Strategic Development Officer

Description:       To actively participate in the operation and development of UTASS; its people, systems, processes, resources and outcomes.

Location:             UTASS office in Middleton-in-Teesdale.

Pay scale:            Competitive remuneration package

Hours:                  Part-time – 21 hours per week

Contract type:   Initially 12 months with a 3 month probationary period. Post could be extended subject to further funding.   


At UTASS we have been gradually diversifying our income base and have made significant strides over the last 3 years so that approaching one-third of our running costs are now raised independently. UTASS operates in an upland environment where people are resourceful but have relatively modest means and whilst we can certainly generate more financial throughput locally this will always be relatively limited. Indeed part of the rationale for UTASS is to support those in deep rural farming communities living with the challenges of getting by on a day-to-day basis.

To achieve long term sustainability we need to generate new income streams to support our operational costs from 2021-2022 onwards. This gives us some development time and we want to stay ahead of the curve in terms of raising the balance rather than having to reduce our service offer.

UTASS is entering an exciting period of opportunity as we seek to reinforce our charity and the work that we do. Working with the joint project managers, you will support UTASS to develop and deliver its sustainability and business plans and proactively identify new areas for development that maximise our income and means we can continue to support the most vulnerable people in the rural parts of County Durham. We are looking for someone who has a track record of developing new and innovative opportunities for organisations and who wants to help shape our future.

MAIN DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES This role primarily involves working with the joint project managers to:

  • Develop and manage the implementation of UTASS’s sustainability plan.
  • Facilitate the continued development of UTASS – through diversifying our funding and developing a pipeline of exciting new and innovative opportunities.
  • Establish a good working relationship with the board and engage with wider stakeholders to deliver UTASS’s mission, including resource requirements.
  • Raise UTASS’s profile, reach and influence of the services that we offer with our patrons, supporters and other external/third parties. 
  • Network with other organisations and charities locally/regionally/nationally to position UTASS as a complementary and value adding partner and explore joint working opportunities.   
  • Review the membership offer and make it a compelling offer that sits firmly within the strategic vision of the organisation.

Reports to:         Diane Spark (project manager: funding and development) and Bob Danby (project manager: HR and policies)

PERSON SPECIFICATION ; Skills, Knowledge and Experience


  • Excellent written and verbal communication and presentation skills. 
  • Experience of strategic business planning as part of a management team – preferably in a charitable / voluntary sector organisation. 
  • Experience of reviewing services and their delivery costs – to see if they can be delivered on a more cost effective basis and if other/new services are needed. 
  • Experience of interpreting budgets, accounts and financial statements to understand UTASS’s financial position.
  • Experience of identifying and carrying forward income generation and funding activities. 
  • Experience of developing and/or managing a membership scheme, including retention and growth strategies. 
  • The ability to work in a self-directed manner, and as part of a team.
  • Experience of marketing and promoting an organisation to increase awareness and support.
  • The ability to develop good working relationships with a range of external bodies including organisations that deliver services on UTASS premises, partners, funders and commissioners.
  • Excellent organisational skills.
  • Computer and IT literate
  • Ability to deputise for the project managers as required.


  • Experience of working in a commercial environment – and being able to adapt these skills for UTASS.  
  • Being results and target orientated with a positive outlook.  
  • Good people skills and self-awareness.
  • Knowledge and understanding of working with farming families/communities.
  • Sensitivity and empathy to the challenges sometimes facing UTASS’s client group.

Personal Qualities

  • Self-motivated with an ability to generate new ideas and a ‘can do’ proactive approach to work.
  • Flexibility in adapting to the changing demands of the role.
  • Values and beliefs which are aligned to the work of UTASS.

ANNUAL LEAVE ENTITLEMENT: 28 days including bank holidays (pro rata).

PENSION: UTASS operates a pension scheme in line with auto enrolment requirements.

About UTASS:    UTASS (Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services) is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee based in Middleton-in-Teesdale. UTASS began informally in 1993 after an epidemic of suicides locally (8 people in 6 months). It was formally established in May 2000 and works with and for people in the Durham Dales, providing a one stop shop of holistic services and specialising in agricultural matters. UTASS has a dedicated team of sixteen staff (mainly part time), including 6 sessional youth workers, and is overseen by a board of twelve trustees. The charity is supported by 20 regular volunteers.

More information about UTASS and the services/activities we provide can be found on our Website: 


  • Closing date for applications 05.11.19.
  • Shortlisting of applicants 07.11.19
  • Interviews to be held 18.11.19