Programme Manager – Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland

Location: Edinburgh. You may also be expected to undertake some travel around Scotland and the UK in the course of your work.

Reporting to: Convener Scottish Environment LINK’s Legal Strategy Subgroup.

Hours/Duration: 21 hours per week. This is a fixed-term contract, initially for one year. This post may require some work out of office hours, including weekends, for which time off in lieu will be granted. There will be no payment of overtime.

Salary: £30,000 (pro-rata)

Annual leave: You will receive 25 days annual leave plus 10 days statutory holidays, all pro-rata.

Pension: LINK operates an auto-enrolment workplace pension scheme with the People’s Pension.

Other: This role is being recruited alongside a Development Manager.

Application information 

To apply: Please complete the application form, available here, and submit along with a covering letter noting why you are interested in this position.

Closing date: 12 noon Tuesday 1 October. Interviews will be held on Wednesday 9 October, in central Edinburgh.

Establishing an Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland (ERCS)

Scottish Environment LINK is looking for a Programme Manager to help set up and develop a new Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland. This is a rare and exciting opportunity to work with us to create a much needed not-for-profit, public interest, environmental law organisation.

Incubated by LINK’s Legal Strategy Subgroup, and having recently secured start-up funding (including a 3 year grant from JRCT; full year one and part of year 2 & 3 costs are covered), we aim to establish the ERCS as a separate organisation within a year. The ERCS will assist members of the public and civil society to use the law to protect the environment, and engage in public education, research, advocacy and litigation to advance the right to live in a clean and healthy environment.

You will work closely with the Development Manager, LINK’s Legal Strategy Subgroup and the new ERCS Board to deliver the vision outlined in our feasibility study.

The purpose of the ERCS is to:

  • deliver public legal education to improve understanding of and access to legal rights and responsibilities;
  • offer signposting, advice and assistance on planning and environmental law;
  • advocate for a legal system that is fit for purpose in the context of environmental rights and responsibilities, including compliance with the UNECE Aarhus Convention; and
  • pursue strategic litigation where necessary to secure progress on key environmental issues.

Scottish Environment LINK

Scottish Environment LINK, (LINK), a charity founded in 1987, is the forum and national intermediary for the citizen-led environmental sector in Scotland. Our network has over 37 member bodies with a collective membership of c 500,000, who represent a broad range of environmental interests with the common goal of contributing to a more environmentally sustainable society. Working through LINK’s strategic groups on Economics, Governance, Land, Marine and Planning, we influence public policy and its implementation in the public interest, with support from a small core staff team, and strategic oversight from the board of trustees.

Programme Manager

You will have strong experience in advocacy, a good knowledge of environmental policy and legal context, ideally in the Scottish context. You will be an excellent communicator, have a naturally collaborative working style, and will thrive in a small, creative team. Experience of developing new initiatives would be an advantage.

Supported by and reporting initially to LINK’s Legal Strategy Subgroup and subsequently to the new ERCS Board, you will work closely with the Development Manager to deliver the vision outlined in our feasibility study of an Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland.


Through a workplan created with the Development Manager and LINK and / or ERCS Board you will be responsible for the day-to-day work involved in:

  • Developing a strategy and full business plan for the phased development of the ERCS and its work;
  • Establishing systems for the sound management and day-to-day operation and governance of the organisation;
  • Supporting the proper functioning of the Board, and any sub-groups and governance rules it establishes;
  • Monitoring and evaluation of ERCS activities;
  • Representing ECRS in external forums as appropriate;
  • Other reasonable duties, including general administration, to ensure the smooth establishment and operation of the ERCS.

Specifically, you will be responsible for commencing delivery of the work of the ERCS in year 1, including:

  • Maintaining a thorough grasp of current relevant environmental legislation and case law developments, and an overview of political developments in relation to the environment and environmental law in Scotland;
  • Identifying opportunities and advocating for reform, particularly in relation to Brexit, the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership, and the potential for a specialist environmental court;
  • Responding to consultations and developments in environmental and planning law more broadly as they arise, as appropriate;
  • Developing and building on links with key stakeholders within Scottish civic, legal, environmental, academic and political fields, including with a view to partnership working;
  • Signposting individuals, communities and NGOs to relevant support services and information;
  • Developing a set of online guides on environmental and planning rights;
  • Contribute to funding applications and support the Development Manager in fundraising to secure and increase the capacity of the ERCS;
  • Dealing with any media enquiries, initially with the support of LINK.

Depending on capacity and looking ahead into years 2 & 3:

  • Carrying out an ‘Aarhus audit’ of the Scottish civil justice system – assessing the Scottish civil justice system against the requirements of Article 9 of the Aarhus Convention and identifying opportunities and advocating for reform;
  • Developing a community education programme which is able to provide training on planning and environmental rights to communities facing environmental issues, including possible partnership working;
  • Identifying opportunities to undertake strategic litigation, and beginning to develop a strategic litigation programme to challenge systemic environmental governance problems in Scotland;

Person Specification


  • A track record of relevant experience, preferably working in an advocacy, research and / or training role
  • Excellent oral and writing skills and ability to present ideas creatively and persuasively
  • Ability to quickly absorb new and complex information
  • Ability to communicate complex information to a variety of audiences
  • Knowledge of the policy and regulatory context of environmental law, rights and protection
  • Experience of building professional relationship and partnerships
  • Close attention to detail in written work and project delivery
  • Demonstrable commitment to environmental issues
  • Strong organisational skills and experience of working to tight deadlines
  • Naturally collaborative and a team player
  • Strong administration and IT skills


  • Practical experience of planning, running and evaluating advocacy campaigns or projects
  • Experience of organising events and training
  • Experience of setting up a new organisation
  • Experience of working closely with a board
  • Knowledge of the structure and workings of the Scottish Government, Parliament and Scottish legal system
  • Experience of working with communities, local groups and other stakeholders
  • Familiarity with the planning system
  • Experience of writing press releases and dealing with the media
  • Understanding of and comfortable with strategic use of social media

Apply here