Director of AWS Assurance Provider

Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS)

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LOCATION: This position is expected to be largely home based and is therefore open to applicants in all locations. 

SALARY: Competitive depending on experience. 

STARTING DATE: As soon as possible. 

CLOSING DATE FOR VACANCY: 10th January 2021 


AWS is a global membership-based collaboration that connects organisations dedicated to promoting responsible use of freshwater. Our members include businesses, NGOs and public sector organisations. Members contribute to the sustainability of local water-resources through adoption and promotion of a universal framework for the sustainable use of water – the International Water Stewardship Standard, or AWS Standard – that drives, recognises and rewards good water stewardship. 

The AWS Standard provides a globally applicable framework for major water users to understand their water use and impacts, and to work collaboratively and transparently for sustainable water management within a catchment context. The AWS Standard system includes third party certification and a network of accredited professional service providers to support and assess the implementation of the Standard. 

The AWS Standard System is overseen by a multi-stakeholder governance structure and fuelled by information from members, partners and a growing number of local water stewardship networks, coordinated by our regional partners and representatives. Knowledge and learning are fundamental to both our ambitions for growth and the integrity of the AWS System. By connecting organisations at the forefront of collaboration on water, AWS facilitates the exchange of knowledge to advance the uptake of water stewardship worldwide. 

Although still relatively young, AWS is a rapidly growing organisation. Our highly motivated team is dispersed across several countries. 

A recent board decision approved significant changes to our approach to assurance. As a result, we will be setting up a mission-driven subsidiary entity to be the sole conformity assessment body (assurance provider) for the AWS system. We are seeking a highly experienced professional to lead the establishment and transition to this new assurance model, and to head up the new entity going forward. This is a hugely important role in our plans for a scaled up and impactful AWS System, and a rare opportunity for a highly motivated individual to lead a genuinely transformative initiative. 


As Director of the new AWS assurance provider you will have overall responsibility for building the next generation of AWS assurance through a news subsidiary entity, ensuring that: 

AWS assurance processes under the new entity are fully aligned to the mission and priorities of the AWS System. 

The credibility and integrity of the AWS certification system are beyond reproach, with robust and transparent processes, sound risk management and ongoing capacity development underpinning the approach to assurance. 

The new AWS assurance provider aligns its processes with ISO17065. 

AWS certification processes are upgraded to focus on credibility, consistency and user experiences, with reduced complexity, suitable IT infrastructure and greater user involvement and value. 

AWS certification processes are aligned with and support our monitoring and evaluation program, with learning being embedded more robustly in the AWS System. 

Productive and mutually beneficial relationships with partners and service providers are maintained. 

A robust business model for AWS assurance is implemented that balances cost and accessibility of certification with financial viability of the organization – always guided by the AWS mission. 

The AWS assurance provider complies with all relevant legislation and regulation as a legal entity registered in Scotland. 


You’re a seasoned assurance professional 

– You have extensive leadership experience in assurance with in-depth understanding of best practice and latest thinking in certification, accreditation and auditing. 

You have high levels of proficiency in information and data management. 

You have experience in oversight of all stages of conformity assessment. 

You will lead the development of AWS’s new assurance model based on a single, Mission-driven assurance provider. 

You will develop systems, processes and management tools to ensure this new approach can be effectively implemented as quickly as possible and meets exacting credibility expectations. 

You’re an innovator and an entrepreneur 

You have experience in translating sound plans into a successful business 

You have a track record of combining rigour and innovation to enhance effectiveness of assurance processes. 

You will lead on the establishment of a new subsidiary business, to be the sole assurance provider for the AWS System. 

You will take this business from inception to a thriving, productive and deeply respected organization, underpinned with appropriate culture and philosophy. 

You will ensure excellence in delivery of all components of the AWS Assurance Program, developing and utilising innovative approaches and technology as appropriate. 

You’re a collaborator 

You are naturally collaborative and comfortable working across multiple time zones with diverse stakeholders. 

– You have excellent skills in diplomacy and negotiation. 

You will develop relationships with diverse actors who have an interest and influence on the AWS Assurance Program, ranging from auditing partners to local AWS representatives. 

You will liaise with and respond to requirements coming from the oversight body of the new AWS assurance provider. 

You’re passionate about global sustainability issues 

You have an enthusiasm for social and environmental issues that is demonstrated through knowledge and experience, ideally with a substantial knowledge of water issues. You have a desire to see positive social and environmental impacts from committed enterprises and understand and relate to different cultures and their developmental challenges. 

You will inject this passion into your work and contribute to the promoting a culture of learning, sharing and support in AWS. 


Leadership experience in assurance, certification and/or accreditation in the context of voluntary standard systems or similar (e.g. program manager role with a conformity assessment body. 

Experience in developing a successful business in a relevant field. 

– Qualifications as an auditor or similar relevant professional qualifications. 

High level of competency in planning, process development, budgeting and resourcing that will be necessary for the new assurance provider. 

Ability to effectively define and implement suitable governance arrangements for the planned new AWS assurance provider. 

Solid understanding of approaches to resilience, sustainability and natural resource or environmental management. 

Ability to communicate effectively with external and internal stakeholders. 

Excellent administrative capabilities with a high level of attention to detail. 

– Fluency in written and spoken English. 

– The ability to travel internationally as required for the role. 


If you think you might be right for this job, and this job might be right for you, please send an email marked “VACANCY: ASSURANCE PROVIDER DIRECTOR” to [email protected] Your email should include the following attachments: 

A covering letter explaining why you are interested in the position and demonstrating how you meet the person specification. 

– Your current CV with email addresses and telephone numbers of two referees. 

An indication of when you would be available to take on the role, if selected. 


Closing date for applications is 10th January 2021. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Unfortunately, we cannot provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates.