Head of Digital (Consultant)

Build to-day, then, strong and sure,

With a firm and ample base;

And ascending and secure

Shall to-morrow find its place.


Thus alone can we attain

To those turrets, where the eye

Sees the world as one vast plain,

And one boundless reach of sky.

The Builders by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • Contract Type: Consultancy (We are open to this post being filled by a freelance individual or an agency)
  • Duration: Maximum contract period – 18 months
  • Salary: Competitive
  • Working Hours/Pattern: Flexible on approach to the project brief – within the restrictions of the project budget and timeline
  • Location: The Reader, Mansion House, Calderstones Park, Liverpool L18 3JB (Flexibility can be given but it expected that the majority of work will be done from our Calderstones office). National travel may be required.
  • Reporting to: Directors Group

About this project


This project is about defining, leading and delivering a digital strategy for The Reader. We are investing in digital services to help us better attract, recruit, train and support volunteers as we grow our national model and to achieve better outcomes for the people we read with. We want technology to be an embedded thread running through our shared reading model, which strengthens our model as we bring it to new communities. Therefore, we’re looking for an experienced Digital professional who can grasp and further develop organisational strategy and enjoy working with a range of people, internally and externally, to further enhance it. We will be looking for products to address a range of needs, including:

–       Delivery of volunteer support and engagement at scale

–       Streamlining monitoring and evaluation in order to maximise data collection and therefore impact measurement at scale

–       Strengthening The Reader’s brand and engagement through a new public facing website,


We need our digital infrastructure to be built with sustainability and flexibility in mind. It’s vital that this work can integrate across the organisation to link up with other business processes and systems, including finance and commercial enterprise systems. It’s important for us that we adopt an agile, user-led approach so we can place our Reader community at the heart of its development and ensure that technology enhances our model effectively and meets their needs in a cost-efficient way.



About this Role


The Reader is looking for a consultant Head of Digital, to lead the transformation of its digital infrastructure over the next 18 months. This is an opportunity to work for a fast-paced organisation that is scaling its unique model of Shared Reading to build stronger and more supportive communities across the UK. We’re looking for an experienced Digital professional who can bring strong leadership skills and commitment to a user-driven design process. You’ll have experience of developing an overarching digital strategy and be able to understand and define business needs and then manage the development of a range of digital products to meet those needs.


Key relationships


You will be reporting to a member of the Director’s Group and be required to work with a large range of internal and external stakeholders including;


  • Shared Reading volunteers and group members
  • Directors Group (Directors of Learning, Operations, Development, Chief Operating Officer, Director)
  • Monitoring and Evaluation manager
  • Third party technology and service providers
  • IT team
  • Head of Social Enterprise
  • Head of Communications and the marketing/communications team
  • Managers in Community Engagement, Volunteer support and Resources/Quality



Project brief/Key Responsibilities


  • Lead the creation of a digital strategy for The Reader to further our organisational strategy and deliver social and long-term financial value for the organisation


  • Oversee the development of a new digital infrastructure across mobile, online and social media that delivers excellent user experience and connects our external-facing tools with an effective CRM system and a new engaging, intuitive online support system for volunteers


  • Ensure that digital products are well designed and accessible to all audiences across a wide range of devices, taking the varied digital literacy and confidence levels into account


  • Lead the requirement gathering process and stakeholder engagement – this will include designing the co-creation process and running workshops with user groups; undertaking an assessment of The Reader’s current digital capabilities; leading on UX design; working collaboratively across all internal teams to ensure that our digital strategy is anchored to our overarching strategy and will result in more integrated business processes


  • Establish and lead a Panel and Programme Board, whose terms of reference will be to ensure that the relevant stakeholders, ranging from volunteers and service users to technical experts are consulted at key stages in the development process


  • Facilitate internal decision-making, reporting to Directors on a regular basis and making recommendations


  • Develop the tender specification for digital development, including the initial brief and technical specification


  • Ensure that medium to long-term sustainability and resource needs are assessed and considered and presented to The Reader senior leadership team


  • Manage the appointment of, and relationship with, third party provider from selection and scoping, through design, development and testing to launch, ensuring that they deliver on time and on budget


  • Manage the project budget, reporting to Associate Director of Operations on a regular basis and contribute to project reports for funders


  • Work closely with the Communications and Quality teams to develop the content plan and oversee its delivery in line with project timeline, ensuring that content incorporates best practice SEO into the website and new tools are on brand


  • Work with Communications team to develop a marketing and communications plan for roll out and ensure take up to meet project targets


  • Work with the Monitoring and Evaluation team to set out a monitoring and evaluation plan with a clear strategy for data and tracking user journeys and engagement to improve user insight


  • Work with The Reader’s IT team to ensure that an effective roll out and integration of new products/systems


  • Ensure that Information Architecture and data management systems are robust


  • Ensure a longer term business case is developed Assessment of resources and skills required to maintain digital tools in the medium to longer term and make recommendations in a business case to the Leadership team


  • Ensure that medium to long-term sustainability and resource requirements are assessed and considered in the tender process.  Assess the proposals for implementation and future maintenance to ensure they are future proofed for the organisation and are manageable from both a workflow and budgetary perspective.


  • Work to build capacity in The Reader to help the organisation become more digitally enabled and learning is embedded


  • Produce and present project updates to The Reader Board and project funder



Project timeline and key deliverables


We envisage this to be an 18-month contract with key deliverables and timescales, linked to external funding, however we will be looking for prospective candidates to define their approach.


By September 2018, we would expect you to have:

–       Defined and understood business needs through requirement gathering, co-creation and stakeholder engagement

–       Set up Programme Board.

–       Produced a Digital strategy that has been approved


By April 2019, you will have:

Built a range of digital products to meet the needs set out in our digital strategy, managing external contractors where needed.

Person Specification

  • Strategic thinker – ability to grasp organisational strategy and experienced in defining and leading digital strategy to further overarching business aims
  • Experience of leading digital product development, managing either in-house development capacity or agency
  • Experience in user involvement and co-creation processes
  • Experience in working with cross-functional teams to develop digital strategy
  • Collaborative – strong relationship building skills with a range of stakeholders, from senior management to volunteers and beneficiaries to third party contractors, in order to bring people with you
  • A strong understanding of online user experiences, customer journeys and tracking/analytics tools
  • Experience of running a tender process and budget management
  • Understanding of available software and tools on the market – where possible, we will look to combine/customise available products that are cost-effective to maintain and upgrade.
  • Experience of working within a third sector organisation
  • Strong project management skills, including experience in agile tools and approach
  • Outstanding communication skills – ability to translate digital concepts and language to a non-expert audience
  • Pragmatic, can-do attitude
  • Confident to offer challenge and openness to be challenged
  • Understanding across mobile, online and social technologies
  • Ability to work within and deliver to a fixed budget even when unexpected challenges occur