NLGN Head of Membership Network

Job Description and Person Specification


NLGN has been the leading think tank for local government, communities and public services for over twenty years. We seek to significantly improve lives by encouraging more creative, collaborative and self-determining places and organisations. We do this through thought leadership, networking and sharing of best practice and ideas.

Our network of over forty local authority and corporate members is our biggest asset. They guide our thinking, allow our ideas to influence decision-makers and keep us connected to the reality of delivering frontline services and running major organisations.

We now need someone to lead our goal of strengthening, supporting and growing our network. This is a new role.

The right person will join at a time of exciting change and challenge for local government and public services and for the NLGN itself. As the pressure on frontline services grows, radical new ways of working are emerging. NLGN aims over the next ten years not just to be the premiere organisation understanding and promoting these new approaches but also to embody those values itself as a think tank and network.

We are therefore looking for someone who is willing and able to act as creatively, collaboratively and in as self-determined a way as possible. The right person will not be afraid of experimentation or radical new ways of working. Ideally the successful candidate will have had experience of managing and/or growing membership networks in the commercial, public or social sector but more importantly will have a strong commitment and ability to work in line with our core values.

Mission of the Head of Membership Network

Everyone at NLGN no matter what their role has the following goals:

  • To improve the lives of people and communities by promoting our three core values of greater creativity, collaboration and self-determination in local government, public services and communities themselves.
  • To develop and share great ideas and methods for high impact local government and public services through original research, engaging dissemination and strong networking.
The Head of Membership Network has the following specific goals:

  • To ensure the most innovative councils and other partners who could benefit from NLGN’s activity and insight are part of our network including growing the size of the network as appropriate.
  • To develop a strong sense of shared mission and values amongst the members of our network based on our three core values.
  • To ensure that the members of our network are always supported so they are able to improve the lives of their people and places in line with our vision.

Areas of Work

In line with our values we seek to give NLGN employees as much autonomy as possible to deliver their mission as they see fit working in close collaboration with the rest of the team.
However, the chief areas of work this role will cover include the following activities. The list is not exhaustive.

  • Develop and implement an ambitious but practical strategy for strengthening, supporting and growing the NLGN’s membership.
  • Constantly refine and develop the NLGN’s membership offer so it provides as much value as possible to existing and new members.
  • Identify individual organisations which would benefit from and contribute to NLGN’s network, connect with them and work with the team to encourage them to join.
  • Work very closely with the External Affairs and Research teams to develop research, events, communications and on-line initiatives that strengthen, support and grow our network.
  • Build your own personal connections with key senior figures in our current and potential membership organisations.
  • Respond to regular queries, ideas and proposals from our members.
  • Engage closely with the debates about policy and service delivery that influence our members and the wider world of local government and public services. Write blog posts, articles and member communications on these issues.
  • Recruit new members to your team as necessary and as NLGN finances allows.
  • Support and coach staff members to deliver their mission to a high level of excellence.
  • Be a highly creative and collaborative member of the whole NLGN team supporting all other members of staff to deliver their mission
  • Fulfil a constructive and creative role in the regular meetings of the whole team and the senior management team.

Mission specific skills/Person Specification

  • Experience of developing and implementing strategic plans for membership network engagement and growth.
  • Excellent relationship-building skills including capacity to create connections at the highest levels of seniority in local government and public services.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Highly entrepreneurial – always looking for and developing opportunities to enhance NLGN’s impact and grow our network.
  • Understanding and interest in the issues facing local government and public services or ability to learn and understand these issues very rapidly.
  • Highly organised with very strong capacity to prioritise tasks.
    The following are the most essential qualities in every role at NLGN:
  • Highly creative: ability and willingness to develop and implement new ideas and ways of delivering NLGN impact.
  • Highly Collaborative: ability and willingness to work very closely with NLGN staff, stakeholders and external organisations.
  • Highly self-determined: able to work very independently and take initiatives but always communicating activities to the rest of the team and constantly seeking and offering advice and feedback.

Recruitment Process

We want to recruit people who embrace and exhibit our three core values of creativity, collaboration and self-determination, have potential to achieve excellence in job specific skills and would make great coaches for more junior members of staff. We don’t believe the conventional CV, covering letter and panel interview allows us to assess whether a person meets these criteria.

Instead we ask candidates to submit a CV and include a brief statement giving one example for each of our core values, i.e. how they have exhibited creativity, exhibited self-determination and acted collaboratively. Each example should be no longer than 500 words (and can be much shorter) and can be taken from work life, volunteering, home life or wherever as long as it exemplifies the relevant value. Please send your CV and statement to

Successfully short-listed candidates will then have a series of conversations with members of NLGN staff. Each conversation will explore the core values, job specific skills and coaching potential. We also aim to get to know you as a person and allow you to get to know NLGN.

NLGN is very strongly committed to being an equal opportunities employer. We don’t just ‘value diversity’, we think it is central to what makes for a high impact, successful organisation.

If you have a disability and need any assistance applying for this role please do not hesitate to contact

Closing Date: 5pm Friday 24th March 2017

Other Details

Location: Central London
Salary: up to £40,000 PA depending on experience
Leave and working hours: Full-time staff are expected to work 37.5 hours a week and receive 25 days leave each year plus ten days over Christmas and New Year. NLGN operates a flexible working policy.
Well-being: NLGN is extremely committed to staff well-being. Working long and late hours is actively discouraged and all staff at NLGN are committed to creating a pleasant, friendly and supportive environment in which to work. We are currently developing an online tool which will allow us to monitor and improve our well-being on a regular basis.
Pension: NLGN will contribute 4% to the NLGN group personal pension scheme, subject to the Employee contributing at least the same proportion of salary to the scheme. This benefit cannot be substituted for any other benefit.
Probation and Notice: The Head of Membership Network role is subject to a six month probationary period and a three month notice period.

If you would like to discuss the role or recruitment process please feel free to call the NLGN Director, Adam Lent, for an informal and confidential conversation on 020 7148 4601 or email