Established in 1986, CLES is the national organisation for local economies – developing progressive economies for people, planet and place. We work by thinking and doing.

In all our work we are led by a wedge of ideas and policy, that we then seek to action and put into practice. Clearly, it is a challenging time, with huge economic, social, democratic and environmental change. However, there is also a new appetite to consider economic alternatives and to advance innovations in citizen focused public services. CLES’s progressive stance and practical work, places us at the vanguard of articulating, advocating and advancing local economic and public service changes, that truly benefit people, planet and place.


Associate Director (1 year fixed term, home based)

£41,000 – £51,000 pa (dependent on experience) full time

Closing date for applications: 5.00pm Thursday 1st October 2020

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Why this post has come about

This unique and exciting opportunity has come about for 4 reasons:

  1. Mobilisation of ideas and practice in new times. Before the crisis and since, CLES’s ground-breaking and longstanding ideas around local economies, such as community wealth building, have gained significant traction. We believe this is a key mobilisation moment for our ideas and practice, and this is borne out by a significant deepening of our work in a number of locations (London, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, West Midlands, North East), with growing interest across UK, Europe and beyond. To realise this opportunity, we have some organisational changes to accommodate and risks to manage, which will adroitly equip the organisation for a positive and bright future. CLES needs someone who can help us with this organisational change moment.
  1. CEO has been part seconded to Scottish Government. The CEO’s 2 day a week secondment is focused on advancing community wealth building in Scotland. The Board felt this was a fabulous opportunity for our CEO, and for CLES, to advance our ideas on community wealth building in the context of a national devolved government. CLES needs someone able to work as part of the Senior Management Team (SMT), stewarding CLES, advocating the work of CLES and building relationships with external partners, funders and networks.
  1. Senior management team maternity cover. One of our Associate Directors (and SMT) is to go on maternity leave. CLES needs someone to take up project responsibilities with a possible focus in Scotland, West Midlands and/or Greater London, building on the cluster of activity in those areas through ongoing development and growth of our networks and work in the locations.
  1. New ideas and fresh approach. At CLES we pride ourselves in being ahead of agendas and in this we always need to challenge ourselves, even when successful. As such, given the unprecedented challenges as regards the ongoing global pandemic, CLES will be looking for a person who comes with new ideas and brings a differing perspective to what we already think/do.

Who do we need?

We need someone who (working with CEO and SMT) can:

  • Help lead the organisation;
  • Support a positive organisational change moment;
  • Represent CLES in networks, advocate for CLES’s work with partners, funders and networks;
  • Take responsibility for managing and delivering projects.

The ideal person will have worked in a think tank/charity/local government/academia/NGO setting.

They will have experience/skills/knowledge in the following:

  • Network and alliance building; strong networks/experience in one or more of our targeted geographies of Scotland, West Midlands and/or Greater London;
  • Economic and social policy; research and managing research, with a particular focus on local government;
  • Managing organisational change; especially think tank/charity/research organisations;
  • Developing relationships and selling ideas to funders;
  • Managing people;
  • Managing/directing an organisation/units/department.

CLES actively welcomes applications from all sections of society. Our aim is that we are truly inclusive and we are committed to a culture where diversity is celebrated.

How to apply

Job description

Person specification

Equal opportunities form

Please forward your CV, covering letter and equal opportunities monitoring form to [email protected]. For an informal and confidential discussion about the post, please contact Neil McInroy, Chief Executive [email protected].

The closing date for applications: 5.00pm Thursday 1st October 2020

Interviews will be held on Monday 12th October 2020

For more information about the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, please visit

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