Senior Administrative Assistant

Vacancy details

Based at: Avon Fire and Rescue Services Headquarters (Portishead)
Contract: Permanent
Hours: 25 hours per week (5 hours per day, Monday - Friday)
Salary: £19,554 - £21,166 FTE  (£13,212.16 - £14,301.35 pro-rata)
Closing date: Friday 27 September 2019

Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AF&RS) are recruiting for a Senior Administrative Assistant.  This role is predominantly based at our Headquarters in Portishead.  However, there is flexibility on occasions to work from Weston Super Mare Fire Station, due to the nature of this role.

If successful for this role, you will be proving secretarial and administrative support to the Switchboard team, as well as our Risk Reduction and Operations Response staff who are based at our Weston Super Mare office.

Responsibilities associated with this role include the management of diary commitments for the Risk Reduction and Operational Response Managers.
You will be responsible for administrative duties such as producing and maintaining tables, spreadsheets and basic graphs in support of projects and reports.  You will also be involved in undertaking research to obtain relevant information and performance data, providing basic statistical information.

Other administrative duties include coordinating visits to Stations and Community Safety centres, arranging meetings and booking venues and supporting the development and implementation of manual and computerised office filing systems.

There will also be an element of switchboard support attached to this role. This will include dealing with telephone queries and acting as a point of contact for arranging meetings and appointments.

The successful post holder will be required to have a flexible approach with their working hours (5 hours per day) in order to provide switchboard cover between the hours of 08:30 and 16:30, the days cover is not required the post holder can work within the span of hours of the Service’s flexible working hours policy

Our ideal candidate will have GCSEs in English and Maths at a level 4 (grade C) or equivalent.  They will have experience of using Microsoft packages including Microsoft Word.
Good organisation skills, including efficient prioritisation skills are vital for this role.  Clear and effective communication skills are an essential requirement for this role.

Full details in regards to this role, including the essential experience required for this role are outlined in the job description below. 

How to apply:

Please complete an application form or provide us with your CV and covering letter.  Please ensure that you provide evidence of how you have demonstrated our shortlisting criteria.  This is outlined in our job description.  This is a competitive process so we advise you to provide as much evidence as possible.

The job description and application is available below.  Completed applications must be submitted to Human Resources, Avon Fire & Rescue Service, Police & Fire Headquarters, PO Box 37, Valley Road, Portishead, Bristol BS20 8JJ. Alternatively, you can email your application to Please quote job reference number 1441 on any communications.

Job description







JOB TITLE: Senior Administrative Assistant

DIRECTORATE: Risk Reduction / Operations Response

UNIT: Admin Services                                                                      

POST NO: 1441

GRADE:  H 10


1.         JOB PURPOSE

To provide basic secretarial and all-round administrative support to the Headquarters Switchboard Team, together with Risk Reduction and Operations Response staff based at our Weston Super Mare office, to enable them to work efficiently and effectively to achieve Service objectives and deadlines.

2.         BACKGROUND


Avon Fire & Rescue (AFRS) serves the Unitary Authority areas of Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, with fire stations and office locations in each area.  It is a Combined Fire Authority, consisting of Members drawn from the above four authorities.  Our Headquarters is based at Temple Back, Bristol, with Area Offices in Bristol, Bath, Weston-super-Mare, Yate and Lansdown.  In total, there are twenty-three fire stations, serving an area of approximately 133,245 hectares with a population of around 1,055,000. There are more than 1000 employees, including over 900 uniformed staff.

You will work alone or within a small administrative team (2-4 employees), providing support to the Risk Reduction and Operations Response Directorates, primarily at Service Headquarters, Portishead, with some requirement to work at our Weston super Mare office.


Manage all diary commitments for the Risk Reduction and Operations Response Managers you support, ensuring key meetings are programmed, diary clashes are avoided and all necessary arrangements, including travel, paperwork etc, are provided in a timely and accurate manner. 

Provide a switchboard service, dealing with telephone calls and personal callers, together with answering routine enquiries and taking messages, etc., as appropriate.  Act as a point of contact to arrange meetings and appointments by viewing, amending and adding to Officers’ calendars.  

 Utilise software packages, including the full range of word processing facilities, to produce correspondence, reports, presentations and documents in order of priority and checked. Ensure all work is completed within any required deadlines; is stored, recorded and backed-up correctly; and complies with the corporate style/image and the use of plain English.

Produce and maintain tables, spreadsheets, basic graphics and other similar work in support of projects and reports.

Assist Risk Reduction and Operations Response Managers by undertaking basic research to obtain relevant information and performance data. Compile/collate data and provide basic statistical information and summaries for transmission to other Directorate staff, other Units or to external bodies/agencies as required.

 Coordinate visits to Stations/Community Safety Centres and from appliances within a designated Service area. (E.g. receive requests, checking availability of relevant staff and equipment, correspond with applicants to gain further information and confirm bookings).  Respond to enquiries and maintain statistics and records of visits in the appropriate calendars and databases.

Assist the Risk Reduction and Operations Response Managers by providing general administrative support in organising and monitoring projects and other initiatives within their functions.

 Arrange meetings including booking venues, equipment and refreshments, distributing prepared agendas and reports and ensuring all required attendees are notified and briefed as necessary.

 Receive and register incoming mail, link to any background file or papers and distribute to the member of staff concerned.  Ensure the despatch of outgoing mail, paying attention to any particular requirements (e.g. recorded delivery).

 Maintain and help with the development and implementation of manual and computerised office filing systems, including a bring-forward system, ensuring that all files contain relevant and accurate information. Create new files as and when necessary, and control the issue of new file references on behalf of the Office Managers, cross-referencing where appropriate.  

Maintain quality systems, ensuring correct circulation, display and filing of such internal documents as FireAlert board, SOPs, Health & Safety guidance/codes of practice, Operations and Risk Reduction memorandums etc.

Undertake note taking at meetings as required, both within the Service and for inter-agency groups. Produce agendas and a high standard of typed notes/minutes for approval and circulation. These meetings may be based at any of our sites within the Avon area.

Provide basic IT support and assistance to Officers within your locality, as required, to enable them to access relevant data and systems.

Undertake general support duties, including maintaining stationery stocks, reprographic duties and scanning, collating and binding documents, and sending faxes/e-mails.  Arrange reporting of faulty equipment/general repairs, etc.

Help ensure the security of the office and the confidential and personal information within it, including arrangements for locking the office when vacated and setting alarms, as necessary.

Undertake work for other specialist officers within Risk Reduction and Operations Response when required, ensuring it is carried out to a high standard and completed within required deadlines.

Develop and maintain an understanding of the work of Admin Services colleagues within the Team, in order to provide cover for absences and peaks in workload, working together as necessary to ensure continuity of service and to meet customer needs within set deadlines.


You must be aware of Health and Safety Regulations in relation to duties and tasks being undertaken and report any situations or incidents, which could be considered hazardous.  All employees have a responsibility for their own safety and must not endanger that of colleagues/visitors in the workplace or the public.

Ensure that, both in your dealings with other employees and with members of the public, you adhere to the principles and standards outlined in the Equality and Fairness Policy.  You are responsible for making your supervisor aware of literature, language or behaviour that offends against that policy and the dignity of personnel.

Ensure that you perform all duties in accordance with the principles and requirements of Data Protection and Freedom of Information legislation.

Carry out such other duties as may reasonably be required in relation to a post of this nature, without prejudice to the right to seek a re-evaluation of the post.

This Job Description contains only the main accountabilities relating to the post and does not describe in detail all the duties required to carry them out.



 Direct supervision will be received from the two Office Managers at the Directorate Headquarters, with regular contact available for advice and monthly visits for welfare, performance monitoring, etc. Specialist staff on site are available for advice and guidance on technical information or Service procedures.

You will primarily provide support to the Risk Reduction and Operations Response Managers who will allocate work and determine day to day priorities. You may also be required to carry out work for other Directorate Officers as necessary.

 You are required to action work in order of priority, as determined by the Risk Reduction and Operations Response Managers or their staff on site, or using a ‘date required by’ slip completed by authors.  Much of the work is subject to pre-determined, varying deadlines.  You are expected to use your own initiative to manage your own time and workload on a day to day basis, referring situations that cannot be resolved at local level to the Office Managers.




  • able to demonstrate a standard of written English and arithmetic equivalent to GCSE passes at Grade C or above, with sound general administrative experience 
  • computer literate with experience of using Microsoft packages
  • experience of maintaining computerised and manual record systems
  • experience of word-processing, preferably MS Word, with a typing speed of at least 35 wpm
  • experience of collecting, collating and presenting information and basic statistics in various formats
  • good organisational skills with the ability to manage diaries and facilitate meetings
  • able to communicate effectively at all levels, orally and in writing, with a good telephone manner
  • able to prioritise, work to deadlines and manage time effectively with minimal supervision
  • able to work under pressure, using own initiative, combined with an efficient, methodical approach to provide a flexible service


  • previous administrative experience
  • a basic working knowledge of MS PowerPoint (or similar presentation software)
  • previous experience of working effectively as an integrated member of a small team
  • previous experience of using a telephone switchboard
  • a current driving licence. 



 Although this post is currently based at a particular location, you may be required to work from a different workbase in the interest of the efficiency of the Service.  This may involve single day(s), short term secondments, or long term/ more permanent periods, for which appropriate allowances will be made available.

 You are required to wear clothing suitable to the type of work you are undertaking, which may include AF&RS branded, corporate clothing and protective clothing as deemed appropriate by your line manager.


For the use of Human Resources Unit only:

 Date approved:

 Date effective:

To be signed by postholder:




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