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Senior Programme Manager

The role sits in the Place & Infrastructure team within the wider Impact team. 

It is instrumental in developing the Design Council’s Place and Infrastructure programmes including the delivery of projects that help build evidence of the positive impact sustainable and regenerative design can make on tackling our climate and biodiversity crises. 

We're seeking a passionate individual who wants to accelerate place-based innovation by design and to influence others to see place- and infrastructure as fundamental to our societal transition to a sustainable and regenerative world for all.

Our projects generate insight, build knowledge and support the development of tools and frameworks enabling the design sector, commissioners, government and other stakeholders in understanding and utilising good design to accelerate our societal transition. 

In this role, you will be responsible for the development and programme management of a portfolio of place and infrastructure client projects – with housing delivery an area of particular focus –  working with Design Council Experts and managing client relationships to deliver exceptional project outcomes and in doing so, to support the Design Sector in taking a key role in tackling the climate crises. 

About the role

Business and Programme Development 

  • Supporting the Director of Impact, Head and Programme Leads in developing strategy and goals within the place and infrastructure area
  • Supporting the Place Innovation lead in the development of clear product propositions and programmes within the place and infrastructure sectors (housing delivery, retrofit, place-shaping, town centre regeneration, infrastructure delivery). 
  • Working with the Place Innovation Lead to define, scope, develop and convert large new business opportunities and projects. 
  • Scoping, developing and converting mid-sized new business opportunities aligned with portfolio objectives
  • Overseeing the business development and project work of the Programme Managers and Junior Programme Managers

Client and Programme management 

  • Successfully and efficiently managing projects to time and budget
  • Development and day-to-day management of high-quality client relationships across the project portfolio
  • Managing resources and relationships with key partners, clients and Design Council Experts to ensure exceptional standards of service and content development and delivery in this mission 
  • Ensuring projects are delivered to agreed contracts, meeting high quality standards, financial targets and deliverables on time
  • Line management responsibility for at least one Programme Manager in the Place & Infrastructure team
  • Supporting in the professional development of colleagues

Design Council representation 

  • Speaking and participating in panels and representing DC in significant design events, aligned with portfolio expertise
  • Providing insight, advice and support regarding sustainable and regenerative place-based design to internal and external audiences
  • Developing contacts and influence in relevant external networks extending beyond existing projects’ and clients’ focus to gather and promote insight and best practice and position Design Council

Programme and Project Management

  • An experienced programme manager with a proven track record of success in managing multiple complex projects with delivery on time and to budget.
  • Experience and expertise working in the place and infrastructure sector and a solid understanding of sustainability challenges and approaches within the sector. 
  • Confidence in effectively engaging with clients and managing client relationships.
  • Ability to build successful relationships with external stakeholder organisations including local authorities, government bodies and community organisations.
  • Experience of or exposure to developing community-led responses to planning, eg. through engaging in neighbourhood plans.
  • Proven business development experience including growing income from existing clients, plus winning work from new clients.
  • Confident and adaptable user of IT systems including project management tools.

Design thinking and skills 

  • Familiarity with applying systems thinking to complex problems, and understanding of how to incorporate it into client conversations.
  • Strong experience of overseeing a portfolio of programmes while extracting insights from them and continually improving them.
  • Ability to articulate and assess design quality in the context of programmes such as Design Coding and Design Reviews.
  • Examples of creating Thought Leadership and an ability to raise the profile of the organisation and its work.
  • Motivated and excited to evolve current design practice to prioritise climate-relevant approaches, specifically within place and infrastructure.
  • External influencing skills including writing thought pieces, public speaking, and building and leveraging networks for positive impact.

People management and skills 

  • Proven and demonstrable line management skills, with passion for developing people, mentoring and coaching.
  • Ability to work collaboratively, building creative consensus through a consultative approach and working across multiple stakeholders.
  • Understanding and appreciation of the importance and value of diversity, equity and inclusion in building a positive workplace culture.

Skills & Experience

  • Academic and professional qualifications, or associated discipline, or equivalent experience in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, environmental design, or planning
  • Professional experience of engaging with and operating across the built environment system in a variety of roles or contexts
  • Experience and skills across a selection of the following practices relevant to design, placemaking and the climate and biodiversity crises:
  • Housing delivery;
    • Retrofit and repurposing of existing assets
    • Town centre regeneration;
    • Sustainable planning and development; 
    • Landscape character appraisals and assessments; 
    • Environmental impact assessments; 
    • Developing green and blue infrastructure frameworks, and ecological assessments; 
    • Biodiversity net gain; 
    • Flooding and drainage assessments; 
    • Assessing embodied and operational carbon performance; 
    • Whole life cycle analysis
  • A project management qualification is an advantage.

Our values and behaviours

  • Boundless Curiosity. Dynamic scoping of new ideas and best working practices to create and demonstrate impact. 
  • Inspire Possibility. Brilliant team and project leadership so we clearly communicate the value and impact of design. 
  • Powerful Together. Role modelling how to get the best out of everyone so we all maximise our contribution to Design for Planet.

Corporate responsibilities

  • Proactively identify and manage risks and financial controls in relation to the Design Council and your specific area of responsibility.
  • Comply with the Design Council’s operational policies and procedures including financial and risk management, project management and evaluation processes, brand guidelines, GDPR, information security and internal health and safety policy.


Please submit your application by 9 July 2024.



Please email Ishbel Allotey, HR Manager if you have questions about the role.

The Design Council is fully committed to being a diverse and inclusive organisation.  We welcome applications from everyone who meets the criteria.  If you need any additional support, please do send in an early alert to our email address below.​


  • Salary: £45,000+
  • Reporting to: Place Innovation Lead
  • Contract: Permanent
  • Closing date: 19 July 2024