Ethics & Compliance Officer

  • Senior-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 2 July 2018

Job Description

Background Information - Job-specific

Ethics and Compliance Office

UNOPS is committed to fostering an organisational culture of ethics and a harmonious and inclusive work environment, anchored in the values of integrity, accountability, transparency, respect and professionalism. Equally, as part of the UNOPS drive to strengthen its corporate approach to Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) under the Principled Performance framework, UNOPS is committed to working towards a reliable achievement of its objectives, whilst addressing uncertainty and acting with integrity. The Ethics and Compliance Office is integral to this effort, and it has an overall mandate of assisting the Executive Office in ensuring that all personnel perform their functions consistently and with the highest standards of integrity. This includes:

  • Setting compliance management standards and enabling and growing corporate compliance behaviours and culture, built around the values of integrity, accountability, transparency, respect and professionalism
  • Partnering with GRC actors, including policy owners, in establishing compliance management approaches
  • Systemizing compliance practices and reporting mechanisms; analyzing and interpreting compliance trends and actively reporting back to the Executive Office with recommendations and areas for attention and improvements
  • Ensuring development of standards, training and education on ethics topics, in coordination with the relevant, separately administered organisational functions (e.g. Legal, Internal Audit, PCG, Regions) as well as the UN Ethics Panel, in order to ensure that there is an appropriate alignment with UN-wide standards and a uniform and consistent application of ethics-related matters across UNOPS
  • Providing guidance to management, to ensure that the UNOPS rules, policies, procedures and practices reinforce and promote the standards of integrity called for under the Charter of the United Nations
  • Driving efforts to continually raise personnel awareness and capability in relation to ethical standards and expected behaviours
  • Ensuring there are appropriate mechanisms in place to provide confidential advice on ethical issues to all personnel, protect personnel from retaliation for reporting misconduct as well as administering the financial disclosure programme
  • Providing an independent annual report to the Executive Board, availing of the impartial advice of the Audit Advisory Committee and consulting with the Staff Council on pertinent matters.
  • Holding an observer status at the senior management meetings of the Corporate Operations Group

Functional Responsibilities

Under the leadership of the Executive Office, the Ethics and Compliance Officer is the most senior post within the Ethics and Compliance Office.

The Ethics and Compliance Officer leads on the compliance management as per the dimensions outlined in the GRC approach and on all ethics activities. She/he works independently when it comes to the ethics activities and may seek guidance from the UN Ethics Panel on all technical ethics issues.

Summary of functions:

  1. Office Leadership and operational management
  2. Strategic advisory
  3. Growing the compliance and integrity mindset
  4. Representation and networking
  5. Knowledge management and innovation

1. Office Leadership and operational management

  • Develop the Ethics and Compliance Office strategy and frameworks as well as establish the annual work plan in collaboration with the team and stakeholders, set objectives, performance measurements, standards and results expected.
  • Monitor implementation of the Ethics and Compliance Office work plan, oversee progress and ensure the delivery of results as planned and according to expectation.
  • Evaluate the Office activities/initiatives, to ensure alignment with organisational strategic plans, relevant frameworks and standards
  • Ensure appropriate management and coordination of the financial declaration programme within UNOPS, independent of external providers
  • Drive the periodic review and update of UNOPS’ financial disclosure policy and procedures, harmonised with those in the UN system.
  • Plan and allocate resources to achieve goals and ensure the cost effective and appropriate use of resources in accordance with UNOPS standards of ethics, integrity and accountability framework.
  • Take overall responsibility for the performance and efficacy of the Ethics and Compliance Office and take decisions and/or recommend to the Executive Office appropriate changes in operations to enhance/maximise results.
  • Promote teamwork and collaboration by providing the team with clear direction, objectives and guidance to enable them to perform their duties responsibly, effectively and efficiently.
  • Plan, recruit and develop a flexible workforce with the skills and competencies needed to ensure optimum performance, and ensure gender and geographical diversity.
  • Foster a positive work environment, respectful of both men and women, and ensure that the highest standards of conduct are observed.

2. Strategic advisory

  • Act as an advisor to the Executive Office on ethics and compliance related matters for UNOPS
  • Provide an independent annual report to the Executive Board (Ethics)
  • Serve as a key adviser to the senior management, with respect to the compliance and ethical implications of the organisation’s major decisions, strategies and transactions.
  • Contribute to the formulation of UNOPS overall strategies and policies through advisory services and participation in senior management consultation on current and future business operations and strategy development and planning.
  • When relevant, participate as an observer at the Corporate Operations Group, to advise on preventing institutional conflicts of interest and mitigating reputational risks.

3. Growing the compliance and integrity mindset

  • Set compliance management standards across all functions in UNOPS, including Ethics Function.
  • Set and promote ethical standards for UNOPS, in accordance with the integrity called for under the Charter of the United Nations as well as the UNOPS values
  • Ensure development, implementation and continuous evolution of the strategy as well as impactful tactical initiatives for raising awareness of the UNOPS core values, ethical standards and expected professional conduct, both internally and externally
  • Ensure policy holders are proactively engaged, to achieve clarity around compliance management and integrity standards, to eliminate conflict of interest in the UNOPS policies and governance.
  • Ensure appropriate guidance is available on UN code of conduct (as outlined in the relevant staff regulations and rules, the Standards of Conduct for the International Civil Service, and applicable administrative issuance).
  • Ensure there are appropriate mechanisms for a coherent application of the compliance and ethics standards, driving the culture of integrity, accountability, transparency, respect and professionalism
  • Ensure there are relevant compliance and ethics training opportunities for all personnel (i.e. from onboarding, through induction to ongoing development)

4. Representation and networking

  • Establish effective relationships with the relevant regulatory bodies, to ensure a proper and timely interpretation of changes to the legislation affecting the UNOPS operations
  • Establish effective relationships with external organisations and other UN agencies, to enable an effective exchange of best practice and lessons learnt
  • Actively contribute towards raising awareness of UNOPS’ efforts and results in the area of ethics and compliance management: amongst our external current and future partners and clients
  • Represent UNOPS externally on matters relating to ethics and compliance management

5. Knowledge management and innovation

  • Contribute to the implementation of programs and activities that are part of UNOPS Knowledge Management strategy
  • Ensure appropriate tools and evaluation mechanisms are in place to provide regular feedback on the existing ethics and compliance management practices, to ensure their continual relevance to day-to-day operations, also in the light of external benchmarking and recent thought leadership in the subject of compliance management.
  • Enable the exchange of lessons learnt and best practice for proactive compliance management, between all functions within UNOPS
  • Drive development and implementation of best practice and innovative compliance management approaches, minimise risks and maximise reliable achievement of objectives, whilst addressing uncertainty and acting with integrity.
  • Drive the effort focused on building compliance management capacity and capability amongst the relevant stakeholders, ensuring operational practices follow a consistently high compliance standards within the established Principled Performance framework.
The effective and successful achievement of results by the Ethics and Compliance Officer directly impacts on the perceptions of UNOPS, by enhancing the trust in and building the overall credibility of UNOPS, both internally and externally. It also has a direct impact on the UNOPS ability to accurately identify non-compliance risks and issues in real time, effectively address compliance related risks and to continually improve its policies and compliance management practices.

Education/Experience/Language requirements
  • A Master’s degree in a relevant field such as Business Administration, Public Administration.
  • Minimum 10 years of international professional and progressive work experience in public and/or private institutions, encompassing ethics ( at least 7 years) and balance in compliance management, accountability & compliance frameworks, risk management, governance, and internal quality control.
  • Recognized relevant certification and knowledge of current industry best practices relating to compliance management would be an asset.
Language Requirements:
  • Fluency in English is required;
  • Proficiency in another UN official language, in particular French or Spanish would be an asset.

About the Organization

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

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