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Chief Operating Officer Ripon Cathedral

Forward thinking, agile and with a multifaceted, clear vision for its future, Ripon Cathedral is seeking a Chief Operating Officer to bring energy and ambition in equal measure to its next strategic phase of growth.

  • Location: Ripon
  • Salary: £72,000 - £77,000
  • Closing date: 9 a.m. Friday 5th July

Ripon Cathedral, alongside Bradford and Wakefield, is one of three cathedrals within the Anglican Diocese of Leeds. With well over 100,000 visitors and worshippers a year, the Cathedral’s impact and reach stretches across diocesan boundaries, reaching out to all communities, backgrounds and faiths.


Who we are.

Ripon Cathedral has a history stretching back almost 14 centuries. Throughout this time, it has offered an unbroken tradition of witness to the Christian faith, both in the city of Ripon and across the region.

The original church building was built by St. Wilfrid and dedicated to St Peter in 672 AD. Remarkably, the crypt of Wilfrid’s magnificent stone basilica has survived to the present day as the oldest built fabric of all England’s cathedrals.

The collegiate minister became a cathedral with Dean and Chapter in 1836, with the creation of the Diocese of Ripon, the first new diocese in the Church of England after the Reformation. The Cathedral has always served its own parish and continues to do so following the implementation of the 2021 Cathedrals Measure. It also has its own wider benefice, containing a total of four parishes and eight centres of worship.

The Cathedral offers at least three acts of worship every day of the year: morning prayer, evening prayer or Evensong and the Eucharist. Daily, worship attracts over 50 people in a usual week. The Sunday Sung Eucharist is regularly attended by over 200 people and over 80 attend the BCP services on a usual Sunday, including Evensong. Services can often be swelled significantly on special cathedral and diocesan occasions.

About the role.

Reporting to the Dean, this post will operate within the context of the Cathedral: an active, regional church which has Christian worship and mission at its heart an empathy for Christian worship and culture is important to this role.

The Dean, with Chapter, has oversight of the entire mission, ministry and running of the Cathedral with the Chief Operating Officer reporting to them and contributing as a full member of the senior leadership team.

The senior leadership team itself comprises of:

  • The Dean (chair)
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Chief Finance Officer
  • Director of Development
  • Canon Precentor
  • Canon Pastor
  • Canon Chancellor

Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer are:

  • Director of Development
  • Chief Finance Officer
  • Governance Officer
  • Cathedral Administrator
  • Facilities Manager
  • Shop Manager

The purpose of the post is to enable the Cathedral to deliver its strategic vision, to ensure its governance and compliance procedures are robust, to help mitigate risk, to enable the Cathedral to achieve a higher public profile with greater visitor numbers and to take the necessary action for its income and finances to grow against its strategic vision.

Strategic Vision – Key Priorities

After its successful initial strategic phase from 2016-2021, The Chapter’s key strategic priorities for 2022 to 2027 are set out in Growing God’s Kingdom 2022.

Some Key Priorities

Over a period of 5 years (2022-2027) we have a range of overarching short and longer-term priorities to work towards. Our Kingdom priorities will:

  1. Provide opportunities for everyone to experience excellence in worship and to develop in faith.
  2. Encourage more people to participate in worship and engage in the life of the Cathedral.
  3. Safeguard all who have contact with the Cathedral, ensuring it is a safe place in which all may respond to God’s call to life in its fullness.
  4. Support the mission of the Bishop, including the provision of education for all.
  5. Create a cathedral precinct that is fit for purpose for current and future needs.
  6. Develop a visitor experience that allows everyone to enjoy the cathedral and discover something new about Christian faith and heritage.
  7. Continue to work in partnership across the city, diocese and region, collaborating with a wide range of organisations and sections of society.

Reduce the impact that our work has on God’s earth as we aspire to be carbon net zero by 2030.

Each area of mission has a committee to further its work, with most chaired by a Chapter member.

These are:

  1. Worship and Music
  2. Church Growth
  3. Education and All Age Learning
  4. Welcome, Pilgrimage and Heritage
  5. Buildings and Fabric
  6. Development
  7. Net Zero and Environment

The Chapter sets the terms of reference for each, appoints the Chair, agrees on the membership, and works with members to establish the priorities and the action plan which will in turn support the SLT of the Cathedral. The Chief Operating Officer and SLT of the cathedral are supported by these committees to deliver the mission areas and key priorities. More about the Cathedral’s strategy can be found here.

As with any organisation which sees over 100,000 visitors per year, the role of the Chief Operating Officer is multifaceted. this role offers the responsibility for the effective and efficient performance of all operational functions of the Cathedral, including:

  • Risk management
  • Safeguarding
  • Statutory compliance
  • People Management
  • Health and Safety
  • Governance
  • Fundraising
  • Commercial Activity
  • Marketing and Communication
  • Operations
  • Fabric and Property


The Role

The role of the Chief Operating Officer at Ripon Cathedral encompasses 4 broad areas:

Strategic Leadership: Working with the Dean, Chapter and other members of the SMT to realise the key priorities of the strategic vision. In particular, they will lead the business planning cycle and ensure the effective implementation of the Cathedral’s strategic goals and objectives. Supporting the Dean and chapter in leading the Cathedral in securing financial sustainability, achieving growth and optimising the efficient use of resources through effective short, medium and long-term planning.

The Chief Operating Officer will drive organisational change and develop new income streams from which the Cathedral will benefit. With the authority to use their own initiative to investigate, make decisions and take action within the broad management direction of the Cathedral, they will lead an enabled and engaged team, leading on the aligned strategy as they do so.

Governance and Administration: Working with the Safeguarding Representative and Safeguarding Administrator, as Safeguarding Coordinator they will continue to foster an environment where Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and will ensure compliance with current safeguarding legislation and national guidance. They will ensure the effective running and forward-planning of the Chapter, acting as secretary to the Chapter, and ensuring that its policies are effectively implemented.

The Chief Operating Officer will ensure communication at all levels within the Cathedral is open and transparent, continuing the collegiate, productive, and professional environment which currently exists.

Cathedral Operations and Management: The COO will be responsible for ensuring the Cathedral is fully compliant legally and in terms of Cathedral Regulations, interpreting and communicating changes of compliance to Chapter and Staff. They will oversee the planning and management of the key projects, and the implementation of programmes to achieve operational and strategic objectives. Ensuring the effective use and development of the Cathedral’s assets, the Chief Operating Officer – with the team – will identify and facilitate an increase in the Cathedral’s revenue streams, leading and driving the development and implementation of commercial strategy. They will ensure the successful delivery of a wide range of events, including those which generate revenue.

The Chief Operating Officer will be responsible for the upkeep of the fabric of the Cathedral and for the Cathedral’s multiple property portfolio and future developments. They will also be responsible for the maintenance of the Cathedral’s inventory. Responsible for Health and Safety and compliance of the same, they will ensure systems and processes are rigorous and constantly updated. The Chief Operating Officer will oversee the HR functions, supported by the Cathedral’s HR consultant, the Diocesan HR team, and provide HR advice when needed.

Who we are looking for.

As a natural leader of people, you will have consummate influencing and engagement skills, both within your organisation and with external stakeholders and partners. With a track record of strategic leadership with successful outcomes, you will have led an organisation of comparable size and complexity through successful strategic delivery and growth.

Values-led, you will promote a common vision and ownership of the Cathedral’s primary purpose, its values and strategic objectives with external partners and will imbue a culture of cultivating and nurturing relationships with multiple stakeholders.

With experience in leading a business support function at senior management level, you will have led excellent business practice and financial management. It is vital the new Chief Operating Officer has excellent governance knowledge, with previous experience in working collaboratively with Trustees (or Chapter) and executives to successfully lead a charity or similar organisation.

With a thorough and current knowledge of Safeguarding, including best practice, you will demonstrate an uncompromising standard of compliance and regulatory rigour in this regard. A proven track record of successfully leading significant change in a complex organisation, is beneficial; leading by example, you will foster a culture of continuous improvement, all of which will be supported by your own significant experience of planning and delivering complex projects. As a natural servant leader, you will lead staff with a balance of clarity, direction, authority, and humility.

It is desirable but not essential to be active in Cathedral worship.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

Jonah Graham jonah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 756654

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Rebekah Abbott

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Welcome from the Dean

Thank you for showing interest in the role of Chief Operating Officer at Ripon Cathedral.

This is a significant post being advertised at an encouraging and hopeful moment within the long history of this vibrant cathedral.

We have enjoyed remarkable development and growth over the last decade. As our first Chief Operating Officer sadly leaves us, due to family priorities, we are keen to sustain the strategic and operational development from which the cathedral and its mission are benefiting. We are looking to strengthen further the implementation of strategy, operations, governance and administration. We therefore look forward to welcoming a new outstanding Chief Operating Officer.

We have an appealing vision to serve the people and communities of this region by carrying on Christ’s mission of growing God’s kingdom. We simply call our vision strategy, Growing God’s Kingdom. Revised in 2022, this is bearing fruit by delivering encouraging progress in the key areas of mission.

Remarkably, this vision strategy delivered a welcome resilience with which to respond to the challenges of COVID-19 and has proved an effective springboard, enabling us to look forward to further development over the coming years. We also hope to see the Cathedral’s development project, Ripon Cathedral Renewed, deliver new facilities that will strengthen our ability to offer a 21st-century mission which enhances and transforms the life of the city and wider regional community.

Set within the Anglican Diocese of Leeds, Ripon Cathedral, with its sister cathedrals in Bradford and Wakefield, is a seat for the Bishop of Leeds and a mother church for this richly diverse region which includes West Yorkshire and a high proportion of North Yorkshire.

At home in our vast and beautiful rural hinterland, we are here for all, whether Christian or not, whether sharing a religious faith or not. Believing that Christ longs for the fullness of life for everyone, we strive to help make this a reality for all who become a part of Ripon Cathedral.

If you think that might be the job for you, I can assure you that Ripon is a wonderful small city in which to live and work.  It is set at the heart of one of the most beautiful regions of this country with the blessing of a delightful Cathedral building and strong community.

Dean John

About Ripon Cathedral

Ripon Cathedral, with those of Bradford and Wakefield, is one of three cathedrals within the Anglican Diocese of Leeds. It is thereby one of three seats, centres of teaching and mission, for the Bishop of Leeds. In serving the whole Diocese of Leeds, the Cathedral serves a population of approximately 2.5 million people across a vast region. This includes the majority of West Yorkshire and the western part of North Yorkshire. The Cathedral’s influence also stretches across diocesan boundaries, especially in North Yorkshire where it is regarded as the Cathedral serving North Yorkshire Council.

The Cathedral includes the crypt of St. Wilfrid’s original 7th-century Anglo-Saxon church, reflecting the long-standing mission in this place which continues to be offered in the 21st century. As it is a centre of Christian worship, prayer, witness, pilgrimage and culture, the Cathedral’s community seeks to be a growing, inclusive Christian church which furthers God’s Kingdom on earth by serving people of all faiths and none. The cathedral is a centre of considerable historic, architectural, and archaeological importance. It is governed by the Chapter, chaired by the Dean, who leads and presides over the whole life and mission of the cathedral.

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    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

    Jonah Graham jonah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 756654

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    Closing date: 9 a.m. Friday 5th July 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Friday 12th July 2024
    First Stage Interviews (Virtual): Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th July 2024
    Second Stage Interviews (In-Person): Friday 26th July 2024

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