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Head of Finance opportunity
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for Essex



Welcome to the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for Essex’s recruitment website. I am delighted that you are considering applying for the role of Head of Finance (S151 Officer).

This is an exciting opportunity to lead the delivery of the key financial activities relating to the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC), and be involved in the development and delivery of the Police and Crime Plan and the Local Business Case for Joint Governance of the Police and Fire & Rescue Services in Essex, at a time of unprecedented change in the nature of demand on all our emergency services.

The role offers the successful candidate a unique opportunity to work closely with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioner’s finance lead to influence the future approach to police funding both locally and nationally, thereby building your reputation and profile on the national stage.

Whilst holding the Section 151 position for the PFCC, you will be a critical member of the Commissioner’s Senior Management Team, holding the role of Chief Finance Officer during a time of significant financial challenge.

You will work closely with the Chief Finance Officer of Essex Police to set and deliver a policing budget totalling over £300m and to ensure the rigorous financial appraisal and oversight of change programmes, collaboration opportunities, income generation proposals and investment projects. You must therefore have a strong grasp of the principles of benefits management and realisation, along with the confidence and competence to identify and challenge the risks and opportunities arising from collaborations and partnership working locally, regionally and nationally.

I hope that you will find this site of interest and that we have provided all of the information you need to help you make the right decision in seeking to join us. If not, please feel free to contact either myself or our recruitment partner, Hays, with any further questions you may have.

In the meantime, if you are a dynamic individual with strong skills in finance, influencing and persuasion, with the knowledge, experience and credibility required to command the respect of senior colleagues and political figures alike, we hope to hear from you soon!


Pippa Brent-Isherwood

Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer


About the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner(PFCC)for Essex

Essex covers 1,420 square miles and includes one of the largest sections of coastline in the country, measuring some 400 miles. The county comprises 75% agricultural land, with a number of significant urban areas, including Chelmsford, Basildon, Thurrock and Southend. It has approximately 900km of roads, including significant parts of the strategic road network. 129km of this is motorway, including considerable stretches of the M25 and M11 motorways. The county also has 343 km of railway, including seven underground stations.

Stansted Airport is the UK’s fourth busiest air terminal and handled 28 million passengers in 2018, while approximately 2 million passengers travelled through Southend Airport in the same year. The London Gateway port at Corringham is part of the UK’s fastest-growing deep-sea container terminal and logistics hub, while the port of Harwich provides passenger and freight links to the Netherlands. For the fire and rescue service, Coryton oil refinery and more than 14,000 listed buildings represent other locations of note. In total, the county has 20 sites identified as being high hazard and so covered under the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations.

The population of Essex is 1.8 million, which is expected to grow by 200,000 between 2016 and 2030 as the number of houses in the county rises by 130,000. The coming years will also see development of Tilbury’s second port, the Lower Thames Crossing and Bradwell B power station. Local government partners include a county council, 12 district councils and two unitary authorities. Our close proximity to the capital brings challenges in terms of crime and public safety and also population and financial pressures through the associated high cost of living. Against this backdrop, it is unsurprising that the PFCC for Essex oversees one of the largest police forces and one of the largest fire and rescue services in the country outside of London.

Despite experiencing a recent increase in all crime, particularly violent crime, in line with the rest of England and Wales, Essex remains a safe county. In the year to 31 December 2019, 168,218 crimes were recorded, an increase of 11.2% over the previous 12 months. This, coupled with the changing nature of crime, particularly the disproportionate increase in high-harm and more complex crime types, increases the demand we face, which can be masked when looking solely at volume of crime figures. However the investment made by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) and the Chief Constable in front-line policing – through recruitment and ensuring our workforce is digitally skilled, equipped and enabled to meet the challenges of changing crime types – is producing results. In 2019, the force solved 704 more crimes, a 3.2% improvement on 2018. However, our solved rate dropped by 1.1%, which, again, may be attributed to the increasing severity and complexity of the crimes recorded and investigated.

For the PFCC, safe and secure communities are the bedrock on which we build safe and secure communities for all. Our strategic plans aims to ensure that, wherever possible, we prevent crime and harm from happening in the first place; that police and fire and rescue services are close to the communities they serve, and that local people feel confident in the actions being taken to keep them safe, and get involved in this through volunteering and community action.

The PFCC for Essex is at the cutting edge of national developments in collaboration across police and fire and rescue services. In October 2017, having made the first successful business case to the Home Secretary to take on joint governance of police and fire and rescue services under the Policing and Crime Act 2017, Roger Hirst – then the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex – became the country’s first Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. Since then, in March 2019, he has launched the country’s first Fire and Rescue Plan, setting out the strategic objectives for the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. Essex is also part of a ground-breaking collaboration across seven police forces in the eastern region to secure resilience and best value for money across a range of functions and initiatives.

Much positive change has already been secured across police and fire and rescue services in Essex. During 2019/20, we recruited 215 new police officers and will recruit an extra 151 police officers in 2020/21 to bring our force strength to more than 3,369 by 31 March 2021 – in excess of 500 more police officers protecting and serving our county than there were in 2017/18. By 2023, Essex Police will be the strongest it has ever been. In addition, Essex Police now has the largest and fastest growing special constabulary outside of London and, working with our partners on the Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP), we are on target to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on Essex roads by 40% against the baseline average of 2005-2009 by the end of 2020. However the PFCC continues to push for continuous improvement through both the Police and Crime Plan and the Fire and Rescue Plan. This is your opportunity to play a critical role in delivering these plans and ambitions.

Employer OPS - Opportunity

The opportunity

Head of Finance
£51,498 - £58,230 + benefits

About the role

Hays Senior Finance is proud to be working in partnership with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for Essex who is seeking to appoint an exceptional financial accountant to play a key role in delivering their financial policies and objectives. The Head of Finance – S151 officer role is an exciting opportunity to make a real difference to the communities of Essex.

The successful applicant will act as the Chief Financial Officer and Section 151 Officer for the PFCC and be expected to provide sound advice to them and their Senior Management Team on all aspects of financial management.

Working in conjunction with senior management, you will lead on the setting and delivery of a balanced budget for the PFCC, as well as overseeing the management of cash flows, borrowing and investments of funds, and ensure the effective management of associated risks. Within this, you must ensure that any funding awarded to the PFCC is properly accounted for and that all audit requirements are met. You will also support the PFCC in the scrutiny of budget administration and expenditure undertaken by Essex Police and will be responsible for overall management of the Internal Audit function.

This role offers a unique opportunity to work closely with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ Finance portfolio lead. The successful applicant will therefore need to demonstrate a strong track record of influencing key decision and policy makers locally, regionally and nationally, and of building and maintaining a reliable network of contacts which can be used to support and enhance developmental initiatives.

You must be politically aware and understand formal and informal politics at both the local and national level and what this means for the PFCC and their partners. The successful candidate will be an experienced finance professional and a fully qualified accountant (CCAB). This is an essential requirement for the role.

You will possess strong technical skills in finance and the ability to communicate and influence at the highest level. Ideally you will have experience in police or local authority finance to ensure that you are able to understand the complexities of the technical demands of the role.

Candidates should also be aware that the successful applicant will be subject to full security vetting and that all posts within the PFCC’s office are politically restricted. Appointment will also be subject to a confirmation hearing by the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel. This is an exciting time to join the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for Essex. If you are a dynamic individual with the technical skills and desire to play a key role in financing policing in Essex, we are keen to hear from you.

In return they are offering a highly competitive salary and an attractive benefits package. For more information about the role and organisation please visit hays.co.uk/jobs/pfcc-essex or contact Lucy West, Senior Business Director at Hays Senior Finance who is the retained consultant working with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for Essex.



  • Competitive salary
  • Full annual leave entitlement is 26 day less than 5 years’ service and 29 days 5 years or more plus the relevant number of bank/public days allocated for that year
  • Paid sickness entitlement dependant on service
  • Pensions scheme please refer to LGPS (Local Government Pension Scheme)
  • Support networks
  • Sports association
  • Internal lottery
  • Gym
  • Develop You - which helps towards Lateral development and career progression.
  • Onsite free parking

How to apply

We want to make the process of applying for this role as straight forward as possible.

To this end, we ask that your application consists of the following:

  • A covering letter, no more than 1 page in length which addresses and provides evidence against the criteria, set out in the Job Specification. The covering letter provides you with the opportunity to explain your motivation for applying, as well as highlighting how your experience and achievements fit with the requirements of the role. As such, it is an important part of the application process.
  • A copy of your most recent and up to date curriculum vitae.

Once you have completed your CV and covering letter, please upload them by clicking on the Apply button.


Vetting process

Vetting (financial and family associations) forms are sent to Lucy West at Hays by the PFCC corporate recruitment team once interviews have been held and a suitable candidate identified; these forms are then returned directly to Essex Police for checking.

Recruitment timetable

  • Closing date for all applications: 1st November
  • Interviews: W/C 16th November

For an informal conversation about PFCC and the role please contact Lucy West on T: 01206 586405 or email lucy.west@hays.com


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Employer OPS - Location


Kelvedon Park
London Rd