ADCH logo
Contact Find a rescue

Head of Animal Operations

RSPCA Cornwall

Location: Cornwall

Salary: £32,000

Hours: Full time, 40 hours per week (but flexible on job share)

Contract Type: Permanent

Closing Date: 16th November 2023

How to Apply: Contact [email protected] for an application form.

RSPCA Cornwall Branch is committed to the welfare of companion animals and wildlife … Rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals who are unwanted and far too often neglected or mistreated. With the aim of improving animal welfare by preventing cruelty and neglect and promoting responsible pet ownership.

The Head of Animal Operations is responsible for the successful fulfilment of the wider animal welfare programme. This includes leading the strategic and operational development and delivery of animal welfare programmes in RSPCA Cornwall Branch and outside in our local community.

In provide 7 day cover, we are considering 2 candidates to work this role on a Job Share arrangement.

Purpose of this Role

The Head of Animal Operations will lead the delivery of all animal welfare programmes through providing effective strategic and operational leadership to the animal care, veterinary and rehoming teams. They will be an inspirational leader, developing and rewarding a high-performance culture across the team in order to achieve the best results for animal welfare.

They will be adept at planning and prioritising to meet the multiple calls on their time. They will be equipped with a strategic mindset, focus, drive and enthusiasm, as well as excellent communication and relationship- building skills with colleagues and external contacts in order for RSPCA Cornwall Branch to successfully rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals that need us.

They will look outwardly, strategically developing our work in the local community to improve animal welfare through our support of vulnerable pet owners and in conjunction with our education programmes, through educating pet owners.

They will promote a values led culture developing and rewarding high-performance across the team in order to achieve the best service for all stakeholders.

They will work cohesively with the Clinical Behaviourist to ensure all animals on site are managed appropriately and admitted and rehomed in a timely manner.

They will support and work closely within the Senior Management team to support the fundraising objectives of the Branch.

Principal tasks

  • Responsible for advancing policies and processes within scope of role and contributing to the ethos positioning the Branch as a centre of excellence in the rescue sector to include working with the CEO to deliver strategy, and timely reporting of the same.
  • To contribute to annual budgets and plans with regular financial and performance reports as requested by the CEO or HIG.
  • To lead and line-manage the Animal Care, Animal welfare officers, rehoming teams and maintenance team. Showcasing inspiring behaviours that develop, coach and motivate individuals to achieve and exceed objectives and targets, whilst successfully performance managing their own teams and encouraging personal and professional development.
  • To ensure effective and successful departments focused on animal rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming including developing and implementing short and long-term strategic plans in order to achieve best practices in animal welfare and rehoming, with continuous development and reporting against progress.
  • Ensure that appropriate animal care standards of hygiene, welfare and enrichment (aligned to the relevant RSPCA licensing requirements) are delivered and maintained throughout the animal centre, utilising and developing appropriately trained team members & volunteers.
  • To manage animal occupancy by working closely with the appropriate team members to ensure that available animal accommodation is used efficiently.
  • To recruit replacement team members and ensure cover and suitable contingency plans are in place for annual leave and/or unforeseen absence
  • To ensure all relevant administrative paperwork and external correspondence is processed in accordance with branch procedures, including generating and monitoring of teamwork rotas, planned and unplanned absences and compilation of information for the monthly payroll.
  • Work with the Volunteer Coordinator to plan volunteer recruitment in line with department requirements. Work with Animal Carers to retain volunteer support and ensure volunteers are valued as part of the team and monitored and managed effectively on site.
  • Manage the health and safety of all animal carers, animal care volunteers both on and off site during working hours and ensuring the safety of visitors on site at all times.
  • Deliver, organise and monitor team induction, training and development in line with RSPCA standard procedures and the individual requirements of the branch..
  • Managing underperformance where needed including performance improvement plans carrying out disciplinaries as required.
  • Liaise with other departments as necessary to ensure all repairs and site maintenance is carried out as necessary.
  • To maintain, develop and retain the standards of the Branch’s animal welfare and behavioural reputation. Which will include developing and managing external relationships with relevant/appropriate animal welfare and behaviour organisations/experts.
  • Relationship management with RSPCA not least to include other branches and the RSPCA Partnership Manager with regard to animal welfare, whilst providing leadership to ensure compliance at all times with necessary/required RSPCA licensing standards.
  • Effectively manage the relationship with the Branch’s third party veterinary partner including successful contract management and relationship management.
  • To provide operational decision making and direction on specific animal related issues.
  • To work cohesively with the Clinical Behaviourist to support all behavioural interventions and training plans and together manage risk with all animals on site.
  • Working with the CEO and AWO team to lead and develop the Branch’s strategic charitable objectives focusing on outreach work in our local communities, supporting vulnerable pet owners with the aim of improving animal welfare.
  • Collaborating with internal and external partners to build partnership working opportunities within the community.
  • Contribute to and attend Fundraising initiatives as required.
  • Attend, contribute and provide monthly reports to the Trustee meetings.
  • Working with the CEO, HIG and CAB to lead and develop the Branch’s strategic objectives to generate commercial income through our animal expertise, whilst providing accessible support and education to local pet owners eg training classes and behaviourist advice.
  • Work with the AWO team to Lead and develop the Branch’s external education policy on neutering, microchipping and vaccinations, including policy decisions on the Branch’s provision of low-cost neutering.
  • Encourage effective working relationships between all teams, colleagues, volunteers, and Trustees, to support animal welfare work.
  • To undertake other duties as may reasonably be required.

While at work all staff are required to:

  • Take care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their acts and omissions.
  • Co-operate with Branch’s policies and procedures for health and safety.

Person Specification

To identify the necessary qualifications, experience, practical and intellectual skills, training and any additional requirements, needed to undertake the role.

Knowledge, skills and experience:


  • Education qualifications: Educated to degree level or relevant lived experience.
  • Professional/Technical Qualifications/Skills: Excellent IT skills including database management
  • Competence/ Experience: In-depth knowledge of animal welfare and demonstrable delivery of related programmes or relevant transferable skills.
  • Knowledge and experience of relevant key performance indicators and performance evaluation and reporting.
  • Managerial experience to include motivational and development skills.
  • Excellent communication skills with ability to develop strong relationships across the organisation and with key external contacts.
  • Strategically focused with experience of developing long-term plans based on knowledge, insights and analysis.
  • Awareness of managing commercial contracts.


  • Achieved or working towards recognised animal vocational qualifications at appropriate level
  • Competencies
  • Planning & Decision making.
  • Managing change to include strategic planning and effective decision making
  • Changing and improving, which could include creativity and forward thinking and influencing skills
  • Demonstrate an ability to make informed and well-judged ethical choices/decisions
  • Delivering Objectives
  • Commercial awareness/Achieving commercial outcomes.
  • Managing customers & stakeholders.
  • Task focused to include ability to prioritise, analytical and organisational skills and problem solving.
  • Personal Effectiveness/Engaging People.
  • Leading and communicating.
  • Individual responsibility/Personal awareness.
  • Team focused/collaborative.
  • Developing others.
  • Demonstrating and understanding diversity – to include valuing and respecting different views and ways of working, understanding the dynamics and confidentiality and promoting a diversity of new ideas within all aspects of the Branch.

Job Context

Work is carried out within general guidelines in accordance with the RSPCA Licensing Scheme and other relevant Branch policies and procedures. Field officer audit reports provide additional general guidance.

Additional information

The post holder may be required to attend training courses which will involve travel.

The post holder may be required to drive the Branch’s vehicle on matters of business, so a full, clean UK driving licence is required.

RSPCA Cornwall Branch is an independent separately registered charity working under the umbrella rules of the National RSPCA. Employment in this role will be with the Branch, not the National Society