Policy director

AOP logo

Location: 2 Woodbridge Street, London, EC1R 0DG

Role: Other

Contract type: Full time

Recruiter name: Association of Optometrists

Closing date:

The Association of Optometrists is seeking a policy director to join its team

The Association of Optometrists' (AOP) policy director is responsible for leading the strategic development, implementation and review of policies which reflect members’ views and interests. They are responsible for ensuring Council and member engagement in policy development and the eye health agenda, developing and executing policy campaigns and raising the AOP’s profile as a serious contributor to policy in eye health.

Reports to: Chief executive
Responsible for: Two direct reports
Budget responsibility: c£350,000 (includes Councillor expenses)

Directorate: Policy

The policy team is responsible for the formation of AOP policy through member and wider stakeholder engagement, to ensure that the AOP is fully involved in the eye health agenda in the UK (and Europe) for the benefit of its members.

The team supports a number of committees, public affairs for the AOP and develops policy campaigns. 

The policy director line manages the policy and Public affairs adviser and the policy officer. 

Duties and key responsibilities

  • Ensure the strategic development of AOP policy reflects the interests and views of the membership
  • Develop and manage mechanisms for consulting the membership, ensuring this is accountable, representative and transparent
  • Ensure that appropriate capabilities and resources exist for developing directorate aims
  • Ensure the AOP is abreast of all knowledge of, and intelligence about, key strategic areas affecting its work
  • Manage the AOP’s strategic policy agenda and ensure the CEO and Board are appropriately informed and involved
  • Increase the influence of the AOP through strategic leadership on policy, through quality advice to the Chief Executive and Board, and through development of relationships with key external stakeholders
  • Represent the AOP externally and where appropriate attend meetings on behalf of the AOP
  • Act as policy lead for the AOP with the Optical Confederation 
  • Lead on developing appropriate and relevant policy, research and campaign projects, and where appropriate, in partnership with other organisations
  • Oversee the programme of policy, research projects and campaigns. This will include the production of plans, commissioning of research, as well as production of supporting documents such as consultation responses, research reports, policy briefings and e-bulletins either directly or through the supervision of team members. 
Council and committees
  • Ensure Council performs its representational function
  • Ensure Council is fit for purpose and manage its governance processes
  • Support committees to be productive, useful and vibrant parts of the organisation’s decision-making structures.
  • Manage the AOP’s response to consultations, ensuring appropriate membership engagement and involvement of the policy committee.
OC and external bodies
  • Optical Confederation: Manage the AOP’s policy relationship with the Optical Confederation, ensuring the AOP’s policies are strongly represented
  • Public affairs: Manage the policy and public affairs adviser and work with them to ensure that the AOP policy position is getting maximum exposure with decision makers
  • External bodies: Manage the AOP’s policy relationship with external bodies, ensuring the AOP’s policies are strongly represented
  • DoH and NHS England: Manage policy relationships with NHS England and the Department of Health, ensuring that the AOP’s members’ interests are strongly represented
  • Optometry Northern Ireland, Optometry Scotland and Optometry Wales: Manage the relationship, ensuring that AOP members’ interests are represented and reflected in their individual positions
Europe and World Council of Optometry
  • Develop and implement a strategy for the AOP’s  involvement in JOCEU and ECOO, according to its strategic priority
  • Ensure that the AOP’s World and European strategies reflect AOP policies and are integrated into them.
Manage the policy team
  • Lead, manage and develop the policy (and Optical Confederation public affairs team) to meet and exceed the strategic objectives of the business, fulfilling HR responsibilities
  • Plan and develop the annual policy budget. Oversee the management of spend and ensure that expenditure remains within the approved budget
  • Manage risk in the delivery of projects and policy development, and identify any problems with intended work plans and targets.

General responsibilities

  • Be proactive in keeping up to date with developments affecting your work at hand, and maintain and improve personal competence through continuing professional development
  • Operate within organisational policies, codes of conduct and practice and work collaboratively with staff across the association
  • Contribute to team meetings and organisational priorities, strategic goals and performance targets
  • Be flexible and carry out other associated duties as may arise, develop or be assigned within the broad remit of the post.

Person specification


  • Five years working at senior level within a membership  or equivalent organisation in a strategic policy role
  • Five years within the healthcare sector desirable 
  • Several years’ senior experience working with and supporting organisations to engage with, and influence, policy
  • Strategic  planning experience at a management level
  • Experience of managing, motivating and empowering staff to achieve their full potential
  • Experience of working within a regulated field
  • Project management and quality assurance in a complex environment.

Skills and abilities

  • Leadership skills to undertake a complex management role in a national organisation 
  • Ability to adopt a solution-focused approach and make decisions under pressure 
  • Willingness to implement  and  promote organisational  decisions  and  policies positively
  • Evidence of the ability to read complex information, summarise and to present it  to a wide range of audiences
  • Skilled in presenting and in designing activities in order to help groups reach decisions productively
  • Skilled in persuasion, negotiation, diplomacy and presentation either through face to face or telephone interaction
  • Ability to represent AOP on a range of issues and in a range of situations, dealing with people at all levels
  • Clear and precise writing skills; including evidence of producing reports, policies and tenders 
  • Ability to work with senior colleagues in similar organisations, taking account of  different corporate cultures and objectives
  • Ability to understand clinical information and processes
  • IT skills at a level that supports writing, email, using the internet and databases
  • Time management and organisational skills
  • Can engage and motivate others
  • Self motivated with ability to work alone but can also work cooperatively and flexibly as part of a team.


  • Knowledge of the health sector an advantage
  • Knowledge and understanding of the social and political environment affecting healthcare in the UK and of the health and social policy issues which impact on the AOP’s work.


  • Degree level or equivalent
  • Evidence of recent continuing professional development in a professional area relevant to the post will be required.

Personal attributes and other requirements

  • Confident and self-motivated
  • Enthusiastic and willingness to be flexible in achieving project outcomes
  • Able to travel
  • Able to work flexible hours, including weekends and evenings.


The Optical Confederation is a coalition of five optical representative bodies: the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO); the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM); the Association of Optometrists (AOP); the Federation of Manufacturing Opticians (FMO) and the Federation of (Ophthalmic and Dispensing) Opticians (FODO), the mission of which is to speak with a single, authoritative voice to the Westminster government, influencers and decision makers for the UK optical sector.

To apply

If you are interested in applying for this position, please send a covering letter, explaining your suitability for the role, and your CV to janicephillips@aop.org.uk by August 3 2017.