Director General
Vacancy Type:
Full Time
Practice or Client:
Institute of Public Administration

The Institute of Public Administration (IPA) is Ireland’s leading public sector learning and development agency and is the premier provider of training and education to the Irish public service.  It plays a key role in fostering the development of best practice in public service management and provides an informed forum for discussion and debate on public service issues. It also provides the public service with innovative thinking and analysis through its research, conference and publications capacity. The IPA is a provider of accredited education as a recognised college of the National University of Ireland.

The Board of the Institute of Public Administration wishes to appoint a Director General with effect from 1 October 2022.

Role Summary

The Director General, working with the Institute’s Board, will be responsible for setting direction for the Institute, and leading a multi-disciplinary team in successful pursuit of the goals identified in a highly competitive, challenging and rapidly changing environment.

The individual appointed will provide the leadership, vision and strategic direction required to meet the challenges of developing best practice in public administration and public management. In particular, the individual will lead a substantial transformation agenda within the Institute to ensure that it is best placed to support the new and evolving skills needs of the civil and public service.

Key Responsibilities

  • Lead the Senior Management Group in the formulation of organisational policy and strategic direction, including the development of a significant agenda of transformational change within the Institute.
  • Provide the direction and oversight necessary to align financial management and information systems capabilities in support of strategic goals and critical day to day operations.
  • Take responsibility for the operations, governance, financial and strategic direction of the IPA.
  • Take responsibility for the preparation, oversight and execution of the annual budget for the organisation.
  • Provide the commercial acumen to identify opportunities and to respond through planning and delivery of products and services.
  • Direct the development of an integrated human resource management strategy and supportive systems that underpin the business direction and that are aligned with the values and mission of the IPA and with international best practice in the area of people management.
  • Optimise relationships with all relevant internal and external stakeholders across the public service and the education sector.
  • Represent the IPA, as appropriate, at national and international meetings / events and as agreed with the Board.

Transformation Agenda

The Board of the Institute has concluded that there are significant opportunities for the IPA to play a leading role in the transition to new and evolving education, training, development and skills needs in the public service. In addition to the more traditional skills areas such as human resources, project management, policy development, economics, governance, finance and core management skills, there is an urgent need to support the civil service and wider public service in such areas as strategic transformation and new ways of working, digital, climate, innovation, data and communications. There are also significant needs in the areas of benefits modelling, data analytics, human centred design, programme management and agile project management skills.

The Board considers that there are particular opportunities to expand its services in such areas as senior management and leadership training across the civil service, State agencies and local authorities.

Accordingly, the successful candidate will lead a major agenda of transformational change in the Institute that:

  • Provides senior leadership and practically-oriented high-level expert interventions to support the changes required across the public service.
  • Drives the Institute’s work to support the civil and public service reform programmes, ensuring that they best meet the most up to date needs of the reform agenda.
  • Addresses the current and approaching skills challenges identified across the public service.
  • Aligns the Institute with the national and international work in the areas of development and reform.
Qualification Level:
Third Level
Required Experience:

Essential Requirements

The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate evidence of:

  • A minimum of 5 years’ experience at a senior managerial level in either the public sector, the education/training environment or in the private sector that demonstrates the necessary vision, leadership and managerial skills.
  • A third level degree and/or professional qualification in an area relevant to the role.
  • A clear understanding of, and experience in, corporate governance requirements, including the roles and responsibilities that attach to the leader of a significant public sector organisation.
  • A minimum ten years’ experience of successfully leading, developing and managing functional areas within an organisation.
  • A proven and demonstrable track record of implementing a significant change or transformation programme
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills, including evidence of an ability to represent the IPA nationally and internationally, including in the media; and influencing, negotiating and networking at the most senior levels in partnership with a broad range of stakeholders.
  • Experience of working effectively with teams across an organisation, and leading and optimising the contribution of a multi-disciplinary management team
  • Strong judgment, integrity and objective decision-making capacity.
  • A strong commitment to the values of the public service and clear understanding and insight into the challenges facing the public service.

Desirable Requirements

The successful candidate should also be able to demonstrate evidence of:

  • A proven track record in the design and implementation of strategic plans.
  • A proven track record of thought leadership in their career to date.
  • Clear understanding of the challenges facing the third level and/or executive development sector.
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