External Affairs Manager

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Job Title                                  External Affairs Manager

Role Type                                Permanent, Full time

Reports to                               Director of External Affairs

Job Location                           Billingshurst, West Sussex



The Company

From day one, Thakeham has been driven by a clear vision: to transform the way people think about new-built developments. 

Over 20 years later, that ethos is still very much alive, reflected in our numerous awards and enviable reputation in the sector. Today, Thakeham employs close to 250 people and has a forecasted revenue of £219 million in 2023/24.

An infrastructure-led community creator and strategic land promoter, Thakeham is committed to partnerships, innovation and creating amazing places to live and work. We are industry-leading in sustainability and biodiversity, committed to ensuring every Thakeham home is carbon-neutral in production, and carbon-zero throughout its lifetime use by 2025.

We pride ourselves on our ‘Infrastructure first’ approach, ensuring communities release the benefits of new development at the outset, rather than later in the process. We deliver social, affordable and retirement housing for some of the biggest housing associations and local authorities in the country.  Partners include the NHS England Healthy New Towns Initiative, the Plunkett Foundation, Social Value UK and we have been awarded a prestigious Gold Supply Chain School.

People are Thakeham’s most important asset, and this is reflected in the way we operate. We were proud winners of Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work For in 2022 and recognised in the prestigious ‘Best Places to Work 2023’.

Our people enjoy excellent rewards and working conditions in an exciting and fast-growing business. We offer exciting career opportunities that are second to none, and are keen to develop, guide and support our employees, regardless of what stage they are in their careers.

We value diversity and encourage people to bring their full authentic selves to work. A Gold Armed Forces Covenant signatory and supporter of armed force’s charity Building Heroes, Thakeham operates a Talent for Development outreach campaign for military veterans and college leavers.

Work and fun should not be mutually exclusive and Thakeham offers a range of social events including quiz nights, BBQs and all staff parties. We run informal lunch and learns and take on charity challenges such as dragon boat racing. We encourage people to volunteer in their communities, offering two paid days per year to do so. Where roles allow our summer hours policy in June, July and August allows people to enjoy longer weekends with their loved ones and a flexible approach to working is available all year round.

At Thakeham we build communities, together.


The Department

The External Affairs department provides support to all areas of the business, ensuring we engage effectively with a range of stakeholders to promote our vision and values. We support the Land and Planning teams to research new opportunities, and deliver comprehensive public and stakeholder engagement for planning promotions and applications. We lead on political engagement and delivering a number of local showcase events together with party political conference activity and national engagement.

Due to our continued growth we are looking for an External Affairs Manager to work within a friendly team environment reporting to the Director of External Affairs.

The Job Role

The role holder will support the Director of External Affairs in leading comprehensive political and stakeholder engagement for a range of planning promotions and applications. You will be responsible for designing and delivering engagement strategies for a number of sites in a geographic area, building and developing relationships with local stakeholders and the wider public.

You will organise public exhibitions and stakeholder events, and with your strong written and digital communications skills draft materials such as letters, websites, exhibition boards and press releases. You will also work with the Director of External Affairs on identifying positive engagement opportunities and developing our exciting conference programme.

You will also play an active role in the growth and development of colleagues, helping them to succeed in their career.

The role holder will be expected to get involved with all aspects of the External Affairs department when required, we have team approach to everything we do.

The ideal candidate will be working as an Account Manager in an agency setting, or perhaps as a strong Senior Account Executive looking for the next step up. You will have experience of the development and planning sectors, and are now looking to move in-house and gain sector specific experience. Experience of politics in the South of England is desirable, together with political understanding perhaps gained through voluntary party activity. You will be passionate about the built environment and enthusiastic to work on a range of strategic projects.

This list is not exhaustive. Tasks will be allocated to reflect increasing levels of development and experience.


The Required Skills

  • Strong understanding of local government and the planning process in England
  • Experience of working with local politicians and stakeholders including the media
  • Experience of supporting events management
  • Demonstrable interest or active involvement in politics or current affairs
  • Strong communication and organisational skills, together with a can-do attitude
  • Hardworking, flexible, pro-active team player with the ability to work to tight deadlines
  • Excellent IT skills (Microsoft Office)
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Driving licence and own car for travel (mileage paid)


The Benefits

  • Competitive salary
  • Annual holiday allowance 26 days increasing to 27 after 3yrs service and 28 after 5yrs service (plus bank holidays)
  • Life assurance
  • Private medical insurance
  • Health screening
  • Pension scheme
  • Bonus scheme
  • Flexible working hours in a modern office environment / Working from Home Policy
  • Excellent development and progression opportunities for the right candidate
  • Company Social events
  • Discretionary bonus scheme

Plus a whole range of other employee benefits that we can tell you all about, our employees are rewarded for their performance, attitude and results.


Thakeham is committed to providing equal opportunities in employment and treating people fairly. We will treat all job applicants and employees equally regardless of age, race, religious belief, colour, ethnic or national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation or disability. We welcome applicants from all sectors of society and we are committed to promoting an inclusive environment for all.


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