Head of Design

Defra Group Property
Science Centre for Animal Health, Weybridge
£59,341 - £72,439
Closing date
5 Feb 2023

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Job position
Head of
Contract Type
Full Time
Job Function
Architect, Facilities Manager, BIM
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Head of Design

Salary: £59,341 - £72,439

National: £59,341 - £67,055, London: £64,114 - £72,439. For details of our pay on appointment policy, please see below under the heading ‘Salary’. A specialist pay allowance of up to £6,000 per annum may be available to exceptional candidates who are able to evidence at interview against predetermined criteria.

Job grade: Grade 6

Location: Science Centre for Animal Health, Weybridge, New Haw, Surrey, KT15 3NB, occasional national travel may be required. Weybridge to be main site with on-site attendance required minimum 2-3 days a week

Closing date: 11:55 pm on Sunday 5 February 2023.

Job summary

Defra Group Property (DgP) is part of Defra Group Corporate Services and leads significant transformational change across the corporate estate. DgP has been rated the best out of all government property functions in the 2021 Annual Functions Quality Survey run by Cabinet Office. There’s never been a more exciting time to join DgP.

The below areas are led by Deputy Directors reporting to the Group Director of Property and working together as a Senior Leadership Team.

Property Strategy – strategic planning for property including capacity planning, workspace design and estates management services. Leads on the allocation of the Capital Estates budget.

Property Programmes – leads and manages the delivery of all DgP programmes and projects including strategic relocations, refurbishments, infrastructure replacements and upgrades to ensure our properties are safe and compliant and other programmes including Smarter Ways of Working, welfare, depot strategy and sustainability projects.

Facilities Management - manages the delivery of compliant properties and delivers services to end users. Works with a wide range of delivery partners to achieve this.

Science Estate – this team principally manages the Weybridge Science estate which is home to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the administrative centre for the APHA Regional Laboratories.

This is an exciting opportunity to be part of the development of a world class Science Estate facility delivering infrastructure critical to animal health and farming in the UK at the heart of Defra’s agenda. The Critical Works Programme is a major investment to maintain and extend the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) science laboratories at Weybridge. The site has a wide range of specialist and complex scientific facilities and laboratories and is one of only 30 such sites across the world. The Weybridge site is the largest facility in terms of size and complexity across the Defra network.

The vision of the SCAH (Science Capability in Animal Health) Programme is to bring all facilities, laboratories and associated functions together into new and fit for purpose facilities, and to restore an ordered layout and infrastructure framework to the Weybridge science estate. This is a 10 year, £1bn+ Programme in Weybridge which will oversee the re-development of this large site and is critical to the success of APHA’s science programme. The new build will take place on a live operational site which gives the added complication of a complex construction process alongside the need to keep the science capability fully operational, which is where DgP Critical Works and DgP Operations are focused.

The role of DgP Critical Works is to work closely with DgP Operations and SCAH programme. The aim of Critical Works is to deliver a portfolio of capital investment to maintain scientific capability and extend the life of research facilities to allow APHA to undertake a statutory role for the Government for disease identification and management​. This is a large programme circa £50m a year which has been underway some years. There is a need to continue to build a professional, highly skilled and dedicated team. Our values are under pinned by sharing knowledge; learning; working in partnership with colleagues and commercial partners and embracing new technology. We want our workforce to be diverse, talented, engaged and inspired towards our common purpose.

If you share our vision, are excited by the prospect of the challenges and opportunities it will bring and want to make your mark in building the UK’s scientific capability, we want to hear from you. Join us, and together we will create a great place for living, and a green and healthy future for all.

Defra group’s mission is to protect and enhance the environment – with policies and actions that are also key to sustainable national growth. Defra group is responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Our broad remit means we play a major role in people's day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink.

The Role

The purpose of this role is to lead Design quality assurance whilst ensuring performance requirements are met across DgP (Defra group Property), Critical works, Operations and SCAH programmes. The post Holder will be a member of the intelligent client function, working within DgP (Defra group Property) reporting to the Deputy Director of Critical Works.

The post holder will Chair the Technical review panel and act as a senior stakeholder across various business areas, applying design standards, bio-safety, delivery and commissioning quality assurance to ensure that all proposed and operational design and engineering requirements of buildings, plant, utility and infrastructure are designed and delivered to appropriate standards, ensuring compliance with all applicable regulatory and safety regulations. To enable this the post holder will be responsible for Technical Design and Performance Standards.

They will manage a team of specialists namely consultants. They will be responsible for leading technical design assurance to ensure that Capital projects are delivered to meet the needs of the business and are aligned with industry best practice. The value of capital projects investment to be design assured will ramp up from circa £50m/annum to >£100m/annum.

The function provides assurance to DgP, APHA, HSE, licence authorities and the programme board that engineering works are designed to appropriate performance standards, installed and commissioned in a safe and secure manner, that engineering solutions support environmental sustainability, and that all works are carried out to meet regulatory and compliance standards.


  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A Civil Service pension

Blended Working

Defra operates a blended working policy subject to business need, giving people the flexibility to choose when and where they work and collaborate with others.

Individuals are expected to work from one of the office locations stated in the advert to connect with their colleagues, as required by their role and business team needs.  There is flexibility to split the working week, spending minimum of 40-60% in the workplace, unless exceptional circumstances apply and/or you are a contractual home worker.

Visa Sponsorship Statement

Please take note that Defra does not hold a UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) Skilled Worker License sponsor and are unable to sponsor any individuals for Skilled Worker Sponsorship.

Reasonable Adjustment

If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

Contact Government Recruitment Service via defrarecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.

Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.

Contact point for applicants: hello@twentysevenconsulting.co.uk

Recruitment team: defrarecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

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