Design Director

FutureGovUk Wide25 days ago

FutureGov is a team of creative people with a broad mix of design skills who are passionate about supporting health and public sector organisations with digital transformation, service design and community development to radically improve outcomes for communities in the 21st century.

About the Role

 The Design Director leads a function and growing team of 30+ service designers, interaction designers, design researchers and content designers. In this role, you’ll provide design leadership and strategic design direction for FutureGov, owning the strategic direction and budget. You’ll work closely with Heads of Profession to ensure high-quality design work and with Business Leads to ensure there are appropriate progression and development opportunities, take an active role in sales and business development and support the promotion of our design work and approaches externally. Working alongside with other Practice Leads, you’ll work to understand the boundaries and overlaps between design and other practices, ensure designers are meeting client needs and to develop the future offer of the team.

The Design Director is accountable for the well-being, progression and capability development of everyone in our design function. You’ll work closely with a team of senior design leaders to ensure that the skills the team develop meet client and market needs, informing and creating our future proposition.   

We also rely on a trusted pool of associates and contractors to manage peaks in client demand, and/or provide specialist capabilities. You'll work with our People Team to maintain and further develop the pipeline of associates and contractors we use for design and research roles. 

The Design Director spends around 30% of their time on billable client work; advising clients on creating design-centric cultures, creating or scaling their own design capabilities and providing sponsorship or leadership for FutureGov delivery teams. 

Who you’ll be

You will be an experienced and inspiring design leader, with previous experience in running design functions. You’ll have experience in or demonstrable understanding across multiple design disciplines, as well as previous hands-on delivery experience. 

You’ll be a confident communicator, and happy to engage with public speaking, blogging and social media to help build the profile of our work and the design practice.  

You’ll have a keen interest in evidence-led design, as well as ethical and inclusive design approaches. You’ll enjoy working at pace and will be excited by the challenge of scaling the design team, bringing with them tested approaches for hiring and developing team members.

We’re a Living Wage Employer. We encourage applications from women, disabled, ethnic minority candidates and all underrepresented groups. Let us know in your application if you have accessibility requirements during the interview. If you’d like to understand more about this or anything relating to inclusion at FutureGov, contact Faith from the people team.


  • responsible for 30+ designers across service design, interaction design, design research, and content design practices
  • line management and support of Heads of Profession to ensure we develop our professional practices, drawing on extensive experience/skills as a design leaderline management and support of Lead Design Managers (responsible for day-to-day line management of team members) to ensure the wellbeing and development of the team
  • support Design Leads with their design leadership role on projects and with developing our practice through client work
  • collaborate with the People team to maintain and further develop a pipeline of trusted design and research contractors
  • oversee the hiring of new designers or researchers
  • provide coaching for design-led approaches across the organisation as required
  • act as a sponsor or coach on client projects
  • ensure knowledge management for design best practice, quality assurance and consistency
  • take a prominent role in sales and business development, shaping proposals and leading pitches
  • use client insights and market needs to shape future offers from the Design team, working with business and practice leads to ensure alignment with overall proposition
  • work with clients to build confidence in the potential of design and help them to shape transformation strategies with user-centered design at their heart
  • represent FutureGov in comms and engagement activities, working with design leaders in their team to do the same
  • collaborate with the Company Strategy Group to make business wide decisions

Essential Skills:

  • previous experience running a design function of 10+ people
  • experience of hiring and growing teams at pace
  • experience in or demonstrable understanding of service design, interaction design, content design and design research
  • previous hands-on design delivery experience
  • a track record of leading other designers and/or researchers to create quality, impactful and user-centred outcomes a track record of designing or supporting design of inclusive and accessible products and services, using ethical methodologies able to effectively communicate the value of design to different audiences
  • able to operate in a fast-paced environment, balancing internal business priorities with external delivery and work on client projects willing to travel in the UK

Desirable skills:

  • experience of working in an agency or consultancy, ideally with experience of designing and delivering research with government, health, or third sector organisations
  • a strong interest in how we can empower communities through design and research, and how design can support community organising and action experience working across discovery, alpha, beta and live project stages
  • central government experience, aligned to the GDS service standard

Why work at FutureGov?

  • the opportunity to achieve impact in the public sector through your work
  • flexible working to help you function at your best
  • generous parental leave
  • we’re collaborative, and will readily give our time to help your development and invest in your training
  • we’re a great team and regularly hang out together - whether that’s our Friday team breakfasts, summer retreats or interest groups to help everyone connect
  • everyone has a voice - inclusivity and respect are key to our culture
  • we help you make time for the things that matter through generous holiday allowance, pension schemes and paid volunteer days
  • drinks and snacks in our studio

Closing date: 21st May 2021

Salary: £100k-£110k

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