Head of Design Authority

House of Commons


Ref: GSe68467

The Houses of Parliament and the iconic Palace of Westminster are famous the world over. Transformed from royal residences and headquarters of many historic organisations to the home of a modern democracy, the Palace and the wider Parliamentary Estate have continually evolved, sometimes by design, sometimes through accident or attack.  The In-House Services & Estates (IHSE) team feel truly privileged to play a part both in conserving the historic estate and our shared cultural heritage, and in delivering a modern, safe, sustainable working environment for MPs, Peers and their staff, the 4,000-strong House Services, our service providers and our many thousands of visitors.   

The Design Authority plays a vital role in securing Parliament’s future by setting architectural and engineering strategies and design standards, and monitoring their implementation during projects and programmes delivering the works plan. It promotes the conservation of the historic estate and its sustainability targets, working alongside colleagues that provide specialist support services, including corporate real estate, physical and digital asset management, workspace planning, maintenance and project teams.

An exciting opportunity has arisen to join Parliament as Head of the Design Authority. The appointee will lead and manage the technical engineering and architecture teams responsible for a range of estate services, including conservation, heritage, engineering design and environmental sustainability. It is an exceptional opportunity to make a lasting positive impact on a national cultural treasure supported by a committed team of specialists.

Our ideal candidate is an inspiring, collaborative, and outcomes-focused leader who will approach the role and the environment with drive, open-mindedness and innovation.  A chartered, or equivalent, member or fellow of a recognised professional body, you will have substantial experience of designing and delivering building engineering or/and architectural services in a complex environment. A clear, credible, and engaging communicator, you will quickly win the confidence of your stakeholders, and will impress us with your capacity to lead and motivate a team of professional heads, ensuring that diversity, inclusion and good practise cascades through the team. An understanding of and familiarity with BIM and RIBA plan of work in addition to contract management experience, in particular the NEC suite, would be an advantage, as would understanding of public procurement regulations and practices. Experience of working on historic or listed buildings is not essential, but it is important that candidates are sympathetic to the complexities of a heritage environment.

This is a substantial role that will require you to draw on the full range of your leadership and technical credentials to deliver the best outcomes for Parliament.

If this sounds like the challenge for you, please contact Darra Power-Mooney on 07595 781 609, Anna Scaife on 0113 416 6772, or Sarah Cripps on 0113 416 6773.

Inclusion & Diversity

The House of Commons, where this post sits, has a full Diversity and Inclusion Strategy outlining our aims until 2021. Please refer to the full strategy here: https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/offices/commons/house-of-commons-commission/hoc-diversity-inclusion-strategy

Recruitment Timetable

Closing date
Midday 21 December 2020

Long listing
w/c 4 January

Preliminary interviews
w/c 11 January 2021

Short listing
w/c 21 January 2020

Final panel
w/c 25 January 2020

How to apply

To apply for this post, you will need to submit the following documentation via GatenbySanderson’s website by no later than 12 midday on Monday 21st December.   

  • A CV setting out your career history, with responsibilities and achievements (no longer than three A4 pages).
  • A statement of suitability (no longer than two A4 pages) setting out how your knowledge, skills, experience, and personal qualities meet the essential criteria as set out in the person specification above.
  • A completed Equality Opportunities Monitoring Form – this will appear onscreen when you submit your application. All monitoring data will be treated in the strictest confidence and will not affect your application in any way.

If applying under the Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS) please complete the form on GatenbySanderson’s website when you complete your application. Please see the GIS section of the Terms and Conditions for more information on the Scheme.

If you do not receive an acknowledgement of your application within 48 hours please email Beau Dickson at beau.dickson@gatenbysanderson.com.

If you have any questions about the role or would like to discuss the post further, please contact Darra Power-Mooney on 07595 781 609, Anna Scaife on 0113 416 6772, or Sarah Cripps on 0113 416 6773.


  1. GIS Scheme 2020.docx