support budget holders on the development of accurate budget estimates, models and forecasts of income and expenditure, and ensure robust systems of budget monitoring and financial control are in place.

  • Understand the relevant regulatory environment and ensure that appropriate budget monitoring and control arrangements are in place for General Fund service, the HRA, DSG and Collection Fund; including specifically for those budgets devolved to Schools’ and the Council’s ALMO.

  • Understand the relevant grant conditions and accounting treatment to ensure that appropriate budget monitoring and control arrangements are in place for all pooled and aligned budgets and grants.

  • Provide consolidated budget monitoring information across all of the Council’s resources to support effective decision making by senior officers and Members of the Council; exemplifying the impact on the Council’s reserves and performance outcomes.

  • Be accountable for the production, presentation and interpretation of regular financial management information; on a monthly basis for the Extended Management Team (EMT) and on a quarterly basis for the Mayor and Cabinet.

  • Ensure that Capital Programme and project monitoring arrangements are in place to accommodate multi-year expenditure profiles and incremental approval stages in line with best practice e.g. RIBA. Ensure that approvals and control records are maintained within Oracle to support accurate and appropriate financing decisions are made and can be supported.

  • Provide professional advice and challenge on the development and delivery of savings, proper application of grants and other resources with conditions and enforce adherence to approved cash limits.

  • Oversee the operation of the financial aspects of the Management Agreement governing the relationship between the Council and its Arm’s Length Management Organisation (ALMO) including the negotiation of the annual management fee with the ALMO Board.

  • Oversee the arrangements for the annual review of tenants’ service charge and rent increases in accordance with government regulations and guidance; advise and attend as required Tenant’s Forum and the ALMO Board.

  • Oversee the arrangements for the operation, accounting and delegation of Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) resources to schools through the Schools Forum.

  • Advise Members on the risks associated with proposals for change ensuring that proposals are deliverable and reflect Members’ priorities.

  • Provide advice on capital and revenue projects, including attracting inward investment, financing options, development of financial business cases, and options appraisal. Be responsible for assuring that the quality of financial implications attached to Committee reports cover all relevant points for effective decision making; advise members in Committee of relevant financial points to assist in their understanding as part of the debate and decision making process.

  • Ensure that information from budget holders, including schools and the ALMO, required for the successful and accurate closure of the Council’s accounts is produced, for the Chief Accountant’s team, on a timely basis and ensure that it meets all necessary reporting requirements.

  • Ensure that all audit or other enquiries in relation to management accounting are dealt with promptly including liaison with the relevant services to obtain full and clear explanations, working papers and supporting documents to satisfy audit and other enquiries such as FoI, Member Enquiries etc.

  • Using benchmarking and other performance data and evidence to challenge overhead and service costs across the Council to deliver savings and deliver efficiencies.

  • Promote good financial practices across the Council and provide continuing guidance, support and training to Officers and Members on their financial responsibilities.

  • To be responsible for providing advice on the application of Financial Regulations, Standing Orders, Procurement Standards and Schemes of Delegation within the Council to ensure that all financial transactions are undertaken lawfully and in accordance with relevant rules and regulations.

  • To be accountable for reporting any breaches of Financial Regulations, Standing Orders, Procurement Standards and Schemes of Delegation; providing advice on regularising any breaches and ensuring that appropriate remedial action is being taken.

  • Maintain documented processes which fully utilise automation through the Council’s core Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tool. Seek to minimise processes which are manual or sit outside core council systems.

  • Provide advice and guidance on how to demonstrate and formulate strategies that deliver best value and efficiencies to the people of the borough, across the council in support of service strategies.

  • Represent the Council within and outside Lewisham, creating opportunities to enhance the Council’s image, partnerships and services.

  • Ensure that policies valuing diversity are actively promoted, implemented and developed throughout the Council.

  • Ensure that appropriate systems for health & safety are in place across your division and are in line with the Council’s corporate health & safety policy and procedures.

  • Participate in the Council’s emergency planning arrangements as required.

  • Contribute to the collective leadership of the Council ensuring the best possible outcomes for our citizens.

All employees are required to

  • Participate in the Performance Appraisal Scheme (PES) and to undertake appropriate training and development identified to enhance their work.

  • Carry out the duties of the post with due regard to the Council’s Dignity at Work Policy and core values.

  • All employees are required to comply with the Council's Health & Safety policies and procedures at all times, taking due care for themselves, colleagues and members of the public.

  • Assist in carrying out the Council's environmental policy within the day to day activities of the post.

  • Undertake other duties, commensurate with the grade, as may reasonably be required.

  • Treat all information acquired through employment, both formally and informally, in strict confidence.

  • Undertake other duties, commensurate with the grade, as may reasonably be required.

Consideration will be given to restructuring the duties of this post for a disabled postholder


Internal Contacts: These include the Mayor and Cabinet, budget holders at all levels of the Council including Executive Directors, Directors and Service Heads, Business Partners from other parts of the organisation (e.g. HR)


External Contacts: This will include external auditors, senior staff (e.g. CEO) Board Members of the Council’s ALMO, Tenants and leaseholders of Council properties, Headteachers, Governors and other Members of the Schools Forum

Person specification

Equality & Diversity

  • Awareness of and a commitment to Equality of Access and Opportunity in a diverse community

  • Understanding of how equality and diversity relates to this post

  • Ability to demonstrate commitment to the principles of equality in employment and service delivery


  • Evidence of a strong intellectual grasp of local government policy, finance etc. 

  • Demonstrates an understanding of current challenges and opportunities in local government

  • Fully-qualified CCAB accountant (Preferably CIPFA) with substantial experience of working in a dynamic environment within a large public or private sector organisation



  • Numerical reasoning

  • Oral presentation

  • Able to prioritise, make decisions and provide clear leadership including the establishment and maintenance of a performance management culture



  • Able to write professional papers including reports and briefings

  • Ability to develop and deliver presentation materials clearly and concisely to a range of audiences 

  • Persuasive and effective, influencing skills and ability to foster partnerships and work collaboratively, across boundaries in order to achieve performance results

  • Assertive and strong communication skills with excellent listening and highly developed interpersonal skills together with persuasive analytical skills

  • Ability to work at a senior level through a demonstration of own presence and credibility

  • Ability to exercise effective leadership as a member of management teams and as a head of service.

  • Ability to act and think strategically, translating this into deliverables

  • Ability to reconcile corporate and strategic objectives 

  • Ability to understand and anticipate issues of political sensitivity



  • Significant post qualification experience in range of finance roles 

  • Significant senior managerial experience in public sector role

  • Proven experience of leading and developing a team of finance professionals

  • Experience of supporting officers across the Council in the re-design of their services and effective budget management to deliver efficiency gains 

  • A proven track record of leading and implementing support service redesign

  • Evidence of having developed and delivered effective performance measures and performance improvement programme in the delivery of services


General Education

  • Educated to degree level standard


Personal Qualities

  • Must be able to adapt to competing demands

  • Must be financially fluent, cost and contribution conscious with a focus on value for money

  • Energetic, determined, robust and resilient enough to cope with the demands of the role.

  • Able to establish positive working relationships with elected members, partners and colleagues across different disciplines.

  • Able to understand and anticipate issues of political sensitivity.

  • High standards of integrity

  • Commitment to learn – desire to acquire new knowledge, skills and approaches.



  • May be required to attend meetings outside of normal office hours


  • Generally candidates must meet the standard Lewisham requirements for the post