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Design South East – About Us

About us

We help people make great places.

We are an independent charitable organisation working entirely in the public interest across the wider south east, often in places facing intense pressure for growth. The majority of our work is funded through fee income on a project-by-project basis. Our Annual Returns and Audited Accounts are published on the Companies House and Charity Commission websites.

Design South East is led by our Director Chris Lamb, supported by a Board of Trustees and a small staff team working with a wide network of expert panel members, associates and contributors.

Our team

Our staff team manage the organisation and the delivery of our services.

Our expert network

Our network includes over 180 built environment experts; all leading practitioners from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, masterplanning, heritage, engineering, sustainability, transport and movement, community engagement and planning. They contribute their expertise across our full range of services; including design review, the delivery of major workshops and training sessions. Our panels are multi-disciplinary and diverse, and we are committed to making all of them gender-balanced and diverse.


Panel Chairs

Panel Members:





















Our trustees

Our Board of Trustees are responsible for the overall governance of the charity. They ensure that Design South East is carrying out its charitable role and help to shape the charity’s future.

Board of Trustees

We are governed by a voluntary Board of Trustees drawn from the public and private sector:

Our clients

We work with local authorities, the development sector and communities.

We deliver either in our client’s base or on site. To maintain quality, we limit our range to roughly two hours from central London; a geography that extends from Norfolk down to the Sussex coast and that stretches from the east coast of Kent across to Oxford and Southampton.

The list below shows which local authorities we have worked with over past 12 months.

Join us


We will recruit for specific jobs, but we always want to hear from you if you are interested in joining us. Design Advisors deliver core services; managing design review panels, workshops and charettes, design surgeries and training events and are appointed at different career levels. Core to the success of our business is our operations team, enabling excellent service delivery through the management of training, communications, finance, events and IT.

Current Vacancies

Programme Manager

An exciting new opportunity has arisen for an enthusiastic individual to join our team, to manage and deliver our programmes for local authority clients and their stakeholders, improving their capacity to shape the future of their places. 

This is an exciting moment to join our organisation as local authorities navigate the challenges of delivering affordable housing and addressing climate change. We are seeking an experienced built environment professional who can help deliver that programme through a combination of training, design advice and the planning and facilitation of workshops and charettes. You will be involved with every scale of development and with all stages of the planning processYou will be working at the interface between public and private sectors and helping us improve the quality of the built environment through the practical application of evidence, knowledge, and best practice.  

Roles and responsibilities  

  • Curating and project managing our learning programmes that build skills and capacity, 
  • Facilitating and delivering learning events to enable practical application 
  • Facilitating stakeholder workshops and co-design charettes to support democratic planning processes,  
  • Managing key client relationships,  
  • Project and team management, 
  • Managing learning programme budgets and contracts,  
  • Measuring and monitoring impact to ensure delivery of maximum value and delivering annual reviews to clients, 
  • Producing take away notes and learning session outputs to disseminate knowledge,  
  • Planning and managing design review panels, 
  • Writing and editing high-quality reports for a variety of audiences, 
  • Supporting senior colleagues to identify and approach new clients.  

Key requirements  

You will be passionate about design and will be driven to work in the public interest to make a real impact on the quality of the places people live and work.     

Personal attributes 

  • A keen interest in current industry best practice and thought leadership,
  • A passion for knowledge sharing and teaching,  
  • Highly motivated and a self-starter, with a willingness to take ownership, 
  • Confidence working with a range of stakeholders, 
  • Readiness to solve problems and identify appropriate solutions, 
  • Excellent communication skills, 
  • Sensitivity to complex political environments. 

Qualifications and experience

  • A built environment professional, working in planning, design or policy, 
  • A qualification in a discipline such as urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, conservation or planning, 
  • You will have at least 3 years’ professional experience, 
  • You will have a good knowledge of key issues relating to planning legislation and policy and the operation of local government.  
  • Experience of delivering learning and engagement workshops, 
  • Strong organisational skills, attention to detail and an ability to think strategically, from detail to big picture, 
  • Excellent writing skills, with the ability to synthesise complex information, 
  • Confidence in public speaking, leading events and delivering training and presentations, 
  • You will have some experience of client relationship management, 

How to apply 

Please download full job specification here

Send the following to Kate:  

  • a covering letter explaining why you are perfect for this role,  
  • an up-to-date CV (max 2 pages of A4).  

The deadline for applications is 12.00 noon Tuesday 1st June 2021

Interviews will take place in the week commencing Monday 7th June 2021. 

A written communication exercise will form part of the interview.  

If, having read this pack, you require an informal conversation about the role please email Chris, Director at DSE –

Contact us to find out about possible future opportunities for:


We also strive to engage a range of freelance panel members who can oversee design review meetings and produce reports. Drawn from a wide variety of specialisms, their contribution is particularly valuable in that it brings new energy and perspective to the process.

Expert Panel Members

Becoming a member of an expert panel offers an opportunity to contribute your expertise to the delivery of our full range of services; from design review to the delivery of major workshops to our training sessions. Our expert panels are gendered balanced and contain a broad range of specialisms. Panel members help to deliver design excellence across a range of unique and progressive projects.

Find our latest opportunities by signing up to our newsletter or following us on Twitter. For more information please contact us below:

T: 01634401166

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