This position is no longer available

Who are Design South East? 

We are an independent charity dedicated to improving the quality of design in the built environment. We have a small staff team of design professionals and project managers. We work in a highly mobile way building relationships with local authorities, facilitating advice services and learning events.We are the fastest-growing design advice organisation in the country, working with planning authorities, design professionals, landowners, developers and local communities. We are constantly evolving the ways we advise and support local authorities, developers and designers. We do not compete directly with consultancy firms as we provide a different type of advice; accessible, bite-size, often acting as a ‘client’s friend’ at the early stage of projects.  

We work with a network of 200 leading experts from various built environment disciplines who form our expert panel. They are a fascinating group often the top designers and thinkers in their fields. We harness their energy and goodwill and direct it to the knotty problems of growth and place-making that many communities are facing. Our work encompasses the full range of development projects from complex, high density mixed-use schemes, to new settlements, public buildings and single private houses.More information can be found here

Head of Programmes 

We are looking for a skilled, driven individual to join our senior management team and help to expand our reach and influence on places, projects and people throughout the wider South East. The purpose of the role is to lead on the development of our client services and oversee the client experience, ensuring that we increase our value to our clients and maximise our impact. You will manage projects and programmes and will be working alongside our staff team, promoting excellence and fostering innovation across the organisation as we develop solutions to help our clients deliver quality of place. 

Job specification; 

  • Act as an advisor, confidently working closely and collaboratively with our clients to understand their challenges and responding with tailored, innovative solutions 
  • Lead on the development of our services, promoting a culture of innovation across the organisation and focussing the energy of the team on excellence
  • Foster continuous improvement in our services, ensuring that they continue to deliver value  
  • Lead the team on the development of new services as we move into a period of change in the economy, legislation, policy and practice
  • Lead on knowledge management, ensuring that we capture and communicate the knowledge we gain 
  • Ensure that we measure, record and communicate our impact on places, projects and people  
  • Lead on the messaging and communication of our services  
  • Lead on the expansion of our client base and secure contracts, through a structured development of the market and tendering
  • Secure opportunities, speak at stakeholder events and present to existing and prospective client organisations 
  • Lead on the development of our relationships with a number of our existing clients, helping to maximise our value to them 
  • Coach and lead our team of design advisors 
  • Foster a culture of innovation and work alongside our team of design advisors to help deepen their relationships with clients, to refine and shape service solutions and to maximise our value 
  • Promote a culture of excellence, be accountable for the outputs of the team of design advisors and monitor the quality of our outputs
  • Manage organisational development and change programmes  
  • Provide consultancy and deliver services (direct fee-earning work will account for 40% or your time)  
  • Contribute to the management and direction of the organisation as a member of the senior management team 
  • Attend and contribute to team meetings 
  • Keep records of your activities in accordance with our systems 
  • Any other reasonable duties required by your manager 

Person Specification; 


  • Educated to at least degree level in a built environment design discipline or in planning with a post graduate design qualification 


  • At least 3 years of experience of working in the public or private sectors with evidence of team management and people development (essential) 
  • Direct experience of managing and/or delivering design panels and design review sessions (desirable) 
  • Experience of delivering design advice and consultancy (essential) 
  • Experience of developing complex proposals and tenders with compelling, detailed service specifications


  • Demonstrable understanding of local authorities, particularly planning authorities 
  • Understanding of the existing English Planning System and the proposed changes to it 


  • Proven problem solving and idea generation skills 
  • Proven ability to develop service solutions that respond to client needs and deliver value and impact 
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills written and verbal across all media 
  • Confident about speaking to and presenting to stakeholder groups 
  • Proven ability to pro-actively approach, win and retain clients 
  • Strong project management skills 
  • Strong leadership skills and a proven ability to motivate teams and coach  

Reporting to 

You will be managed by our Director, Chris Lamb and will work closely with senior management and the wider team 

How to apply 

Please email a CV (no more than 4 pages of A4) and a supporting statement (no more than 1 page of A4) clearly demonstrating your suitability for the role

Deadline for applications: Monday 19th October at noon 

Interview dates: Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd October
(If you cannot make this date, please let us know in your application).

If, having read this pack, you require an informal conversation about the role with our Director, Chris Lamb please email Kate and request a call back from Chris.

Equal Opportunities 

DSE is committed to equal opportunities, and we value the diversity of perspectives that people from different backgrounds bring to our work. We positively encourage applications from eligible candidates regardless of age, disability, gender identification, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief or sexual orientation 


DSE is a very busy organisation and we cannot guarantee to give individual feedback on all unsuccessful applications.