New opportunity – Director

The Social Market Foundation is seeking a new Director. This is an opportunity to lead Westminster’s foremost centre-ground think-tank into the new Parliament. Deadline for applications is 12 noon, Monday 12 June.

Deadline for applications:  12 noon – Monday 12th June

First round interviews: w/c 19th June

Final stage interviews: w/c 26th June

Interview panels will be chaired by Professor Wendy Thomson CBE, Chair of Trustees at the Social Market Foundation and other trustees will take part in panels.

To discuss the role in confidence with the outgoing director James Kirkup, email or Whatsapp 07815 706 601

To arrange a conversation with SMF trustees, email


How to apply:

Applications should be sent to with the header “Director application”.

Applicants should submit:

  • A CV  (max 2 pages)
  • A Cover Letter setting out their credentials under the criteria set out below (max 2 pages)
  • An Agenda setting out priorities and plans for the SMF until the end of 2024 (max 1 page)

About the cover letter:

The responsibilities of the Director fall into four related categories.  In their letter, candidates should demonstrate evidence of their experience and ability in all four of these categories. 

1. Thought leadership 

The SMF exists to originate, develop and promote public policies to deliver a fair society and a vibrant economy.

Candidates should demonstrate: 

  • The ability to make significant contributions to public policy development and political debate about public policy, preferably in multiple fields.
  • The ability to originate and supervise multiple pieces of research into disparate policy areas, using a broad range of research methods.

2. Promotion and projection  

Think-tank work is only effective if it has the engagement of key stakeholders, including policymakers and officials, the media, third-sector leaders and business.

Candidates should demonstrate: 

  • The ability to build and maintain relationships with policymakers and stakeholders at senior levels, using those relationships to deliver impact on public policy and public debate.
  • Familiarity with national media outlets and the way an organisation secures coverage in those outlets.

3. Fundraising and financial management 

The SMF is a Charity that depends on the financial support of commercial and charitable partners.  In the most recent financial year, charitable revenue exceeded £1 million.

The Director is ultimately responsible for ensuring a strong and steady flow of charitable revenues to support the SMF’s work

Candidates should demonstrate:

  • Understanding/experience of raising funds from corporate and charitable supporters.
  • Understanding/experience of the financial management of a £1m organisation, including setting annual budgets, reporting performance and statutory audit.

4. Management and governance 

The SMF has a staff of 15 and is supported by an advisory board of senior policymakers and influencers.  The Director is appointed by and reports to a Board of Trustees that includes senior and distinguished public figures.

Candidates should demonstrate:

  • Leadership and management of high-performing teams of staff
  • Understanding of charity governance
  • The ability to win and maintain the confidence of senior leaders
  • The ability to set and deliver strategic plans


About the Agenda:

There are no requirements on the structure or content of this item.  It can take any form and cover any topic.  It is your opportunity to tell the SMF’s Trustees what the SMF would do and be under your leadership in the years before and after the next general election.

Personal background and experience

There are no required qualifications or experiences to be eligible for this role.  You can have three university degrees or none. You might have spent your entire career at Westminster or never set foot in the place.   What matters is your skills and ideas.

The SMF has carried out extensive work on issues of inequality and social justice.   The Trustees are keen to see that work reflected in the background and experience of SMF staff.  So we strongly encourage applications from people with backgrounds that are often underrepresented in policymaking circles.  Applications from BAME communities and/or disadvantaged socio-economic groups are especially welcome.

Political affiliations

The SMF is a cross-party charity that works with people from all parties and none.  There is no prohibition on the Director being a member or supporter of any political party, but the successful candidate must convincingly show that they can work professionally and effectively with people from all political parties, and preserve the standing of the SMF as a non-partisan organisation. This role is not compatible with standing for election; a Director who was selected as a parliamentary candidate for any political party would be required to step down from the role.



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