BCI Senior Assurance Manager(s) /BCI

Starting date: as soon as possible

Salary: GBP 60,000 – GBP 65,000 per annum

Depending on skills and experience.

Location: London, UK (Shanghai, China may be considered for the right candidate)

Closing date: 31st May 2017

Number of positions: 2 positions available, of which one requires Mandarin skills


The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is a multi-stakeholder Standards System set up to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future. The Better Cotton Standard System is a pragmatic, innovative, highly credible and constantly evolving system that is designed for scale and impact. There are currently 1.5 million licensed BCI Farmers and over 1000 BCI Members from across the cotton sector working together to promote measurable and continuing improvements for the environment, farming communities and the economies of cotton-producing areas. This role offers you the opportunity to join an enthusiastic and dynamic team that are making significant global changes.


As the BCI Senior Assurance Manager you will lead the execution of the BCI Assurance Program in your assigned countries and assume accountability for the verification and licensing of Better Cotton Farmers. You will develop annual country assurance program plans in partnership with country staff, oversee all external assessment activities and ensure accuracy and timeliness of field level data reporting. You will adapt and deliver a continuous improvement training programme for verifiers and BCI programme officers, ensuring the quality, consistency and credibility of assurance outcomes. You will report to the Director of Standards and Assurance and work closely with the other members of the Standards and Assurance team and the Global Supply Programme Team across 4 continents. You will play a leading role in helping BCI constantly redefine and improve its assurance program to ensure it remains at the forefront of innovation and delivers credible outcomes at scale.


The Assurance function cuts across internal team structures and you will be the matrix manager for country-specific programme staff, who are responsible for implementing the assurance program. You will be available for extensive travel to the countries under your remit (approximately 6 weeks per year long haul travel and 6 short-haul trips within Europe). Countries which currently implement the Better Cotton Standard System include: China, India, Pakistan, Israel, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Tajikistan, Turkey, USA. We also have partnerships to recognise qualified cotton from Australia, Brazil and countries within the Aid by Trade Foundation Standard System.


This challenging role offers excellent opportunities for personal and professional development, international travel together with a competitive benefits package


Job Description

Lead the execution of the BCI Assurance Program


In partnership with BCI Country Directors and Programme staff, develop annual assurance programme plans in accordance with the Standard System to ensure the credibility of Better Cotton.

Matrix manage country programme staff who are responsible for the execution of country annual assurance plans, provide leadership and direction, help problem-solve when required and ensure plans are executed to the highest level of integrity and credibility.

Assume accountability for the timely collection and verification of relevant assurance outcomes and result indicator data, ensuring that the BCI Online Database holds accurate and up-to-date data for analysis.

Assume accountability for Better Cotton licenses issued at farm-level, including ensuring that all required documentation is signed-off and filed per due process.

Provide support to Supply Programme Managers in charge of BCI Strategic Partnerships in establishing appropriate and credible assurance protocols for countries where we have no BCI representation.

Assume responsibility for the annual review of the assurance program delivery through the implementation of internal and external oversight and reporting mechanisms.


Contribute to continuous improvement of the BCI Assurance Program

Collect and review regular user feedback on the BCI assurance tools, templates, and policies and propose improvements as required.

Advise on and support the integration and automatisation of assurance mechanisms in the BCI Online Project Database.

Contribute to Assurance innovations through research and support, enabling BCI to build on existing best practices and knowledge.

Support the IT Project Manager in the development and maintenance of technological solutions to increase the efficiency of assurance program implementation.


Capacity Building

In collaboration with the rest of the Standards and Assurance Team, develop, adapt and deliver a continuous improvement training programme for verifiers and BCI programme officers, to ensure they have the skills and competencies required to execute the Assurance Program with integrity, consistency and credibility

Support the Director of Standards and Assurance in the design and implementation of global training opportunities for all BCI staff and relevant stakeholders to understand the Assurance Program and the BCI model.

Assume accountability for the training, approval and monitoring of independent verifiers. Establish global framework contracts where relevant.


Organisational Management and collaboration

Lead Programme staff in-country, develop annual work plans and monitor execution, work closely with Country Directors on staff performance management, training and recruitment.

Work closely with Supply Programme Managers overseeing Strategic Partnerships to deliver support and capacity building to Strategic Partners as required.

Work closely with supply programme support staff based in Europe to ensure assurance data from countries without BCI representation is collected, verified and cleaned in a timely manner, leading to accurate and comprehensive reports available from the BCI Online Database.


Additional responsibilities

Support the Standards and Assurance Coordinator on ISEAL membership requirements, ensuring BCI meets state-of-the-art good practices in assurance

Support the Director of Standards and Assurance in assessing incoming licensing appeals in line with internal process

As a member of the Operational Management Team, contribute to the overall development of BCI, ensuring alignment of priorities with other teams and propose organisational improvements.

Beyond these specific responsibilities, the Senior Assurance Manager is expected to collaborate on activities as agreed with the Director of Standards and Assurance.



To be successful, candidates for the Senior Assurance Manager role will have the following attributes:

Skills & knowledge
University degree, or equivalent higher education qualification, in a relevant field
Excellent understanding of what constitutes credible and scalable assurance in the context of global commodity value chains.
Ability to assess seemingly conflicting requirements and design well-balanced resolutions. Meeting strict credibility and scale criteria
Demonstrated interest in sustainability and international development
Superior skills and aptitude to appraise arguments critically and logically, organise ideas in a clear and concise manner, and draw conclusions and formulate arguments in way that is effective, concise, precise and specific.
Excellent analytical and problem solving skills with a proactive approach to finding and proposing solutions to challenges
Fluent in English – ability to communicate clearly and concisely
Excellent organisation and capacity to handle a set of different priorities
Willingness to carry out administrative tasks
Excellent IT skills, including: Word; PowerPoint; Excel;
Academic background in rural/agricultural development and sustainability
Good understanding of knowledge management, learning and innovation
Understanding of the training-of-trainers process, monitoring & evaluation or standards systems
Competency in languages most relevant to BCI countries, such as Mandarin, Portuguese, French, Hindi, Urdu, and Turkish



At least 7 years’ working experience with at least 5 in a relevant field
Experience of project management in an international context
Significant experience with standards systems and assurance, auditing or certification
Experience working as part of a multi-cultural team
Experience in a multi-stakeholder initiative or supporting multi-stakeholder dialogue and consultation
Experience working in the agricultural commodity sectors
Experience in a member organisation or not-for profit organisation
Experience managing external consultants


Working Arrangements

The position is full-time (40 hours per week) and will be based in the BCI Secretariat in London. BCI offers flexible working, with core hours being 10am – 4pm and the possibility of working from home.

The Senior Assurance Manager is expected to attend special events, some of which may occur in the evenings or weekends. Extensive travel will be required (15-30%) including travel to remote cotton-growing areas in Asia and Africa.



Interested applicants with the required attributes are asked to send a detailed CV (3 pages maximum) and a motivational letter (2 pages maximum), in English, by email to: recruitment@bettercotton.org with subject: “Senior Assurance Manager”.

We thank all applicants for their interest; however only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

BCI is currently unable to provide sponsorship for work permits, and candidates need to have a pre-existing right to work in the location where they will be based.

BCI is an equal opportunities employer, and is committed to good practice and transparency in the management of natural, human and financial resources.