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Posted: Thursday, July 25th 2019
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Job Title:     Collections Manager: Historic Furniture and Decorative Arts
Organisation:     House of Commons
Salary:     £37,510 - 43,361 p.a.
Type:     Full-Time Position
Location:     Westminster, London, England
Closing Date:     Sunday, September 1st, 2019
Job Ref No:    
Job Description:
Job title: Collections Manager: Historic Furniture and Decorative Arts
Campaign Type: Concurrent
Payband: B1
Pay range: £37,510-£43,361 per annum (Appointment will normally be made at the minimum of the pay range)
Team: Heritage Collections
Section: In-House Services
Reports to: Keeper of Furniture and Decorative Arts
Number of posts: 1
Hours: Full time 36 hours per week
Contract type/ duration: 18 months with likelihood of permanency
Issue date: 25 July 2019
Closing date: 1 September 2019 at 23:55

The House of Commons
The House of Commons and the iconic Palace of Westminster are key elements of the UK Parliaments. Around 2,500 staff work behind the scenes at the House of Commons, supporting the democratic process in many different ways. We are politically impartial and take great pride in the vision and values which guide our work.

It takes a huge range of skills and experience to keep the House of Commons running, and we all contribute to supporting a thriving parliamentary democracy.

Heritage Collection Team information
The collection Manager for Historic Furniture and Decorative Arts is based within the Heritage Collections Team which is responsible for the professional management of three historic collections of national and international importance (Historic Furniture and Decorative Arts, The Parliamentary Art Collection and the Architectural Fabric Collection). This Team provides a bicameral service to the House of Commons and House of Lords for all aspects of collections management, care, conservation, documentation, loans and interpretation.

The Furniture and Decorative Arts collection includes over 11,000 objects including historic furniture, clocks, silver and ceramics. It is a working collection with many objects in daily use across the Parliamentary Estate fulfilling the role for which they were designed and made. The Collection mainly comprises items designed in the gothic revival style by AWN Pugin for the new Palace of Westminster along with a large collection of items designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott for the House of Commons in 1950.

The Parliamentary Art Collection includes over 9000 artworks the majority of which is on display across the Parliamentary Estate and consists of paintings, sculpture, works on paper and other media ranging from ceramics to textiles, medals and political collectibles. The Collection chiefly documents the history and work of Parliament with new works commissioned and acquired.

The Architectural Fabric Collection includes over 4,000 items which were commissioned for the Palace of Westminster but have been detached from the built fabric and historic interiors. Most of the collection dates from Charles Barry's Victorian Palace of Westminster.

Job introduction
The Collection Manager provides specialist, professional advice for the Furniture and Decorative Arts items and takes the lead in delivering a range of work which underpins the safety, security, storage, access, documentation and interpretation of Parliament's Heritage Collections. S/he will use their understanding of collections management best practice to develop and maintain policies and standards for the care of the collections and work closely with other members of the Furniture and Decorative Arts team as well as the other relevant heritage teams. The Collection Manager leads on increasing the profile of, and access to, the collection, and safeguarding it within the working environment of the Parliamentary Estate, while also managing budgets and other resources to ensure a high standard of database management and record-keeping at all times.

This is an exciting and important period for Parliament's heritage collections as preparations are made for the decant of large areas of the Parliamentary Estate for the Northern Estates Project (NEP) and Restoration and Renewal (R&R) project
The Collection Manager will have a key role in advising on and influencing planning the work required to prepare the Collections, particularly the Historic Collections for decant.

Key stakeholder relationships

Internal relationships
• Head of Heritage Collections
• Keeper of the Furniture and Decorative Arts Collection
• Furniture and Decorative Arts Team
• Parliamentary Art Collection team
• Conservation Architect team including the Parliamentary Historian and Archivist
• Porterage and storage services
• Parliamentary Maintenance Service Team
• Restoration and Renewal (R&R) and Northern Estate Programme (NEP) teams
• Project Leaders in Strategic Estates
• Lords Facilities Managers and Commons Accommodation Managers
• Departmental Heads (Catering, Broadcast, Governance Office etc)
• Members and staff of both Houses
• Finance staff, Procurement team, security and police
• Black Rod and Serjeant-of-Arms teams
• Outreach and Engagement Service
• Parliamentary Archives
• Commons and Lords Libraries
External relationships
• Collections managers, curators, researchers, registrars and other professional staff in allied organisations such as Royal Collection Trust, Historic Royal Palaces, English Heritage, National Trust, National Archives, and other historic houses and museums
• Art dealers and auction houses
• Specialist contractors and suppliers of goods and services
• Private and institutional lenders
• External project managers and staff
• Members of the public

Management responsibility
• Responsible for budgets as allocated
• Will line-manage the Assistant Curator: Furniture and Decorative Arts, when this post is recruited later in 2019/20

This post will be located on the Parliamentary Estate, Westminster, London.

Successful candidates will be required to complete pre-employment checks. This includes security vetting to Counter Terrorist Check (CTC) level unless otherwise specified. All successful candidates are required to pass these checks before an offer can be confirmed.

Applicants should be aware that if they have resided outside of the UK for a total of more than two of the last five years they are not usually eligible for vetting (but we assess each case individually).

Consideration will be given to candidates who wish to work part-time or as part of a job share. If you are selected for interview please inform the panel of the days/hours you are available to work, alternatively you can inform the recruitment team at any stage of the process.

Net conditioned full-time working hours for staff of the House are usually 36 per week, excluding meal breaks. This determines the basis on which we will calculate any pro rata entitlements (e.g. annual leave).

For further information:
Candidates should refer to the House of Commons careers website or contact or 020 7219 6011.

Application and selection process
We will conduct a sift based on the criteria set out in the skills and experience section and successful candidates will be invited to attend a competency-based interview. Shortlisted candidates are expected to present a presentation on the same day as interviews.

Interviews are expected to take place on the week commencing the 16th of September 2019.

Key responsibilities

Management duties
• Deputise for the Keeper of Furniture and Decorative Arts
• Project manage contracts with a range of external specialist suppliers, for tasks such as interpretation, documentation, valuations and object moves
• Recruit/manage summer Collection Assistants, specialist contractors and in¬ House volunteers
• Lead on data protection and GDPR compliance
• Manage the inbox of the Furniture and Decorative Arts email account

Developing strategies, policies and procedures
• Use professional knowledge and experience to create and update Collection policies and procedures to Spectrum 5.0 and other nationally recognised standards
• Collaborate with teams across both Houses to implement best practice collection care and management procedures that makes working practices more efficient.

Collection management and documentation
• Manage all collections documentation and data entry to Spectrum 5.0 standards e.g. cataloguing, due diligence, new acquisitions, location control, disposal, object photography, audits, spot checks and quinquennial valuations.
• Liaise with the Heritage Collections Information Manager to carry out the rolling Documentation Programme which will continue to improve data accuracy and uniformity on the CMS, EMu;
• Jointly with the Keeper, ensure the Collection’s and Parliamentary Salvage Plans are kept updated and be an active member of any heritage response team
• Manage the paper and digital archives relating to the collections
• Manage the digitisation of photographs and documents and their transfer to EMu
• Provide specialist heritage support to other teams such as the R&R Documentation team and project managers in Strategic Estates with building projects which will involve the Furniture and Decorative Arts Collection.
• Use collections knowledge and negotiating skills to achieve consensus on required actions and timescales

Research and collection development
• Build a strong working knowledge and understanding of the collections to carry out day-to-day duties effectively and efficiently
• Undertake academic research to provide relevant, politically impartial and well-balanced content for interpretation projects
• Publish research internally and externally whenever possible
• Develop and maintain an active awareness of auction houses and the market
• Research and prepare robust business cases for acquisition and rationalisation of the collection

Engagement and access activities
Increased Use of Collection Objects
• Work with internal teams, Members and Members staff of both Houses to place more collection items into use in appropriate areas whilst managing expectations

Raise Awareness
• Draw up an interpretation plan proposing creative, innovative and inclusive projects
• Use knowledge and research skills to curate visually engaging temporary displays and exhibitions
• Research, write and delivers papers at Heritage and Museum conferences, and deliver specialist talks/tours for a wide range of external audiences.
• Responding to public, academic and professional enquiries in a professional and timely manner

Digital Engagement
• Manage content and engagement potential on the website to raise the profile of the collection and increase access.
• Improve social media presence for the Furniture and Decorative Arts Collection, providing text and images and working collaboratively with the social media team
Required Skills:

• Degree in either history, history of art, decorative arts or in an associated art/design historical subject
• Postgraduate qualification in Museum Studies or similar, or Associate Membership of the Museums Association
• Project management qualification
• Interest in and/or knowledge of 19th and 20th century Furniture/Decorative Arts in Britain


Museum or heritage professional with significant experience working in a public sector museum, art gallery or historic house context

Good working professional knowledge of policies and procedures relating to collection management and documentation, with experience of using specialist databases

Highly organised with excellent skills in planning and prioritising and the ability to work on several projects simultaneously to meet demanding tasks and deadlines

Significant experience of managing and improving a Collection Management System such as EMu

Excellent research skills with the ability to interpret and make available research to different audiences through a variety of channels

Good inter-personal and customer service skills with the ability to deal tactfully and confidently with people at all levels upholding the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion at all times
Application Instructions:
Please use the link below to apply:
Contact Name:     Mr William Newing
Contact Tel:     0207 219 0731
Contact Fax:    
Contact Email:
Address:     1st Floor, Richmond House, Westminster, London.  
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