Head of Administration

Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes
Fecha limite/Deadline: 

 Ref: LSR02_18                                                              Closing date: 31-05-2018

Applications for the post of Head of Administration are invited by the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING) to oversee the delivery of the key administration functions necessary for the day-to-day running of the ING.  The 43-strong ING operates the 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope (WHT) and the 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope on behalf of the UK Research and Innovation, the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research, and the Spanish Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias. The facilities, which are equipped with world-class imaging and spectroscopic instruments, are located at the Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos (ORM) situated at an altitude of 2400m on the Spanish island of La Palma.

The Head of Administration reports to the Director and collaborates closely with two other functional managers: the Head of Engineering and the Head of Astronomy.



The successful candidate will be responsible for the management of the Administration Group and related activities, inter alia, budgeting, financing, human resources, procurement and the provision of a range of support services.  These activities will be undertaken whilst adopting a “hands-on” approach when needed.  In addition, the post-holder will exercise sound judgement, accountability and initiative to ensure that ING’s resources are used in the most effective and efficient manner, in accordance with UKRI, Spanish and EU regulations and guidelines.

Occasionally, the post-holder will also be called upon to exercise power of attorney responsibilities and authorise specific activities when the Director is absent.


The Head of Administration will have meticulous organisational and administrative skills, well-developed managerial competencies, and will use these skills in contributing to the development of ING’s strategic and business plans.  In addition, the capability to solve challenging problems, where past practice or precedents do not exist, will be required.

Excellent leadership skills and an aptitude to understand and adjust to changing regulatory and governmental landscapes are essential.

Excellent communication skills are an important component of this post, as there will be a requirement to conduct business-related communications on a daily basis with internal and external stakeholders.


The post-holder will write documentation, papers and reports in English, and will make presentations to internal and external audiences.




The Head of Administration will:



assume the responsibility for the management of the Administration Group consisting of four staff members;


have overall responsibility for controlling ING’s finances and budgetary allocations, ensuring thorough financial control and taking the necessary actions to deal with financial imbalances;


manage ING’s human resource requirements such as on-boarding, negotiations with staff representatives, dealing with employees’ benefits, maintaining personnel records and providing authoritative advice and guidance on personnel issues;


as a member of the management team, contribute to the development and future direction of the ING;


ensure that all procurement activities follow internal policies and procedures; and


oversee contractual arrangements.




The successful candidate will:



be educated to degree level;


possess a minimum of ten years of proven work experience, following the award of the degree, relevant to the above duties;


possess an ability to communicate effectively and carry out work in English (both written and spoken);


be physically fit to perform duties linked to the post;


possess a valid class-B driving licence (or equivalent);


be able to work occasionally at the ORM; and


be able to travel occasionally and work away from base.


Essential Knowledge and Experience


The successful candidate will have:


  1. a strong understanding of accruals-based accounting systems;
  2. a strong understanding of procurement standards;
  3. a familiarisation with the use of ICT in administration;
  4. documented experience in human resource management;
  5. an excellent ability to communicate and present ING’s business position and vision to key stakeholders;
  6. proven interpersonal, communication, teambuilding and delegation skills;
  7. a service-oriented mentality;
  8. experience and insight in strategic planning and implementation;
  9. an ability to provide authoritative advice and make key decisions; and
  10. experience and ability to advise on and carry out organisational changes.


Desirable Knowledge and Experience


For this appointment, the following will also be valued:


  • possession of a degree in a relevant subject area such as business administration, accountancy or human resource management;
  • strong knowledge related to Spanish employment law;
  • ability to work within a team in a multi-cultural, international and multidisciplinary environment;
  • ability to influence, negotiate and lead others, both within the ING and with its external stakeholders;
  • ability to execute a vision;
  • ability to adopt a meticulous and proactive approach to work in achieving and maintaining ING’s standards;
  • ability to speak Spanish or a willingness to learn; and
  • previous work experience in an observatory.




  • A strong ability to think creatively, to seek and accept change and continuous improvement.
  • A high level of drive, enthusiasm and focus on the achievement of objectives.




The ING shortlisting procedure is defined here and, for this recruitment exercise, will be based on the above requirements, knowledge and experience.





Following a six-month probationary period, this will be a permanent position. The appointment will be at grade G with a starting gross salary of €55,394 per annum, which is subject to Spanish income tax and social security deductions. After the first year, the salary will increase to €58,309 per annum. An appointment at band F will be considered if the top candidate has low qualifications or experience.


Medical cover will be available to the appointee, partner and accompanying children under the Spanish National Health Service. The ING will assist those coming from abroad in registering with Social Security and the Health Service.  A relocation package and financial support for Spanish lessons are available.


Applicants from outside the EU need to be in possession of a residence permit and work permit, both of which must be valid for Spain.




To apply for this post, follow the instructions on this page. Select the English form and complete it in English.


Candidates must not submit additional documents at this stage.  Only the completed application form and a CV are required.  Submitted information will not be returned but will be held by the ING in accordance with data protection guidelines.




Further information is available from the Director, Dr Marc Balcells (director@ing.iac.es), + 34 922 425 410.


The ING is fully committed to equality of opportunity in the workplace.


The closing date for applications is 16:00 (BST) on the 31st May 2018.