Assistant Head of Improving Rivers

About Thames21:

Thames21 is a leading environmental charity, working across London and the Thames Basin to deliver high-impact nature-based solutions to the climate and biodiversity crisis through restoring rivers, whilst also connecting communities to their local green-blue spaces and inspiring long-term stewardship of them.

About the team

The Improving Rivers team is a dynamic and driven team which seeks to deliver effective and long-term restoration of river and catchment ecosystems. We work in cross sectoral partnership across the Thames Basin. The team takes a nature-based solutions approach and explores innovations as well as effectively deliver standard impactful approaches which drive the restoration of river ecosystems.

Diversity at Thames21

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Thames21 is key to our success and as such we employ staff from a diverse range of backgrounds, this we feel is key in ensuring that everybody has an equal opportunity and is not treated differently or discriminated against because of their characteristics. We value the voices of our individual employees, and we strive to work in a collaborative, innovative balanced way. The postholder must actively support this.

Purpose of the role

The postholder will support the strategic development of the Improving Rivers portfolio in collaboration with the Head of Improving Rivers and Improving Rivers Managers. The postholder will be responsible for implementing the strategic development of the team in partnership with the Improving Rivers Managers, whilst oversee and supporting the Improving Rivers Managers to implement Thames21 projects and programmes that achieve our 5 year plan goals.

The Improving Rivers team covers a diverse portfolio including teams focused on River Restoration, Environmental Evidence, Catchment Partnerships and Rural Solutions. These programmes including cross sectoral work including public, private, academic and community partners, as well as using mechanisms such as Environmental Markets and implementing (and challenging) government policy.

These outcomes are integrated into the work on Thames21’s Engagement and Learning Team that develops and delivers a wide range of practical volunteering activities and targeted recruitment and awareness raising to ensure project better reflect the communities we work in and improve health and wellbeing outcomes.

Thames21 is looking for a skilled leader and with strategic vision who must have a genuine passion for and understanding of our mission and a love of rivers.

Main duties and responsibilities:

1. Strategic Direction

Support the strategic development of the Thames21 Improving Rivers Portfolio of work, in liaison with the Head of Improving Rivers and the Chief Executive.

  • Support development of operational targets that directly contribute to achieving the organisations mission and priority area of Thames21’s 5 year plan 2023-2028.
  • Support development of strategies and oversee the implementation of action plans to achieve targets and organisation mission.
  • Ensure that effective Monitoring and Evaluation procedures are embedded across the organisation’s projects and programmes.
  • Ensure E&L projects and programmes integrate and complement Thames21’s other work, whilst maintaining good relationships with the senior management team.

2. Leadership and Management

Managing the Improving Rivers Team, support and directing managers, programme and budget oversight to achieve the objectives of Thames21’s strategy plan.

  • Support and develop Improving Rivers Managers to achieve their targets and objectives including the development of their teams/areas of work
  • Guide, support the Improving Rivers Team in the delivery of the portfolio of work, ensuring their well-being, performance at work and professional development.
  • Enable cross team collaborations and development for multi-benefits.

3. Business and organisation development.

Support and enable delivery of Thames21’s wider strategy.

  • Support development that will enhance the organisations performance and be responsible for seeing them through to implementation
  • Support oversight of and lead on bids and project development for funds/programmes which are assessed on their technical competencies related to the Improving Rivers portfolio
  • Support development of Strategic Environmental Markets and support/lead development of large/strategically important government bids/funding for Improving Rivers in partnership with other areas
  • Support the creation of systems that build the skills of the team so they can develop more strategic and impactful projects and programmes independently and ensure they are implemented.
  • Development and support strategic partnerships to achieve the organisation goals.

4. Work with the Head of Improving Rivers and Senior Management Team to ensure the organisation is performing effectively and that its systems and processes support the successful implementation of the Five-Year Plan.

  • Ensure the organisation is financially sustainable and carry out accurate financial management, auditing invoicing, reporting and planning.
  • Support development of organisational policies, practices and structures and ensure they are applied across the organisation.
  • Ensure resources are applied proportionally across the organisation.
  • Establish and maintain practices of data collection for portfolio measurement indices, ensuring the data is entered into Thames21’s data collection platforms.
  • Oversee the application of Health and Safety throughout the team

Other Duties

This job description cannot cover every issue or task that may arise within Thames21. At various times the post-holder will be directed to carry out other reasonable duties in support of other Thames21 activities that are consistent with those in this Job Description.

This role is ideal for those who:

  • Who have a passion and drive for restoring the health of rivers.
  • Experience and keen to work in collaboration both internally and externally.
  • Understanding of innovation and how to take a risks proportionately to the organisations situation.
  • Developing and implementing effective systems which enable staff to thrive.

Please see the attached job advert for the full person specification.

Additional Information

  • The post holder must be willing to occasionally work in the evening and at weekends.
  • 25 days paid annual leave are available (pro-rata if less than 1.0FTE) plus public holidays. In addition, the Thames21 office is closed between Christmas and New Year.
  • Thames21 operate a flexitime system of working.
  • Thames21 have an ‘Auto Enrol’ Workplace Pension Scheme with NET.
  • 24/7 access to our employee assistance programme.
  • Laptop & Mobile phone for company use.

To apply for this position please, email an up-to-date copy of your CV and a covering letter to [email protected]
with the reference (AIH0724), in the subject box of your email application.

For more information on Thames21, please visit our website at

We appreciate the time you will have taken to apply to this role, and we do appreciate that it is disconcerting when you don’t hear back from a role you have applied for. However, due to the high number of applications we expect to receive, we are unable respond to or give feedback on individual applications, but we do want to be able manage expectations. Therefore, if you do not hear from us within 4 weeks of the closing date, please assume that your application has not been successful on this occasion.

Closing date: 5pm Monday 29th July 2024. Interviews will be held on rolling basis.

No agencies please

Download application documents


  • Organisation: Thames21
  • Salary: £43,000 - £48,000
  • Location: Thames21’s main office at the Guildhall, City of London; but we also offer hybrid working
  • Closing date: 29 July 2024
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