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Justice Defenders

Chief Operating Officer

About Justice Defenders

From Uganda to the United States, we are living amidst a global justice crisis. The lack of access to justice impacts 5.1 billion people worldwide – with effects on families, communities and society at large. Three million men, women and children are being held in overcrowded prisons without a trial. Countless voices are lost in the noise.

Founded in 2007 as the African Prisons Project, Justice Defenders is an organisation and movement from all walks of life: prisoners, prison officers, lawyers, judges, and allies. Over the past 13 years, Justice Defenders has leveraged its success to build committed relationships with influential international organisations and individuals and relies on a network of connected and generous donors. Justice Defenders is a registered UK charity and U.S. nonprofit with a global team currently based in the UK, Kenya, Uganda, Gambia, Italy, and the USA.

The organisational culture is shaped by the core values of: bravery, humility, and solidarity. These influence the thinking and daily behaviour and are used routinely in decision making, priority setting, and implementation of all aspects of the organisation’s work. 

About the Role

The COO reports to the CEO, and line manages the Director of Growth; the Director of Fundraising and Communication; the Finance, IT and Human Resource Managers; and Country Directors.. The COO supervises the development of policies and standards, ensuring compliance in the areas of Finance, Human Resources and IT Systems.

The COO will lead on financial planning and organisational development, including leading organizational change and integration processes.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Execute the operational strategy and support the development of aligned geographic and functional strategies and plans. 
  • Provide relevant, transparent and reliable data, analysis, and insights for strategy reviews.
  • Manage the day-to-day work of the organisation. 
  • Facilitate and guide the Senior Management Team and support the Board with appropriate reporting and drafting of policies.
  • Lead operations (Finance, HR and IT) and international directors (Growth, and Fundraising and Communication). 
  • Initiate, design and implement sustainable organisational change, and monitor progress with a determined focus on goals.
  • Lead organisational budgeting and financial management needs, ensuring legal reporting to statutory regulatory bodies.
  • Form productive and supportive relationships with a variety of stakeholders to promote cooperation across teams, leading by example.
  • Communicate effectively within the organisation with the board, staff, volunteers, and interns, to promote engagement and align priorities.

Skills and Experience

  • Proven record of achievement in the effective management and leadership of a fast-growing and dynamic international organisation. 
  • Demonstrates a clear understanding of the role of senior management in driving change, innovation and performance, and possesses the ability to take this on.  
  • Commitment to the values of Justice Defenders, including servant leadership, redemptive leadership and redemptive entrepreneurship.
  • Effective transparent, accountable. and engaging management style for multicultural and cross-functional staff.
  • Financial management experience including budgeting of a mid-sized or large organisation
  • Relevant degree or equivalent professional qualifications. 
  • Demonstrates resilience when things do not go to plan, and the ability to overcome setbacks and show inspirational leadership.
  • Experience in delivering legal education or legal practice is desirable, but not essential.