Head of People and Organisational Development – recruitment pack

Welcome from Jane Macdonald, Director of Business Services and Transformation

Dear candidate,

Join us, as the strategic lead for People and Organisational Development (OD), and help drive our ambition to protect and restore biodiversity in Scotland, and inspire everyone to value our natural world. 

Thank you for expressing an interest in the position of Head of People and Organisational Development (OD) at NatureScot.  I hope this information pack will help you to determine whether you are the right person to fill this exciting opportunity, and help us achieve our organisational ambitions for nature.  

This is a fantastic, high profile role. It offers a rewarding career opportunity. You’ll be working with a great team who deliver high-quality services, with professionalism, passion, expertise and enthusiasm. You’ll be working within a supportive and forward-thinking culture.  

The successful candidate will work proactively, internally and externally, in the development and implementation of our Organisational Development framework; leading the People workstream of our Transformation programme, and ensuring the delivery of excellent People services to our teams across Scotland.  

We are looking for an inspiring leader, with the passion and expertise to play a key role in driving our People agenda forward. We’re looking for a person-centred and values-based approach to leadership, creativity and innovation.  

The following is included in this information pack to help you with your application: 

  • Recruitment Advert
  • Role Profile
  • Recruitment Process and Timeline
  • How to Apply  

NatureScot is committed to offering reasonable adjustments throughout the recruitment process. If you require any further information or support then please contact: [email protected]

If you think you have the passion, inspiration and expertise to help put nature at the heart of Scotland’s future, then I look forward to receiving your application.

Jane Macdonald
Director of Business Services and Transformation 

Job Advert

Head of People and Organisational Development

We have a truly exciting and rare opportunity to join our leadership team within the Business Services and Transformation Directorate. We deliver a wide range of enabling services across the organisation to help deliver a nature-rich future for the people of Scotland.  

As the Head of People & OD, you will have the talent and drive to lead a wide ranging remit which covers Organisational Development and our People Services – Human Resources; Payroll; Health, Safety & Wellbeing, Learning & Development and Inclusion. 

You will be a Chartered Member of the CIPD or have a relevant professional qualification.  You must also have considerable experience of leading a People service in a complex organisation and be able to evidence effective and visible leadership and innovation in delivery.  A strong track record in transforming service delivery and a customer-focused approach are also essential.

Role Profile

Head of People and OD

Job Title: 1007 – 301 – Head of People and Organisational Development           

Grade: F Grade

Starting Salary: £52,905 per annum (FTE)    

Location: Flexible within Scotland / hybrid working supported

Vacancy Type: Permanent           

Hours: Full-time, 35 hours per week      

Closing Date: 15 June 2022 

Proposed Interview Date: 29 and 30 June 2022 

Job purpose summary

This is an incredible time to join NatureScot. We’ve just launched our new Corporate Plan 2022-26 – A Nature-Rich Future for All. Join us, as the strategic lead for People and Organisational Development (OD), and help drive our ambition to protect and restore biodiversity in Scotland, and inspire everyone to value our natural world. 

The Head of People and OD will lead all aspects of people & organisational development to ensure our passion, inspiration and expertise can put nature at the heart of Scotland’s future.  Through strategic leadership of the People and OD function you will drive our ability to motivate, develop and deploy our people resources to make an exceptional contribution to NatureScot’s ambitions. We want to be an employer of choice, building an organisation where everyone feels safe, inspired, productive, and valued for their unique contributions.

The role comprises two key elements:

  1. To lead the organisational development required to meet the ambitions of our new corporate plan. The aim is to improve organisational performance through developing the workforce and organisational culture. This is being achieved via a programme of organisational design, and activities including leadership development, talent management, strategic workforce planning, performance management, coaching and mentoring, staff engagement, change management and behavioural change interventions.  
  2. To lead a dynamic and customer-focused HR service working across the organisation to deliver operational services throughout Scotland, including wellbeing; resourcing; pay and reward including payroll; learning & development; Equality, Diversity & Inclusion; policy development; health & safety; and working in partnership with the trade unions.  

The People and OD team plays a crucial part in NatureScot’s strategic transformation agenda.  The team is structured in order to empower leaders and managers and support them to develop and deliver high performance in their areas of responsibility.  Building capacity and capability in a sustainable way is critical to our success.  The role includes driving and embedding organisational development across NatureScot. 

The post holder will work closely with the Senior Leadership Team, and must be able to demonstrate strategic leadership, have a track record of managing HR/OD delivery, demonstrate a strong commitment to quality services and continuous improvement and possess outstanding ability to influence and enable change. 

The post holder will be a key member of the Business Services & Transformation leadership team, which includes the following range of functions: People & OD; Finance, Planning and Performance; Funding; Technology & Digital Services; Information & Cyber Security; Workplace Facilities & Services. 

Key Responsibilities and Accountabilities   

  1. Lead the strategic design and development of our organisation, culture and people resources.  This will include delivering new ways of working to create an agile, flexible organisation; transformation of our individual and collective leadership capability; and a focus on sustaining a resilient & diverse workforce.
  2. Facilitate the Senior Leadership Team to drive the delivery of NatureScot’s corporate plan outcomes through the implementation and evaluation of NatureScot’s OD framework & strategic workforce plan. 
  3. Build and maintain strong relationships with key stakeholders and other public sector bodies, influencing and responding to NatureScot’s strategic people ambitions, including identifying trends which will shape the delivery of people services.
  4. Lead development of NatureScot’s approach to attracting and retaining talent, including our reward system, terms & conditions of employment, performance management and employee development arrangements, to best suit the evolving needs of NatureScot.
  5. Provide professional leadership, vision and direction for the People and OD function, ensuring the team has the expertise and skills needed to provide high quality, innovative and consistent operational services to meet the needs of NatureScot.
  6. Ensure quality assured advice to NatureScot’s Extended Leadership Team on all aspects of HR and organisational development, in line with changing employment legislation and in support of good practice, and positive employee relations.
  7. Continuously explore options for increased efficiency of operational service delivery, including developing shared service arrangements where they support the organisational outcomes or are financially beneficial.

Person Specification​​​​​​​ 


Proficiency level


In-depth HR and OD experience at a senior level, including CIPD or equivalent and skills to deliver high impact solutions 




A flexible, confident approach in leading and motivating HR teams in an everchanging environment, including networking/influencing



Excellent knowledge and experience of employment law, HR best practice,

strategic resourcing and talent management



Excellent knowledge and experience of OD techniques, ability to design and promote development programmes based on organisational needs



The ability to interpret the organisation’s strategic workforce requirements to guide the formulation and implementation of policy



Experience of shaping, leading and delivering significant change projects

/programmes in a unionised environment



Highly developed communication skills with the ability to build relationships across all levels to influence key stakeholders



Experience of budget management, Service Level Agreements, shared services and the ability to problem solve through analytical thought processes.  



Evidence of political awareness of working in the public sector 



A knowledge of Management

Information systems and reporting tools 



 A management qualification




Recruitment Timeline

Outlined below are expected timescales for each stage of the recruitment process.

Recruitment stage

Planned date

Recruitment opens

25 May 2022

Closing date for applications

15 June 2022

Candidates advised of outcome. 

Shortlisted candidates invited to interview and provided with link to online psychometric assessment

22 June 2022

Deadline for online psychometric assessment

27 June 2022

Panel interview (in person preferred), peer discussion and presentation.

Candidates are asked to present a 5 minute (max) presentation, ‘What are the Organisational Development challenges NatureScot will need to overcome in the short, medium and long term to give effect to our new Corporate Plan?’

29 and 30 June 2022

Please note that all stages of the recruitment process and psychometric assessments will be handled in strict confidence.

Introduction to NatureScot

NatureScot is Scotland’s nature agency with 30 years’ experience advising the Scottish Government.

Our work

We work to protect and restore nature, and inspire everyone to value our natural world. We do this because everyone’s future depends on it.

Over the next 4 years we will focus on three priorities:

Protecting Nature by expanding protected areas, regulating species management, and delivering effective planning advice on land and at sea

Restoring Nature through a new biodiversity strategy, restoring peatlands, aiding nature’s recovery and transforming farming.

Valuing Nature so that the many benefits it provides to society can in turn attract public, private and social enterprise financing for both protection and restoration.

A nature-rich future for all

We want our natural world to be at the heart of the nation’s well-being.  NatureScot will focus on a naturerich future for all, tackling biodiversity loss and the climate emergency with large and small scale naturebased solutions. Read more from our corporate plan 2022-2026.

Restoring and growing Scotland’s biodiversity starts with us all. NatureScot will strengthen our understanding and connection to Scotland’s natural environment, focusing on the diversity of nature where we live, work, visit, heal and play. Our seasonal campaign Make Space for nature shows what you can do as an individual.

Working in partnership, these solutions must be bold, innovative, for everyone and built on sound science.

Find out more on what we are doing for Scotland’s Biodiversity and Climate Change.

Our funding

Most of our funding comes from the Scottish Government’s Environment and Forestry Directorate as ‘grant in aid’.

Our success in caring for Scotland’s nature relies greatly on how we work with others across government, and beyond, including the private sector, the third sector and in communities across Scotland. We have joint working agreements and informal partnerships with a wide range of organisations.

Find out more on our Funding and Projects.

Our Offer

Life needs balance and that’s something we intrinsically understand.  So if you are wondering how we can help you balance work commitments with life and social commitments, please read on.  

NatureScot offers some great benefits to reward and support you whilst you are working with us.  Our benefits, ranging from salary scales with performance related progression steps, Civil Service pension scheme, a generous holiday leave allowance plus a host of flexible working options and flexi time and an employee discount scheme.  

Pay and reward

We offer a competitive salary scale and are an accredited Scottish living wage employer.  Our salaries are reviewed annually in line with Scottish Government pay policy.  


We offer a choice of an occupational career average salary pension or a partnership pension through the civil service pension provider:  MyCSP.  Depending on your choice of pension, your spouse or partner may be entitled to up to three times your pensionable salary in the event of your death, so if the worst happened, you and your family will not have to worry about financial security for the future.  

Holiday leave

We offer our employees 30 days holiday leave annually, plus 11.5 public and privilege holidays.  Our holiday leave year runs from 01 April to 31 March.  

Flexible working

Many of the benefits we offer go beyond our legal obligations as an employer.  We want to help you have a good work life balance, so we have built a range of flexible working options, which includes job sharing, part time working, flexi time and homeworking.  

Occupational maternity, adoption, and paternity pay

We offer support when you need it most (this is based on your reckonable service with us):

  • Nine months paid maternity/adoption leave – 27 weeks full occupational maternity pay plus 12 weeks statutory maternity pay, and up to 13 weeks unpaid leave. 
  • Eight weeks full occupational paid paternity leave.
  • Thirteen weeks parental leave. 

Occupational sick pay

We offer a generous occupational sick pay scheme which includes full occupational pay for 6 months and up to 6 months half occupational pay.  

Volunteering day

We offer all employees a paid volunteering day annually for them to participate in a volunteering activity.   

Salary Sacrifice Schemes

Cycle to work 

You could save up to 42% of the retail cost of a bike (dependent on your individual tax circumstance). The cost of your bike is deducted monthly from your salary prior to any PAYE or NI deductions.  Our cycle to work scheme is run by Cycle Scheme Ltd. 

Employee discount scheme

We operate an Employee Discount Scheme (EDS) which enables employees to access a range of online and offline products and services at a discounted price.  

Give as you earn (GAYE)

We operate a GAYE Scheme which allows employees to donate to charities of their choice through payroll and is deducted monthly from your salary prior to any PAYE and NI deductions.   The scheme is run by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).  

Learning and Development

NatureScot is committed to providing a comprehensive approach to learning and development which supports all of us to do our work. It also provides support and assistance towards course fees for qualifications which relate to your work or for future opportunities.  

We also support a coaching culture within NatureScot. This includes a formal offer of coaching for all our employees through a cohort of qualified coaches.   

Wellbeing – employee assistance programme

We offer an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and this benefit is available to all employees by telephone through a helpline, as well as an online service.  Employees can contact the EAP from home or abroad 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.   The service also provides employees with a wide range of more specialist information on a number of topics, including:  

  • Financial advice
  • Debt counselling
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Care for dependents
  • Sign posting and support

Season ticket loans

We offer interest free loans to purchase public transport season tickets which are then recovered monthly from your salary.  

Professional subscriptions

We recognise that it is important for some roles to maintain membership of professional associations and industry bodies, which supports the aims and objectives of NatureScot.  In funding individual subscriptions NatureScot will ensure that memberships maintain relevance to your current role.​​​​​​​

The Recruitment and Selection Process

The application process

Our vacancies are advertised on external job sites as well as NatureScot’s recruitment website and our social media feeds.

Before you begin the application process, candidates are advised to read the Online Job Application Guide.

Application is by CV and Supporting Statement. The Supporting Statement is your opportunity to tell us how you meet the criteria of the role in detail. 

We have created a Supporting Statement Template for your use. Alternatively you can upload a Word document of your own formatting.

We would appreciate your participation in our Diversity and Inclusion monitoring. 

By completing a Diversity and Inclusion Questionnaire you will be contributing to, and strengthening, NatureScot’s diverse and inclusive culture.  Please send your completed Diversity and Inclusion form to [email protected]

When you are ready to apply, click the link below to start the process, paste the link into your browser, or navigate to Nature.Scot careers using the website search feature.

The selection process

An initial sift of your CV and Supporting Statement will be conducted against the specific role requirements.

If you pass the initial sift you will be invited to interview and given details of how to book your interview time. The selection process will include a presentation, an interview and a peer discussion.

The presentation subject is included in this pack, and will be confirmed if you are invited to interview. Your interview invitation will also contain a unique link to your online Psychometric Assessment.

The employment process

All new employees are required have a basic disclosure as a minimum as part of our baseline security standards. For more information regarding the disclosure process please visit Disclosure Scotland. 

All new employees are required to undertake a health questionnaire which is then reviewed by our occupational health provider.

All new employees must have the right to work in the UK.

Our vacancies are open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non-EEA nationals. If you are a non-EEA national you will be responsible for obtaining a valid work permit.

Please note that NatureScot does not have a sponsor licence and cannot provide sponsorship under the Skilled Worker visa route.

Privacy Notice

As part of our recruitment process, NatureScot collects and processes personal data relating to candidates. NatureScot is committed to being transparent about how we collect and use that data and to meeting our data protection obligations.

Information will be retained for the duration of the application/recruitment process and will be deleted from our systems if you are not successful. If candidates have requested that their details are retained for future job opportunities, our recruitment system will store your application information for a year from the date of first submission.

For further details of the Head of People & OD role at NatureScot, please contact:  Alison MacDonald, [email protected] or Lynda Thomson, [email protected]

For queries and assistance with the application process, or the information contained in this recruitment pack, please contact [email protected]


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