Head of Operations

East Horsley, Leatherhead
Competitive Salary
07 Nov 2019
07 Dec 2019
Job Function
Operations, Other
Contract Type
Full Time

West Horsley Place is a grade 1 listed historic house dating to 1425 surrounded by a five-acre walled garden and 380-acre estate of farmland and woodland between the villages of West and East Horsley in Surrey.

The Mary Roxburghe Trust is a relatively new charity which is restoring West Horsley Place, its gardens, farm buildings, stableblock and estate to create a new and vibrant centre for the visual and performing arts and the teaching of crafts. The Trust was created in 2015 by Bamber and Christina Gascoigne after Bamber was left the whole estate on the death of his aunt, Mary Duchess of Roxburghe, in 2014. During the previous several decades little was done to the buildings, gardens and grounds and the Trust is undergoing a comprehensive restoration programme to bring them all up to a good standard over the coming years. As well as the artistic and teaching activities the house and gardens in in the early stages of being open to the public with the intention being that the property become an integral part of its local community with a thriving cultural and arts programme. The Trust is also developing weddings and similar private events to earn income, as well as using West Horsley place for filming; several well-known films have used West Horsley Place and its gardens as a location.

The Trust is seeking a Head of Operations with excellent customer facing skills who will combine experience of effectively managing operations in a heritage setting with the development of our weddings and events programme. Due to the nature of the role, there will be some weekend and evening work.

Application is by covering letter and current cv emailed to our retained HR consultant Rebecca Labram at Peopleclever at the email address below on or before the closing date of 29th November. No agencies please.

Main responsibilities:

The Head of Operations is responsible for all aspects of the effective day-to-day management of West Horsley Place, its outbuildings, gardens and wider grounds, including commercial operations and site security. As the lead for the Operations, Events and Volunteer teams you will be responsible for bringing the site up to a high standard through the agreed schedule of works and ensuring it is maintained and presented in the best possible way to all our users.

The Head of Operations is responsible for providing a warm welcome to all site users, including clients, visitors and guests.

The Head of Operations is the site lead for Health and Safety.

The Head of Operations will be responsible for Duty Management of weddings and other events.

Site Management

The Head of Operations will be responsible for managing visitors, contractors and venue users of the site including but not limited to:

  • Grange Park Opera;
  • Film crews and ancillary services related to filming;
  • Prospective wedding and other events clients;
  • Building project manager;
  • Building and other contractor teams;
  • Land agent;
  • Tenants.

Security and buildings maintenance

Ensure that the House and wider site is secure and managed according to our responsibilities and commitment to the local community and any regulatory bodies including but not limited to Natural England and Historic England.

  • Ensuring that WHP is well maintained and secure.
  • Fire safety, Health and safety, licensing, building maintenance, cleaning
  • On call as part of the escalation process for out of hours emergencies

Commercial Activities

Working closely with the Director, the Head of Operations will develop, plan and manage all commercial activity for venue users at WHP including but not limited to:

  • Weddings and private hire events;
  • Filming (managing crews of up to 150 and ensuring the safety and care of the house, its contents and wider grounds, minimising impact on neighbours, negotiate shoot rates);
  • The development of a shop and café which aligns with the goals of the Trust.

Health and Safety

  • To ensure the Trust H&S Policy, risk assessments including COSHH are kept up to date and communicated appropriately to staff, visitors, volunteers and clients by the Operations Assistant;
  • To maintain the Fire Safety risk assessments through the Events and Operations Assistant;
  • To ensure adequate First Aid provision is available on site;
  • To provide induction training to all new employees and volunteers;
  • Ensure safe methods of work are submitted and followed by contractors on site.

People Management

  • Directly responsible for the Events and Operations Assistant;
  • Manage, lead and motivate the Operations team on a daily basis;
  • Manage all day to day individual staff matters for the Operations team including disciplinary, performance and employee wellbeing;
  • Contribute to and support recruitment and induction of new team members;
  • Approve and manage annual leave and other absence requests for the team.

Community Liaison

The Head of Operations will be responsible for maintaining a positive relationship with our tenants, neighbours and wider community and will also be responsible for:

  • Responding to complaints (in liaison with the Executive Assistant)
  • Relations with Planning Enforcement, Environmental Health depts


  • Responsible for providing input to the Treasurer on the annual operational budget;
  • Responsible for effectively utilising and managing the operational budget to agreed limits;
  • Keep appropriate financial records as required by the Director and Treasurer;
  • Prepare monthly management reports including budget forecasting and actuals for dissemination to the Board

Project Management

Work closely with the Buildings Project Manager to ensure the agreed Schedule of Works is adhered to, carried out in a timely manner and on budget.

The Head of Operations will lead and manage the following projects through the buildings project manager and other external consultants, within budget limitations and in close liaison with the Director:

  • Landscape research and assessment plan
  • Sustainability strategy and plan

The Head of Operations will work alongside the Gardener and external consultants to deliver:

  • Biodiversity survey
  • Estate planting plan

The Property and Operations Manager will work closely with the Director, Trustees and external consultants on renewable energy projects including:

  • Feasibility study
  • Renewable energy project


The Head of Operations will have overall responsiblity for all volunteers on site ensuring that volunteers are appropriately inducted, managed and supervised.


  • Assist generally with the work of the Trust in an environment where all assist and support each other as and when necessary
  • Attend training as and when required
  • Carry out any other duties as may reasonably be required by the Trust

This job description is subject to regular review and will be updated as necessary in consultation with the postholder.

Person specification


Skills and attributes

  • Organised, structured approach to project management
  • Eye for detail
  • Diplomatic and calm approach to issues
  • Strong leadership skills and the ability to influence and engage with people at all levels
  • A commercial and results-focussed approach, able to identify and develop commercial opportunities as they arise
  • Experience of effectively managing budgets
  • Excellent customer service, balancing the needs of visitors with the ongoing conservation of the house and grounds
  • Demonstrable experience of managing external contractors, staff teams and working across teams to achieve objectives
  • Pro-active and positive in approach
  • Excellent problem-solving abilities

Experience and qualifications

  • At least 2 years in a similar role in a heritage setting
  • At least 5 years of project management experience
  • Demonstrable knowledge of Health and Safety requirements specifically in a heritage setting
  • Experience in the operation of visitor-focused experiences in heritage, arts, museums or similar


Experience and qualifications

  • Experience of bringing a heritage site up to standard for public use
  • Experience of senior management in a charity setting
  • Experience of working with film crews
  • Experience of property management for other events such as weddings
  • Experience of working in partnership with Natural England and Historic England
  • Management of a successful volunteer scheme
  • Formal project management or management qualifications
  • Nebosh qualification to at least certificate level
  • First Aid at Work

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