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Head of People

Cognus Limited
Wallington, London (Greater)
Cognus Band 6 £39,872.04 (0.6 FTE of £66,454.84)
Closing date
25 Sep 2022

POSITION: Head of People

DIVISION:  Senior Management Team


REPORTS TO: Services Director

RESPONSIBLE FOR: HR, Occupational Health and Training

GRADE/PAY: Cognus Band 6 £39,872.04 (0.6 FTE of £66,454.84)


The post holder will:

  • Play a key role in the development of our teams and as a result our business.  The leader will demonstrate an agile and proactive approach, reviewing practices and embedding change.
  • Make strategic decisions and provide strategic direction to support the Board of Directors in our journey to be the provider of choice.
  • Be responsible for the improvement and leadership of Cognus’ people including HR, Payroll, Pensions, Occupational Health, Employee Engagement, Reward and Recognition, Performance Management and Appraisal, and Training
  • Lead on all recruitment ensuring NSPCC Safer Recruitment practices are followed.
  • Translate the company business plan/strategy, and our vision and values into a People Strategy, encompassing recruitment, retention engagement, reward, training and development, and succession planning; this will include a particular focus on improving Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Be responsible for leading the Company’s people major change and transformation projects and will provide strategic direction.
  • Lead and develop a holistic Cognus culture whereby all staff are valued and supported to demonstrate the Cognus values, and proactively promote Cognus as an attractive place to work.
  • Develop, implement, and continuously improve HR and People Management practice and performance including for:
    • Employee engagement and employee relations to maximise individual performance, effectively balance the needs of the individual and the organisation and manage risk. 
    • Strategic and operational use of employee information, and related systems, to maximise resource efficiency including for talent management and cost control.
    • Oversight and analysis of people metrics inform and support business decisions.
  • HR and People Management IT functions and systems adequately support the team’s activities, and that HR, managers, and other employees are equipped and able to use.
  • Implementation of initiatives to establish, promote and raise the profile of Cognus to become an employer of choice.
  • Provide clear and inspirational leadership to motivate and develop the HR team to deliver high quality, customer-centred service.
  • Ensure that quality and standard of services are provided and positively benchmarked against organisational targets and comparative organisations. Ensure creation of accurate and timely reports for the Managing Director and Board as required
  • Ensure accurate and timely processing of Payroll and Statutory Reporting relating to this.
  • Lead on the period review/update Cognus policies and procedures relating to HR, Payroll, Training and Occupational Health and ensure that all policies are understood and implemented by the business, offering training as necessary.
  • Manage key relationships with third party suppliers (e.g. payroll provider) and recruitment agencies Lead procurement activities and evaluations, and other matters that relate to the Company’s commercial operations. 
  • Lead staff communications and act as the point of liaison with Cognus Staff Council and staff working groups as necessary.
  • Act as a role model of the professional behaviours outlined in the Company Code of Conduct and Leadership Capability documents.  


  • Lead and manage the HR team and HR functions within Cognus.
  • Translate key data into an effective and commercially focused HR and people strategy, working with managers at all levels and influencing them on the best course of action.
  • Lead an effective performance management system ensuring that organisational values are translated into measurable competencies, behaviours and objectives, and that appraisals are carried out accordingly.
  • Champion a performance culture and continuously review productivity and employee development in order to develop and implement a learning and development strategy for the organisation.
  • Devise and implement recruitment strategy, including succession planning, for the organisation in line with NSPCC Safer Recruitment Processes
  • Strategic and operational use of employee information, HR metrics and data to inform the Senior Management Team’s decisions and maximise efficient human resource allocation, talent management and budgeting.
  • Provide guidance, coaching, support and training to managers on complex employee relations, HR policy, employment law, benefits and welfare matters.   
  • Manage the current portfolio of benefits provided to employees and the re-brokering of benefits packages and associated costs, including benefits providers. 
  • Work closely with the outsourced payroll provider to ensure the monthly payroll including, data inputting and checking to final approval.  Complete year-end and process P60, P11D’s etc for staff.  
  • Managing the company pension schemes and completing monthly and annual pension returns including End of Year Certificate production
  • Process the outcomes of the annual salary reviews and disseminate information to staff.
  • Update and review HR policies, procedures and guidelines and to ensure they are legally compliant and reflect the organisation’s values.
  • As necessary, instruct solicitors on the management of Employment Tribunal cases and take the lead in preparing for hearings including supporting managers and witnesses.
  • Develop and maintain effective communication and consultation with staff and their trade union representatives where appropriate
  • Understand, adhere to and promote Cognus policies, including Safeguarding of Children, Data Protection, ICT, Health and Safety and Equality and Diversity.



You (“the employee”) consent to the holding and processing of personal data provided by you to the Company (“the Company”) for all purposes relating to your employment, but not limited to administering and maintaining personnel records, paying and reviewing salary and other remuneration and benefits, undertaking performance appraisals and reviews, the compulsory Disclosure and Barring Services check (DBS) details in line with its statutory responsibility to safeguard and protect children and vulnerable service users; maintaining sickness and other absence records and taking decisions as to your fitness for work.  

You hereby acknowledge and agree that the Company may, in its general and statutory duties as an employer, be required to disclose personal data relating to you for legislative purposes during or after the end of your employment.  This does not affect your statutory rights under the General Data Protection Regulation 2018.  


During your employment, you will have access to and knowledge of Company confidential information and trade secrets. Disclosure of any confidential information and/or trade secrets could have serious financial consequences and/or create serious competitive disadvantages for the Company. There may be material damage, financial or otherwise, deliberate or otherwise, to the Company’s legitimate business interest. Under the terms of the confidentiality agreement, you agree to keep secret and shall not at any time, either during employment or post-employment, use, communicate or reveal to any person any trade secret or confidential information relating to the Company or any Associated Company. You are aware of the Company’s policies in relation to compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation and undertake to act in accordance with these at all times. Any breach of these policies will be dealt with under the Company’s disciplinary procedure and action taken can include dismissal without notice.   SAFER RECRUITMENT:

An offer of employment is subject to safer recruitment practices which include an enhanced DBS check, two professional references acceptable to Cognus Limited, proof of qualifications, proof of right to work in the UK, proof of personal address and employment history covering 5 years and, fitness to work with children (occupational health assessment). These checks must have been completed prior to commencement of employment. 

This job description and person specification outlines the summary of key accountabilities and is not an exhaustive list of duties and, is subject to periodical review and changes in line with business needs.  



The main duties and responsibilities of the post holder are indicated below although other duties of an appropriate level and nature will also be required.

  • Able to operate at Board level and be part of an ambitious senior leadership team who will go above and beyond to give Cognus the strategic direction and leadership it needs
    • E, S, T
  • Relevant People Management qualification (e.g. CIPD Level 7)
    • E, S, T
  • Educated to degree level or equivalent
    • D, S, T
  • Proven experiences at a senior level of leading and inspiring a successful HR team in a people and service focused organisation
    • E, S, T
  • Demonstrable experience of developing and embedding people‐focused strategies to deliver commercial and other business objectives
    • E, S, T
  • Excellent organisational and management skills
    • E, S, T
  • Excellent communication skills including business writing, making presentations to large audiences and meaningful feedback
    • E, S, T
  • Excellent emotional intelligence, with ability to negotiate/troubleshoot, is methodical and persuasive
    • E, S, T
  • Leads others by setting a positive example in line with company values and acts as a role model
    • E, S, T
  • Demonstrates strong business acumen, is decisive with advanced problem-solving skills
    • E, S, T
  • Is committed to safeguarding and protection of children
    • E, S, T
  • Honours and upholds the Company’s Equal Opportunity Policy, Dignity at Work Policy, Safeguarding and Protection of Children, Health and Safety and Data Protection Policy at all times
    • E, S, T


  • D-Desirable
  • I-Evaluated at interview
  • E- Essential
  • S- Short listing criteria
  • T- Subject to test



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