UK Programme – Programme Officer

Forward Thinking’s UK programme is dedicated to empowering diverse Muslim communities, organisations and individuals, by working with them to build long term and sustainable relationships with various government departments and policy makers.

We are now looking for a new Programme Officer in order to help deliver our UK Programme.

The role requires a self-starter, who can demonstrate strong project delivery, communication and relationship-building skills. Enthusiasm and the ability to work well in a small team are essential. You will be based in London with some travel across the UK, including Yorkshire, Midlands and Northwest. The Programme Officer will report directly to the Director of Forward Thinking.

The Role

The Programme Officer will, primarily:

  • Help to develop and deliver Forward Thinking’s ‘Building Bridges’ programme, our domestic process of engagement. This enables direct dialogue between diverse grassroots communities, government departments and elected representatives, with the aim of informing policy development and improving understanding.
  • Support the delivery of the ‘Pathways into Politics’ programme, addressing the marginalisation of young people from politics through workshops with Members of Parliament and local authorities on barriers to political engagement and initiatives to promote inclusion.

The role is diverse and requires the ability to learn fast, take the initiative and balance independence with teamwork. Responsibilities will include: organising and facilitating high-level meetings; preparation for regional workshops and parliamentary roundtables; drafting policy papers; writing funding proposals; research and analysis; maintaining relationships with our network.

In particular, this role will require the ability to work with a wide range of interlocutors. This will include Government Departments (such as the Home Office; the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation); Parliamentarians and local councillors (on a cross party basis); academics; civil society organisations; and Islamic faith/community organisations. In order to be an effective intermediary between these groups you will need to know, or learn quickly, how to navigate between their different perspectives and priorities. You must be empathetic and willing to listen to the needs of programme participants in an open and objective manner.

The successful candidate should have an interest in home affairs, community cohesion, and the criminal justice system/ legal affairs. They will need to keep up to date with policy, media and academic developments in these fields. Ideally, they will have some experience of working in these fields but this is not essential. Overall, we are looking for an individual who has the ability to improve understanding between different groups and help develop practical solutions to problems in complex environments.

General duties will include (please note this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Administration – help to keep an effective filing system and entering data.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation – maintaining ties with our diverse network of contacts and tracking developments that stem from our activities.
  • Analysis – conducting research on UK domestic policies relating to community cohesion, and informing the work of the UK programme.
  • Organising meetings – identifying participants, sending invitations, booking venues, organising transport.
  • Facilitating meetings – preparing the agenda for meetings and chairing discussions.
  • Producing reports of meetings for a diverse range of stakeholders.
  • Preparing new funding applications and reports for existing funders.

Required technical experience, knowledge and skills:

  • Relevant experience of project delivery/community organizing, proven ability to manage competing priorities and a track record of delivering on ambitious targets;
  • Undergraduate degree in a related field (politics, history, political sciences etc.) or relevant experience;
  • Excellent written communication skills, including the ability to write concisely, persuasively and to tailor your writing to a range of different audiences, including policymakers and funders. Confidence in public speaking is a necessity;
  • Keen interest and strong working knowledge of UK domestic policy on community cohesion, and the workings of British political institutions and democratic processes;
  • A commitment to, and respect for, facilitating inclusive dialogue with groups holding highly diverse political, religious and ideological views;
  • Excellent relationship building skills, with an ability to navigate the different approaches required to work with diverse stakeholders in the UK context – elected officials, civil servants, community representatives;
  • Strategic thinking, with the skills to initiate and build new partnerships and source funding opportunities;
  • Able to prioritise effectively to tight deadlines and manage logistical and strategic responsibilities concurrently;
  • A ‘can-do’ attitude, with excellent problem-solving skills and ability to respond calmly and flexibly in a fast-paced and conflict-affected environment.
  • The ability to work effectively with the other members of a small team.

Hours and remuneration 

The role will be a full time, permanent, contract on a salary of £24,000 PA subject to experience and qualifications.

How to apply

Please write to applications@forward-thinking.org with your CV and short covering letter (no more than two sides of A4) explaining your interest in the position and why you would be well suited to the role.  Please put in the subject line of your email: UK Programme Officer Application.

Application period

Applications will be accepted from today until the 13th September at midnight. Any applications received outside of this period will not be considered.

Interviews and start date

Applicants we would like to invite for interview will be contacted between the 16th – 18th of September. If you do not hear from us by the end of the 18th of September, please assume you have been unsuccessful on this occasion. Due to the high volume of applications we expect to receive, we will not write individually to unsuccessful candidates.

Interviews will take place from the 19th September and we will be looking for an immediate start.