Chief Operating Officer

Lewes, East Sussex.
c.£100,000 per annum

Southdown is a Sussex-based, not-for-profit organisation specialising in the provision of care, support and housing services that respond to the needs of local communities. We were established in 1972 by a group of volunteers who recognised the issues facing people with mental health issues recently resettled in Brighton and Hove from long-stay hospital institutions. They decided to work together to make a difference, ensuring that everyone had the right and opportunity to live well in the community. At Southdown, we are dedicated to supporting individuals with mental health challenges, learning disabilities, past or present homelessness, addiction issues, and sensory or physical disabilities. Now, supporting around 12,000 people a year, approximately 500 of whom are tenants, employing 750 staff, and with a turnover of c.£32m, we offer personalised support to help each person live their life to the fullest.


Our new COO will lead Southdown operational activities and oversee our registered social housing function ensuring Southdown delivers psychologically informed, high performing services which are compliant with regulatory requirements and ensure our reputation for excellence and quality.

The COO is a member of the C-Suite and requires the highest level of leadership with accountability for policy development, major decisions and assets alongside significant budgetary responsibility and risk.

The role directly supports Southdown’s value chain (service delivery model) by overseeing all operational areas with a relentless focus on delivering exceptional services for our clients and tenants. It has accountability for our registered Housing function.

The COO will have both an internal and external focus. It plays a critical role in leading and engaging colleagues in the plans and initiatives that support Southdown’s strategy ensuring
a tangible impact on business outcomes, driving growth, innovation, and organisational effectiveness. It drives service performance through a culture of disciplined execution and client and tenant centricity where colleagues are enabled to make meaningful decisions that benefit those we work to support, fostering an attitude of continuous improvement and creativity. It works closely with the CTXO to identify and develop service improvement initiatives and leads the implementation of these.

The COO will work closely with the CEO to map and mange stakeholder relationships and sector commitments so that there are clear points of contact and Southdown speaks with a united and informed voice in whichever forum it is represented. The COO will play a critical role in building transformational relationships in the sector to maintain Southdown’s reputation as the provider of choice.


Download the candidate brief to find out about the role. And to learn more about Southdown, please click the link below.

How to apply

To make an application, please click on the apply now button below, with the following prepared:

  • Your CV (no more than three sides).
  • A supporting statement (no more than two sides) that sets out why you think this role is the right move for you and how you meet the knowledge and experience criteria.

Closing date
Friday 26th July 2024

Preliminary interviews
w/c Monday 5th August 2024

Final Panel interviews
w/c Monday 19th August 2024