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Commercial Manager in Leeds, North of England, United Kingdom

Commercial Manager - Rail North Partnership

Reference: NOV20201023

Closing date: Midday 30th November 2020

Location: Flexible across the North of England, but with a requirement to regularly work from our office in Leeds.

Salary: £47,616 to £55,552

Employment Term: Permanent

Transport for the North is England’s first Sub-National Transport Body. We were formed to transform the transport system across the North of England, providing the infrastructure needed to drive economic growth.

As a partnership, we bring together the North’s nineteen local transport authorities and business leaders together with Network Rail, Highways England, and HS2 Ltd and working with Central Government. We enable the North to speak with one voice on the transport infrastructure investment needed to drive transformational growth and rebalance the UK economy.

We are based across the North, with offices in Manchester and Leeds and have colleagues working within local transport bodies across the North. We will not replace or replicate the work of existing local transport bodies. Our role is to add strategic value by ensuring that funding and strategy decisions about transport in the North are informed by local knowledge and requirements. This fits with the devolution agenda and we will draw powers down from central government rather than up from local government.

Our vision is of a thriving North of England, where modern transport connections drive economic growth and support an excellent quality of life.

Transport for the North is looking to recruit a Commercial Manager to work within its Rail North Partnership team on a permanent basis.

The Rail North Partnership is a partnership between the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for the North (TfN), working together to transform rail services across the north of England through joint management of the Northern Trains Limited (NTL) and TransPennine Express (TPE) rail services agreements.

The covid-19 outbreak has caused a fundamental shift in the relationships within the railway and with government and funders. The franchising system, which was with us for 20+ years, has now ended and we are working towards its replacement at the same time as we work with our operators to ensure their passengers and staff feel safe and supported during this difficult phase. Part of the requirements of this role will be in assisting firstly to ensure we continue to provide a clear, consistent, sustainable and recoverable position for as long as the situation remains; and thereafter build back through investment in services and support for investment in infrastructure to the railway for the future the north needs

With the continuous investment, this role will see the successful candidate taking responsibility for managing the real time interface and relationship with a specific rail services operator on behalf of passengers, the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for the North (TfN), so its essential to possess the ability to work collaboratively with the train operators as the delivery partner, so they operate the rail services contract (which were formerly known as franchises) in the interest of passengers and meet their contractual obligations as the industry manages and then recovers from the covid-19 outbreak
Key competencies for this role will see the ideal candidate being proactive in nature, a capable communicator and an enthusiastic team-member with an ability to prioritise tasks and manage own workloads to meet the demands of varying stakeholders.

What we’re looking for:

The successful candidate will generally lead the relationship with Northern Trains Limited and can be expected to be deployed flexibly as part of the wider Contract Management Team to meet emerging risks and business needs on such things as:

• Briefing the DfT and Ministers, and TfN and Members, on matters arising as well as contracted or programmed services delivery
• Supporting the Rail Service Procurement Programme
• Contractual negotiations and variations
• Commercial support to the wider Contract Management Team, Departmental and Rail Executive programmes e.g. capital investment schemes

In addition, the Commercial Manager will be accountable for the following key competencies within the role:

• Lead and manage commercial relationships with Board level members of the Train Operating Company (TOC), including the negotiation of variations to contractual obligations, ensuring outcomes are consistent with affordability constraints, represent value for money and are in the taxpayers and passengers interests.

• Ensure contractual obligations are delivered including service agreement payments. The relationship needs to be managed in such a way as to maximise revenue and passenger benefits while minimising risk to the taxpayer and thereby protect the long-term value of the business.

• Advising the Rail North Partnership Board, Ministers, DfT Board members and Rail Executive Directors on matters relating to the commercial relationship/contractual delivery including supporting the Ministerial team in its parliamentary business. Rail operators and their contracts come under significant levels of parliamentary and public scrutiny.

• Minimise risk to the taxpayers and minimise contractual claims against the DfT.

• Protect and promote the long-term value of the franchise by ensuring continued operation within appropriate liquidity levels, closely managing and mitigating against the risk of default.

• Validate payments and receipts.

• Effective use of management information to challenge the operator on operational, project and financial performance, highlighting key trends and issues using data, allocating resources effectively and putting in place improvement plans when necessary.

• Actively assisting the senior leadership team with the management and development of the team and contributing to the wider management of the Rail North Partnership.

• Providing robust financial and resource management and seeking to deliver efficiencies and secure cost saving opportunities.

• Working collaboratively with finance colleagues to provide robust cash flow forecasts and end of year risk adjusted outturn cost estimates.

• Using your commercial knowledge and experience of the relevant operators and market to feed into and develop the future specification for the next rail services contract procurements.

A quality competency we are looking for from the appointed candidate is demonstrable credibility, complemented by sound understanding of Rail Service contracts such as rail franchises.

To demonstrate the competence and essential role specifications, the ideal candidate must be degree qualified, or have gained equivalent experience in the related subjects, together with proven knowledge of the transport industry with specialist knowledge in rail franchise service area.

Provisional Interview Date: 03 December 2020

Provisional Interview Location: Microsoft Teams

At TfN, we welcome and encourage applications from everyone regardless of age, disability, gender, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. We are particularly keen to encourage applications from women, members of ethnic minority groups and people with disabilities who are currently under-represented.

As part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion, all applications will be considered on their merit.

Transport for the North is an accredited Living Wage Employer. This means that every member of staff working for Transport for the North, earns a real Living Wage.

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