Reporting to:

Chief Design Officer


circa £40,000 + benefits

Contract type:


Last updated:

March 2019

About Design Council

Design Council’s purpose is to make life better by design.

We are an independent charity and the government’s advisor on design. Our vision is a world where the role and value of design is recognised as a fundamental creator of value, enabling happier, healthier and safer lives for all. Through the power of design, we make better places, better products, better processes and better performance.

How does this role fit in with the bigger picture?

This role sits at the heart of how we make life better by design: by supporting the organisation to manage how it finds and secures great partnerships and opportunities to demonstrate the value of design; and then deliver this work in a really impactful way so that we can inspire others to commission it, share best practice and influence government to design policies which promote it.

This role is key in making this happen by first designing and then implementing proactive business development systems which use data to learn and improve, and agile resourcing and project management systems so we can maximise the skills and talent within the organisation and across our 500 design associates and built environment experts.

This role will work across the Design Council business units (Architecture & Built Environment, Growth & Innovation and Policy & Communications) working with the Head of Cities Programmes, Head of Programmes as well as the Head of Marketing.  The role will adapt existing and establish new business operations systems to deliver streamlined, agile and nimble ways of working across the teams, for both business development and programme delivery.

What does the Operations Manager do?


  • Support both business development and business plan delivery (which includes grant-funded and client-based programmes), to develop and implement systems and processes that keep the business running smoothly in order to meet our charitable mission
  • As we continue to integrate our work across business units, ensure delivery of ‘joined-up’ working practices and managing workflow between programmes and projects across departments,
  • Putting systems in place which allow us to build inter-departmental project teams both in the initial set-up of proposals and monitoring and responding during project delivery
  • Support Directors to develop quarterly reporting to Director and Trustee meetings to ensure that Directors are kept informed on resource issues
  • Promote a strong client focus within the service and the organisation as a whole, liaising with external stakeholders in a professional manner and making sure customer service is key.
  • Supervise admin and support staff, allocating and outlining tasks according to priority and duration

Securing impactful work: business development processes

  • Oversee new business development monitoring, ensuring we are streamlined across the organisation in our meetings, proposals and follow up
  • Ensure our business development pipeline (including bids, tenders and feedback) is up to date for Directors and SMT use at weekly Business Development meetings
  • Develop and oversee a tender register/ framework for the organisation ensuring we capture team specialisms and integrated offers are captured and addresses through identification of resources to respond to tenders.
  • Scan relevant business unit publications and monitor incoming approaches for business opportunities
  • Working with our existing project evaluation and project initiation framework, further enhance and develop a process for systemising tender and project initialisation.
  • Collect data to understand successes and failures so we continuously improve

Delivering impactful work: programme resource management

  • Set up (using Dynamics 365) a project and programme resource management tool/ platform to monitor staff resources, billable and non-billable time and development time management across the three business units, and for grant-funded and client work.
  • Support teams to be effective in the resource management of our network including our 450 Built Environment Experts and Design Associates
  • Manage the production and generation of all PO, invoices, expenses generated by ABE, GI and P & C
  • Ensuring signed contracts and Purchase Orders are in place, raising PO’s for amounts over £1000 with SUN systems accounting software
  • Ensuring sales invoice requests are issued and overseeing invoice logs, ensuring reminders are sent for outstanding invoices
  • Meeting regularly with finance to ensure smooth running of the financial systems

Delivering impactful work: Assuring the quality of our work

  • With the business units, develop agile and reflective project management approaches to support project teams to reflect on their work, ensure it is meeting grant/client outcomes, and continuously improve.
  • Ensure that all the business units are collecting and capturing evaluation and data to support client feedback, enhance our insight and expertise, provide statistics and stories for our Communications and research teams
  • Take the lead on and work with Directors to develop a set of quality assurance systems and surveys (include securing and gaining ISO 9001 - a set of customer and client related KPI’s for quality service delivery)
  • Ensure compliance with the Design Council operational policies and procedures, including financial and risk management; project management and evaluation processes; brand guide lines; data protection; equality, diversity and inclusiveness, health and safety policy.

Securing impactful work: stakeholder/partner management

  • Work with our existing Dynamics platform to roll out our systems across the business units to support interface on client details – capture key contacts and stakeholders/partners (CRM information), for use in business development.
  • Ensure that staff are empowered to gather the correct data in an accessible straightforward way
  • Develop and support systems to gather data / surveys from clients, Built Environment Experts and Design Associates and partners to support our comms, campaigns, evaluation and business trends.
  • Work across the teams to ensure we are capturing case studies in a streamlined way

Corporate Responsibilities

  • Demonstrate leadership in the identification and management of risks and financial control which face both the organisation and your specific area of responsibility
  • Ensure you comply with the Design Council operational policies and procedures including financial and risk management, project management and evaluation processes, brand guide lines and internal health and safety policy
  • To comply with management policy, including GDPR, information security and confidentiality.

Does this sound like you?

Skills and Qualifications

  • A degree qualification (or similar) and demonstrable Project Management skills and experience
  • Significant experience in successfully developing, planning managing and running large programmes of work
  • Experience in working and engaging with a wide range of internal stakeholders
  • Proven entrepreneurial and business development skills developed in a similar environment
  • Ability to lead on processes and projects
  • Excellent communication skills – verbal and writing

Knowledge and experience

  • Track record of success with agile project delivery
  • Experience of managing and delivering a range of complex bids and proposals.
  • Experience of setting up systems and processes to manage larger scale programmes to support complex client bodies, e.g. local authorities
  • Knowledge of MS office, including Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint
  • Experience of web-based software and processes
  • Knowledge of contract management


  • Resourceful and authentic approach to work
  • Excellent personal organisation and interpersonal co-ordination skills
  • Ability to work collaboratively - building creative consensus, and consulting and involving others
  • Ability to work under pressure and to meet demanding and conflicting deadlines
  • Ability to organise own workload, and to organise and oversee the work of others in an open and inclusive manner
  • The ability to remain calm, responsive and flexible in times of change
  • Confident in dealing with people from all levels
  • Tactful, discreet and diplomatic
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Good team player

Equality Diversity and Inclusion

The Design Council is committed to providing equal opportunities for all.  Applications are welcomed from all sections of the community.  Appointments are made on merit.

How to apply…

To apply, please email your CV and supporting statement to demonstrate your suitability for the role to

Closing date: 17 November 2019 at 23:59