Deputy Director, Transactions Unit

Department for Education
West Midlands
15 Jul 2017
12 Aug 2017
Contract Type

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is an executive agency of the Department for Education, recently formed by the merger of the Education Funding Agency and the Skills Funding Agency within the DfE. The ESFA Chief Executive is also a member of the DfE Board.

A key priority for the ESFA is to act as government sponsor for the further education sector, which consisted of a network of 241 colleges established as independent corporations under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. These colleges, together with 92 sixth form colleges are important providers of education and skills training for young people 16-19 and for adults 19+ and therefore support the objectives of the DfE, as well as the needs of local economies, communities and individuals in every part of England.

The financial health of the FE college sector has been declining since 2010/11. In 2013/14, the sector was in deficit for the first time and 110 colleges recorded an operating deficit, up from 52 in 2010/11. This context led to a major reform of post-16 education and training institutions conducted through a process of 38 area reviews. The Government expects this reform to lead to fewer, often larger, more resilient and efficient providers and has recognised that there will be costs of restructuring but intends to manage any investment in restructuring to minimise costs to the taxpayer and maximise value for money. It has made available a restructuring facility of up to GBP726 million, but with every case considered on its merits as a value for money proposition. The first proposals from the first wave of area reviews were available in 2016 and the first two cases for financial investment were approved in December 2016. The programme of area reviews will be complete by March 2017 and proposals for investment will be considered for financial support which will be available up to the end of 2019.

The Transactions Unit (TU) is a directorate within the ESFA, led by Matthew Atkinson, who was recruited recently from the financial sector, with relevant experience of financial turnaround, modelling, stakeholder negotiation, structuring and investment appraisal.

The Deputy Director will report to the Director of the Transactions Unit and support the TU's delivery agenda in the next stage of reshaping the further education sector and manage any investment by the government in restructuring.

As a Deputy Director of the TU, the successful candidate will have a unique opportunity to manage Restructuring Facility spend and to make a key contribution to an ambitious and transformational programme, which will set a new path for the further education sector for a generation. Their work will make a key contribution to the government's productivity agenda, as well as to the life chances of millions of young people and adults, to acquire the skills they need for a successful career.

Key Responsibilities

• Oversight of deal structure for all Transactions Unit cases to ensure maximum value for money and consistency;
• Management of the team of financial specialists, and use of contracted resource as required, to gain approval for cases and advance them to completion most efficiently;
• Senior Responsible Officer for the Unit's financial model and lead for the Unit to work with colleagues in identifying ways to change ESFA financial processes to incorporate lessons learned from the programme whilst recognising associated constraints;
• Case lead for some of the Unit's most complex cases in line with the objectives of the Fund by managing and supporting the colleges in the pipeline, assessing their applications, designing a deal, achieving approval and supporting the case to conclusion;
• Overall responsibility for the loan book, including quarterly monitoring and repayments;
• Input to the development and operationalisation of the insolvency regime for colleges.
• Persuading and influencing senior leaders and forging networks and relationships with provide sector partners and banks;
• Help to change the culture of the sector to focus on achieving strong financial and strategic outcomes.

Experience and Skills Required:

• A strong focus on achieving commercial outcomes with a relentless focus on quality and value for money, and evidence of significant personal involvement in complex commercial negotiations.
• A track record of mergers and acquisitions achievements, preferably in a stressed environment.
• Demonstrable financial restructuring capability based on expert modelling and forecasting skills.
• Contingency planning and options analysis.
• Significant experience in presenting to boards and committees on lending / investment cases - outlining strategy, but answering detailed questions.
• Deliver compelling cases in tight timescales through challenging and detailed approval processes to meet external deadlines.


Accountancy - ACA or equivalent


We'll assess you against these competencies during the selection process:
Delivering value for money Achieving commercial outcomes Collaborating and partnering Seeing the big picture Leading and communicating
Civil Service Competency Framework



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass basic security checks.

Nationality statement

Candidates will be subject to UK immigration requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules.

If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.

Selection process details

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.


Candidates in their probationary period are not eligible to apply for vacancies within this department.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Salary: GBP80,000 - GBP100,000. Date posted: 05/07/2017