Head of Office

Greater Birmingham and West Midlands - Brussels Office
  • Location
    Brussels, Belgium
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Posted
    Mar 15

Position description

The Greater Birmingham and West Midlands Brussels Office (GBWMBO) is recruiting a Head of Office to support the Brussels-based activities and European engagement of the City and its partners. Birmingham City Council has a highly successful track record in engaging in European policy, projects, funding programmes and networks. GBWMBO plays an instrumental role in the City’s strategic engagement aimed at enabling partners and stakeholders to understand, influence and maximise European policy and funding opportunities as well as progress ongoing engagement in key European partnerships and networks. The office represents a range of partner organisations from local government, higher education and business and has a long and established presence in Europe, with Birmingham being the first UK city to set up an office in Brussels back in 1986.

Reporting to: Head of European and International Affairs, Inclusive Growth Directorate, Birmingham City Council

Purpose of job:

The purpose of the role is to manage the Greater Birmingham and West Midlands Brussels Office (GBWMBO). GBWMBO is the city’s official representative office based in Brussels, established as a ‘not for profit’ legal entity under Belgian law. The Head of the Brussels Office will act as the principle point of contact for both domestic and European/International partners and stakeholders and support with the management, communication and implementation of the city’s European and international objectives.

Main duties and responsibilities:

  • Under the leadership and management of Birmingham City Council’s Head of European & International Affairs, contribute to the development and delivery of a new European and International Engagement Strategy. This will include:
    • Supporting the Head of Service with the development of a new strategy in consultation with the City Council’s strategy partners;
    • Participating in regular team meetings organised by Birmingham City Council and meetings with wider city partners and stakeholders.
  • To support the City Council and its strategic partners with the development of a Birmingham strategic ‘Alliance’ supporting engagement in both its existing networks and partnerships and supporting the development of wider global engagement, including:
    • Enhancing city-to -city cooperation and establishing new business, trade and investment links;
    • Promoting the research and innovation agenda, and in particular supporting the ambitions of the city’s universities;
    • Maintaining and building the city’s engagement in partnerships and networks.
  • To lead on, and provide, tailored strategic level EU policy, funding and profiling advice in the delivery of a portfolio of service level agreements (SLAs) with strategic partners from Greater Birmingham and the West Midlands:
    • Proactively build relationships with key contacts in the EU institutions and senior figures in Brussels on priority issues for strategic partners;
    • Pro-actively identify EU profiling and funding opportunities which align to the strategic objectives of the City Council and its partners;
    • Oversee the EU policy and legislative landscape and provide relevant intelligence to the Council and its partners;
    • Manage and monitor the day-to-day delivery of a portfolio of SLAs against agreed contractual parameters, taking steps to manage any issues emerging together with the Head of Service;
    • Identify key Brussels-based events and meetings relevant to the City Council and partners and represent our city stakeholders at these meetings, providing timely feedback and concise information;
    • Lead the planning, development and running of events and activities in Brussels on behalf of the City Council and its partners.
  • To manage and support conferences, events and meetings with cities, institutions, agencies or networks in Brussels:
    • Actively participate in meetings and activities involving various strategic networks such as Eurocities and UK Core Cities, as well as engaging with other regional offices and the EU institutions with a view to capturing and sharing information and facilitating partnership working.
  • Support the digital platform and communications for the office, including:
    • Supporting the development of an informal digital communications strategy for the office;
    • Maintaining the Brussels Office website and social media channels.
  • To be the primary ‘Point of Contact’ in Brussels for Birmingham, European and International partners;
  • To manage the day-to-day running of the GBWMBO (ASBL) as part of Birmingham City Council’s European & International Affairs department. This includes:
    • Administering incoming invoices from suppliers and preparing outgoing invoices for clients;
    • Preparing monthly salary payments and liaising with the social secretariat;
    • Managing the relationship with the landlord for the Brussels office;
    • Preparing quarterly VAT returns and annual tax returns and liaising with the external accountant;
    • Responsible for banking and payments and liaising with the bank;
    • Preparing, in cooperation with the accountant, the annual audit file and liaising with the auditors for annual audit;
    • Responsible for accounts payable and accounts receivable;
    • Responsible for occupational safety and health related to the personnel in the Brussels office;
    • Overseeing the budget and administration of the secretariat, including the legal running of the organisation;
    • Provide day-to-day supervision of specified student placement(s), with appropriate mentoring and advice.


  • Excellent comprehension of English (spoken and written);
  • Fluency in at least one other European language, preferably French and/or Flemish/Dutch;
  • Relevant academic degree;
  • Experience working in a politically run organisation;
  • Knowledge of European Union Institutions ways of working;
  • Excellent understanding of EU policy, funding and legislation relevant to cities;
  • Website management and social media competences;
  • Office management skills including awareness of accounting, payroll and legal requirements;
  • Solid managerial experience in an international office setting;
  • Computer literacy, particularly in Microsoft Office software and Windows based operating systems;
  • Experience in website management and social media competences;
  • Practical experience in office environments where flexibility and responsiveness to deadlines are critical.

Application instructions

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